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  1. Member
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    What is the best stand alone dvd recorder w/o a hard drive?

    I have been looking at the Panasonic DVD-R/-RW/RAM Recorder
    Model: DMR-ES20S
    or the

    JVC Progressive-Scan Multiformat DVD-R/-RW/RAM Recorder/ VCR Combo
    Model: DRMV5S

    But I am not sure because of all the reviews I read, they actually confused me into not wanting one at all


    Thanks
    "Do or Do not, there is no try"- Yoda
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  2. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    You are comparing one of the worst units to one of the best units, in terms of video quality.

    The JVC is an excellent quality DVD recorder, easily the best quality on the market. The VCR inside the combo is alright, not super. Then again, you asked about the DVD recorder part, not the VCR part.

    While Panasonic does have an LSI (finally!) in the ES20, it's poorly used. It's not a good machines beyond 2 hours of video. This is the clear loser.

    Best machine is a JVC.
    Other good machines include Pioneer, LiteOn (LSI), LG (LSI), Samsung (LSI), and Toshiba.
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  3. Member maldb's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Lordsmurf on this - Panasonic makes some crappy DVD encoders. I used to have an E30 which gave me alot of problems, then eventually died. I decided to replace it with a unit from Toshiba and the quality difference between the two was like night and day. Where the Panny was blocky and grainy, the Toshiba was sharp and smooth. I'll never buy another Panasonic unit. Highly recommend Toshiba.
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    I highly recommend JVC.
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  5. Member
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    Thanks for the info.
    I actually saw some reviews that were editor's choice products for the panasonic, so I am so glad i consulted the experts
    thanks so much for your help, that is why I trust this forum so much.
    "Do or Do not, there is no try"- Yoda
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    So I now I am looking at the the Toshiba DR-4 dvd recorder, I was wondering if anyone had any problems with this product.
    Also does anyone know if it can create automatic chapter stops on dvd-r disks
    "Do or Do not, there is no try"- Yoda
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  7. Preservationist davideck's Avatar
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    I've been doing a side by side comparison of the JVC DR-M100 and the Panasonic DMR-ES20.
    Their picture qualities in 4 hour mode look the same; they both show considerable artifacting. 1 and 2 hour modes look great on both machines.

    One difference that I do notice is that the JVC is less tolerant of VCR timebase instabilities than the Panasonic. In this respect, the Panasonic ES20 is the better machine for VCR capture.

    I also prefer the black level and noise reduction adjustments on the Panasonic over the JVC.
    Not to mention that after CC sale and rebate, the ES20 was about half the price of the DR-M100.
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by davideck
    I've been doing a side by side comparison of the JVC DR-M100 and the Panasonic DMR-ES20. Their picture qualities in 4 hour mode look the same;
    Same quality?? There is no way in hell.

    The JVC in 4-hour LP mode uses a resolution of 352x480 and is using a bitrate of around 2500k average with a max in the upper 3000s. This is a good bitrate, albeit a tad compressed. This is about what DVB (digital satellite) streams are at, if you offset it for source quality and some other MPEG factors. There are no blocks, and mosquito noise is either minimal or non-existant.

    Panasonic is starved ... STARVED!... for bitrate at 4 hours, with 720x480 and a piss-ass 2300k or so. There are blocks and mosquito noise all over the place. The picture looks like crap. Panasonic is using their DIGA junk in there, which does nothing to help the image quality. This is how Panasonic has been (blocks and noise) since the very first DVD recorders (ES20 in USA, from 2002). Panasonic DVD recorder tech is stagnant, not much has changed for them in the past 4 years. Their adjustable black levels are a joke, as they augment luma as well, which is not the same as merely altering IRE (the only reason to even need black level adjustments).

    The cardinal rules for recording on JVCs and Panasonics:

    You can use a JVC for up to 4 hours. The best setting is XP or FR180, depending on the sources.

    The Panasonic has problems at anything other than SP mode. The 1-hour suffers technical issues, while the longer mode have image degradation that is pretty severe.

