I was wondering if it is difficult to upgrade the hard drive on a Pioneer DVR-550H. I understand that the recorder uses an IDE type drive. I have one on order & I was wanting to change the 160GB hard drive for a 500 GB. Any advice will be appreciated.
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You can follow this, you need just to make some adjustments to it:
(I'll soon set up a better web page for replacing the HD in the DVR, maybe when I'm off work around x-mas)
The 450, 550, 650, 460, 560 and 660 use SATA hard drives: you will not be able to install the IDE drive you ordered. See if the vendor will let you exchange it for SATA (the 640 and other earlier x4x models were the last Pioneers to use IDE).
Note with any SATA-based recorders, the SATA cables tend to oxidize or work themselves loose in unexpected ways. If your replacement drive ever seems to act wonky, open the recorder back up and reseat the SATA cables. This is proving to be a very common issue with SATA drives: the connecting cables are not as stable as the old EIDE (at least the cheap cables used in consumer products). This also applies if a new SATA-based recorder is shipped to you and seems not to work right when you get it: the cables can be slightly dislodged during shipping.
So, they changed the drive type. Oh well. The recorder is what I had on order, I already had the drive. After reading Hkan's post, I may not be changing out the drive due to the fact it seems to be a real pain. I don't have a service remote nor the disc that I need, so I'll just be happy with what I've got.
You're probably better off not upgrading the drive on a new Pio 550 anyway, GreggD. The 160GB capacity it ships with is close to the limit of what it can comfortably navigate, the 250GB models are really pushing it. I upgraded a 640 for someone, and the results were not pretty: the navigation gets very sluggish, and it takes FOREVER to locate a particular program on a filled 500GB drive. My client was thrilled to load all his stuff on the big drive and doesn't care that its dead slow, but I anxiously await the eventual phone call telling me it crashed. I don't look forward to his face when I tell him theres no way to rescue a crashed recorder HDD other than to fully erase/reformat it in the recorder.
Enjoy your new 550, its a real nice machine, and its pretty easy to live within 160GB .
I'm DEFINITELY going to leave well enough alone. I wonder how slow the Pioneer DVR-LX70k is with its 500 GB hard drive. That one may be as slow as molasses on a cold day. LOL. The only thing I've found so far that I'm not too keen on is that if you make a DVD on another machine or a PC, the 550 won't let you copy DVD to HDD. I guess I'll have to input a movie to the 550 using my Pioneer DVR-330, Philips 3960 player, or LG DR787T. The Philips & LG have both been modified to be Region Free using info from fellow members of VideoHelp.
It's of course possible the DVR-LX70 with its mfr-installed 500GB HDD might have an updated nav system to handle that capacity more effectively, but I doubt it. Pioneer had a gruesome, clunky, near-unusable nav system in the early 510/520 models, which they thankfully cleaned up considerably for 2005 by changing to a simple, intuitive up-down title scroll with animated thumbnails. That nav system has been carried thru to todays models, so I wouldn't expect the pricey 550-based DVR-LX70 to have a different version but you never know. The recorders themselves are very solid, the slow navigation is because you can't get direct access by name: you have to scroll sequentially up or down the list to find what you want. The animated thumbnails also slow things down slightly, I think you can turn those off but I've never bothered. Pretty much any make recorder will have the same nav issues on a huge drive.
These machines are primarily designed for convenient timeshifting with easy editing and authoring, despite the marketing claims they really don't make good A/V jukeboxes. The mfrs were all terrified of Hollywood and the DMCA, so they crippled any ability to copy retail DVDs to the HDD: without that the entire jukebox concept falls flat. Aside from one or two of the older generic-brand DVD/HDD recorders, I don't think any machines allowed even finalized DVD-R to be copied to the hard drive. The DMCA comes up for review again soon, many mfrs are petitioning Congress to allow restricted, controlled DVD copying within sealed devices. Cross your fingers.