    As far as filtering goes....

    The only Panasonic machine that held up against flawed signals was the now-discontinued ES10. All other models do little to nothing, for timebase or other sync-related problems in your sources. This is the only reason I own an ES10, as the filters are somewhat unique. However, the recording quality is bad, so I only use it as a passthrough device, as the filters are always on, even in this capacity.

    JVC incorporates block suppresion tech, which is why those encodes have low or no image noise. It also has chroma noise filters, unique to the LSI chipset, which removes that hazy blue/red muck for VHS tapes.

    Remember this about these two companies:

    Panasonic makes great cameras.
    Panasonic makes good DVD players.
    Panasonic makes fine tv sets.
    Panasonic makes quite good S-VHS and VHS VCRs.
    But their DVD recorders are pieces of shit. They should be ashamed.

    JVC makes excellent S-VHS VCRs.
    JVC makes an amazing DVD recorder.
    JVC makes good DVD players.
    JVC makes good VHS/S-VHS consumer cameras.
    Not too keen on some of their other gear, like CD players.
    And by all means, never buy their branded blank DVD media.

    It's ironic that both are owned by the same parent corporation, Matsushita.
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  9. Member
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    Interesting debate, cnet reviews the picture quality for the panasonic to be stellar(that is what confused me) but the features to be so so. They have no review for the jvc or the toshiba. that is why i like to raise the issue to see people's experience to their machines.
    All the input is great though, still curious on the toshiba one.........

    thanks everyone
    "Do or Do not, there is no try"- Yoda
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    I had both the Panasonic es20 and now have the JVC DR 70. Theres no comparison in that the JVC is better.
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  11. Hi Everyone,

    This is a great thread! I have a question that is similar to the initial topic. I am considering purchasing a standalone DVD player without a hard drive for the specific purpose of capturing VHS tapes and converting them to DVDs. I plan to take the discs and use a program such as CaptyMPEGEdit to do cuts-only editing and authoring a final DVD with CaptyDVD 2.

    Is the JVC DRM100S a good unit for this task from a picture quality standpoint? It looks like I will be staying away from the Panasonics based on this thread. Thanks in advance for your comments.
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    Apparantly the JVC 100 has some manufacturing bugs in it.
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    I have a Panasonic ES 10 and am very happy with it. I have had a Liteon 5001 and a Cyberhome(yes I actually have one that works). The Panasonic is worlds ahead of the others. I am a fan of them for having this unit. I only use the 1, 2 and flex record settings. So I could not vouch for the 4 hour mode. I don't think there are any units that would record a 4 hour football game with good quality.
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  14. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MeekloBraca
    Apparantly the JVC 100 has some manufacturing bugs in it.
    I've actually heard of no such bugs, nor experienced them. So far the JVC DR-M100S is proving itself to be a perfect machine, which sort of breaks the mold of all DVD recorders having a fatal flaw. And that's kind of nice. You can now recommend a unit to somebody without having to warn them of possible flaws (as you must usually do with all other machines).

    The DR-M10 line had the bad resistors in a small percentage of machines, but even that was easily fixed (assuming the damage had not already spread into surrounding components). The M10 lines was discontinued more than a year ago, that was a 2004 model. The M100 is the 2005 line. There is no 2006 line just yet.

    Now that they've perfected everything, their next line of machines should attempt to incorporate some extra features (levels of noise correction, maybe proc-amp-like functions for color correction). Of course, that would increase the cost, but it's a step in the right direction, especially for advanced consumers and small-time pros. At least we can dream, right? Just don't break anything in the process.
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  15. Preservationist davideck's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    The JVC in 4-hour LP mode uses a resolution of 352x480
    This is true for DVD-RW and DVD-R. But with DVD-RAM, MovieFactory imports a JVC LP recording as 480x480 and then takes GOBS of time to rerender. The Panasonic LP recordings are recognized as being DVD compliant.

    I've also found that finalized DVD+R discs recorded on the Panasonic can be copied directly by the Ulead software. The JVC does not support DVD+R.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    You can use a JVC for up to 4 hours. The best setting is XP or FR180, depending on the sources.
    XP and FR180 modes look good on the Panasonic too.

    I'm not pro Panasonic or pro JVC, I'm just attempting to compare the two machines. While I have them side by side, can anyone suggest a test that will clearly demonstrate JVC superiority?

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    The Panasonic has problems at anything other than SP mode. The 1-hour suffers technical issues
    Could you please elaborate on this? How can I verify this?
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  16. My casual observation of the Panasonic DMR-ES20 and the JVC DVD recorders I have on hand right now (DR-M10, DR-MV5, SR-MV50) is that the ES20 is a big improvement over previous Panasonic models in terms of encoding quality, due to their use of the LSI chip in this machine. Recordings look very good up to a little over 2.5 hours. After that, because of the forced 720x480 D1 resolution out to four hours, there are noticeable macroblocks and other encoding artifacts when there is any action in the images. In this regard, the JVC is superior because it drops to half D1 resolution for recordings longer than 2.5 hours, thus greatly reducing motion artifacts.

    Also, the JVC's video noise filters are definitely better. The Panasonic filters are not bad, just not as good as JVC's. JVC MPEG2 encodes of analog video sources look really clean because of this superior filtering. Both machines produce excellent results with their DV inputs. The biggest advantage the Panasonic ES20 has over the JVC machines is that you can adjust the analog video input to compensate for 7.5 IRE black level sources, and you can shut off the input video noise filtering if you like. If you have a JVC S-VHS VCR with the TBC/DNR filtering, you can shut off the Panasonic input video noise filters and rely on the VCR's filters for VHS tape noise reduction, and the results are very nice.

    I do have to say I have been favoring my Toshiba XS34 for clean source transfers lately. Great encoded image quality that is almost as good as the JVC, but with the ability to adjust input black level, plus three levels of input video noise reduction (off, on, expanded). The "on" filter setting in the Toshiba is subtle, not as aggressive as JVC, Panasonic and Lite-On filters. The JVC noise filters are still the best overall, though.
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    Thanks for posting something about the toshiba, i was getting worried i would have to go cold turkey with out any reviews on it or anything before i bought it.
    I will let everyone know about the quality and features if i end up getting it.
    It is either that or the jvc.
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  18. I have been doing a big family project converting vhs and vhs-c tapes to dvd for awhile. About 600 disks to date. Before getting too far into the project, I created a disk with clips of captures from various brands of recorders and sent them to the relatives. They were to pick the capture that they preferred. The Panasonic ES10 won by a simple majority but there were supporters for every brand.

    This comment was made by gshelley61 on another thread,

    " a clear distinction between archiving videotape sources and restoration. Archiving involves transferring the original source to a suitable storage format without any alteration of the signal, while restoration is the process of creating viewable copies of the source that are "cleaned up", enhanced, color corrected, etc. "

    I found that some relatives objected to recordings that were "improved" in some manner. You might want to consider if you feel that way.

    Here is a link to tests of a fair number of recorders including tests submitted by gshelley61 for a Toshiba.

    https://www.videohelp.com/forum/archive/t279460.html

    Here is a thread just to illustrate that this is not always an easy decision even with expert advice.

    https://forum.videohelp.com/viewtopic.php?t=273291&highlight=panasonic+es30v[/quote]
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  19. Much of this depends on the type of TV or display the recorded discs are being played back on. Direct view CRT televisions are very forgiving and tend to mask analog video noise like grain, streaks and chroma noise... as well as MPEG2 encoding artifacts like color banding, macroblocks and mosquito noise.

    And there's always the eye of the beholder factor. For example, one person will see a smooth, clean analog to DVD transfer - while another person may watch the same recording and say that the picture has been softened too much compared to the source.
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    Yes it must have been the DRM10 model I was thinking about not the 100.
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  21. Preservationist davideck's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gshelley61
    And there's always the eye of the beholder factor. For example, one person will see a smooth, clean analog to DVD transfer - while another person may watch the same recording and say that the picture has been softened too much compared to the source.
    Exactly! Your statement precisely defines one difference in picture quality preferences between the Panasonic ES20 and the JVC DR-M100. Depending upon the need of the user, both are excellent machines.
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  22. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    There are two audiences for DVD recorders, as I've come to find in the past couple years.

    #1 SHARP = NOISY crowd.
    There is no way to have "sharp" video without also having noise to go with. The nature of MPEG encoding prevents that, because of the imperfect non-film sources that consumer use. If you want a "sharp" picture, be aware that you are going to get a picture full of blocks, mosquito noise and retention of analog noise. The picture will not only not be improved, it will likely be degraded. A number of these "sharp" units are also fake, giving you an image that was artificially sharpened by the unit. People who want sharper quality image should invest in video hardware that is specifically created for upsizing resolution or sharpening video (detailers) without increasing the noise ratio. Your "sharp" videos are going to appear pretty dismal on high resolution displays, as the artifacts will be much more noticeable. The CRT can mask most of the noise, but it's still apparent to most people.

    #2 CLEAN = SMOOTH crowd
    The term "smooth" is misleading, as the image is really no more or less smooth than the source it was fed. But it's also not artificially sharpened, and the cleaner image lacks the noise which is often known to give the appearance of "sharpness". It's all in the mind. A clean video transfer will not have stray pixels, not have bleedy chroma noise, and will not be full of crunchy digital or analog grain. These videos are going to generally look clean on any display, especially high res LCDs. They will appear virtually flawless on a CRT.

    VR mode or DVD-Video mode?
    Do not use VR mode for any reason. It's not DVD-Video compliant, it's a separate specification all to its own, and will not play in most DVD players. There is not any reason to use DVD-VR, so do not try to include it in testing procedures. If the machine only does VR mode, avoid it at all costs, as your discs won't be very good except in the recorder itself. VR is more similar to the voodoo-ridden DVB files than it is to DVD-Video.

    How to easily see JVC vs Panasonic?
    The easiest test to see the superiority of a JVC machines against others it to take an EP mode VHS tape (relatively good tape, no major flaws, just limited to VHS quality with all the grain and chroma noise), played from a normal VHS player, and record it in either FR180 or LP 4-hour mode. The JVC will produce a clean image, free of chroma noise, and with most of the grain suppresssed. The Panasonic will choke, all the chroma noise will be encoded into the image, and the grain with cause blocks and other noise to form at a much higher rate (factor of 10, maybe) than the JVC. Very simple test. If somebody does not see these same results, they're either lying or they just don't want to believe it (pre-ES20). But that's the difference. It gets more subtle as you digress towards XP mode, but it's always there to some degree. Chroma noise is either on or off, and block/mosquito noise is there in an amount inverse to the bitrate allocation. The Panasonic ES20 is using an LSI chipset, so you can expect to see chroma noise removed on it, but the bitrate allocation fails when you start to surpass the 720x480 @ 5000k minimum bitrate threshold, which results in blocks and mosquito noise. These are actually not caused by grain, as the LSI will surpress some (not all .... the JVC does all because it has JVC Digipure at work, not just LSI), but simply because even a clean source needs a certain bitrate allocation.
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  23. Preservationist davideck's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    There are two audiences for DVD recorders, as I've come to find in the past couple years.
    I think that recordings vary across a spectrum; SHARP--TRANSPARENT--SOFT. Yes, a recording can be sharper than the source, but it can also be softer. Quality compromises exist all along the spectrum. I don't think that there is one "best" recording that would satisfy everyone.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    How to easily see JVC vs Panasonic?
    The easiest test to see the superiority of a JVC machines against others it to take an EP mode VHS tape (relatively good tape, no major flaws, just limited to VHS quality with all the grain and chroma noise), played from a normal VHS player, and record it in either FR180 or LP 4-hour mode.
    So I did this test. 4 hour mode on both machines recording an EP VHS tape. The JVC was "cleaner" and "softer". But I would expect that those concerned enough about picture quality to notice this difference would record in 1 or 2 hour mode anyway. I wouldn't use 4 hour mode on either of these machines.

    In any event, the test was complicated by the fact that the JVC kept dropping out of record because it insisted every so often that my tape was copy protected. It was not. The Panasonic had no such trouble.
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  24. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by davideck
    But I would expect that those concerned enough about picture quality to notice this difference would record in 1 or 2 hour mode anyway.
    I would have to disagree. The bitrate allocation of 3-hour mode (at least ones using a 352x480 resolution) is superior to SP 2-hour mode allocation. In other words, 3-hour recordings will have less artifacts than 2-hour recordings. And then most consumer sources (tv, cable, satellite, VHS) are going to be around 352x480 resolution anyway, so tossing extra pixels at it with a Full D1 recording won't make much difference. In fact, all it will do is allow less material to exist on a single disc.

    I'm all for using as many discs as it takes. But inversely, I'm totally against bloating a disc and filling spindles for a project.

    Length alone does not affect quality. Bit-rate, GOP, and other factors make a large impact on picture quality (PQ). SP mode may have been the superior VHS recording method, but that sort of archaic thinking needs to die with VHS tapes. DVD is different.
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  25. Preservationist davideck's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    I'm all for using as many discs as it takes. But inversely, I'm totally against bloating a disc and filling spindles for a project.
    Yes, I agree that 3 hour mode may be suitable for some sources. 3 hour mode looks significantly better than 4 hour mode on both machines.

    But the faulty copy protection shutdown on the JVC is a real show stopper for me. I would not want to add an external TBC into the path just to solve this problem, particularly if the Panasonic has no such issue. The Panasonic is also more tolerant of timebase jitters than the JVC. Overall then, I would choose the Panasonic as the better machine for analog VCR capture at this point.
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  26. Hi Lordsmurf.
    I have a question for you, if you don't mind.

    I have a DRM1, which I am very happy with. If I upgrade to the DRM100, which is the latest model AFAIK, will I see an improvement in recording quality at the 1 and 2 hour modes, or are they similar to my DRM1.

    Thanks in advance!!
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  27. Member ejai's Avatar
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    The JVC is garbage.... if you like highly soften, no detail, lack of true color and contrast video then this is the machine for you.

    The Panasonic isn't that great either but it looks better JVC. I own both and I prefer Pansonic hands down.
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  28. Agree on the JVC 100%. Toshiba is hands down the best I've used out of JVC, Panasonic, Pioneer, Toshiba, at least from my sources, c-band and 4DTV satellite. I don't record poor quality sources and never go over SP, so I wouldn't know about either of those.
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  29. I own both a Panasonic ES10 and a JVC MH30 (the hard drive model) and I'm in total agreement with LordSmurf that the JVC model's recording quality from VHS sources is superior to that of the Panasonic at SP and LP speeds. I've used both DVD recorders to transfer VHS videotapes to DVDs, generally using my JVC HR-S9600 S-VHS VCR as the source, set to either AUTO or EDIT depending on the picture quality of the original tape. In A/B comparisons of DVD-R recordings made from the same source, the JVC has always produced a "cleaner" - and to my eye more satisfactory - image than the Panasonic, which tends to be slightly darker and grainier than the original source. Whenever I've made a recording on the Panasonic, I've always ended up re-recording the same VHS tape onto the JVC for improved results. Where the Panasonic ES10 does have an edge, however, is in its amazing ability of its circuitry to minimize if not completely eliminate image bending at the top of the screen for many of my troublesome tapes which cannot be fixed with the TBC in the JVC S-VHS machine. Thanks to LordSmurf's tip I now use the Panasonic ES10 strictly as a processor of the VHS signal before it goes into the JVC DVD recorder.
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