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  1. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    I have an older Harmony (would have to check the model #), kept but never really used. While it is not on the level of the Harmony, I have liked what I've seen of the Interset Universal remote, which is a far simpler device. It is the only one of 4 or 5 remotes I got to support my NVidia Shield that actually works, including at least one that was expressly the Shield's own remote. But the problem with that HR-24 was proven not to reside at the remote end of things. I think orsetto's speculative explanation is leaning in the right direction. That receiver is once again obeying commands from its regular remote, though I don't know for how long. The DTV sat receiver in question also exhibits other intermittent problems, like occasional freeze lockups with a static picture, whose only cure was a reboot. That is more likely to involve the HDD. The unit is very likely on borrowed time. This has all put me on notice that I need to offload a whole lot more stuff while I still can, as soon as I can get around to it. Since I can't find time to explore new projects with unfamiliar hardware right now, this cuts out any possible higher res solutions. I'll have to move stuff into the Pioneer DVDR, or in some cases to rewriteable DVD for xfer to portable external HDD.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  2. Hello the optical unit of my pioneer DVR-630HS does neither recognizes any DVD nor plays them. It displays the message" disc incompatible or cannot be played". Which is a part number of the unit (pioneer if it is available) that can replace this DVD unit? Also how can I burn to DVDs all the programs that are in its HDD ?

    Tks for any help!





    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Other than the burner wearing out from age, the main failure issue found with the 520 is in the power supply, which like every other electronic item manufactured in 2004 contains faulty counterfeit Chinese capacitors. These eventually swell or fail leading to power on-off problems. There are some repair tips on the pioneerfaq.info website, if you're handy with a soldering iron, if not you can bring it to a service shop and ask them to repair the power supply section.

    Yes, keyboard entry on the 560 is very convenient. The "connect to PC" feature is extremely finicky and unreliable, your PC has to be formatted exactly the way the recorder wants and even then it doesn't recognize or allow transfer of many files. In any case it won't transfer primary video files via PC connect, only JPEGs, DiVX and MP3 files. I find it easier to use USB thumb drives or DVD-ROM/CD-ROM for such transfers. The DV connection only seems to work with cameras, the accuracy is somewhat better than on the 520 but still off enough to require some cleanup. It depends on the camera to some degree.

    Overall I find the 560 much more intuitive to use than the older 510/520. I totally understand the attachment some have for the fullscreen chapter and thumbnail marking features of the older units, and I agree they should have been retained as options in the newer models. But in my use, I gladly gave that up in exchange for much faster and cleaner navigation system and much easier operation of the editing system (recorded titles scroll up and down and always have their names visible, unlike the inscrutable checkerboard of the 510/520 nav screen, and switching a title into its various editing options is quicker and more direct). One thing I dislike very much on the newer models is the typeface used in all the displays: it is thinner and smaller and harder to read on smaller screens than the chunkier, contrastier typeface of the 510-520. Considering the thousand features incorporated in these machines, it really is odd Pioneer could not combine the best features of the older units with the improvements in the new ones.

    Oh, well, that's what keeps all these models valuable second hand to someone: nice to know in a crisis we could always sell them quickly (not that we ever would! )
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  3. Hello ! My great Pio DVR-630Hs which has been working for more than 10 years it is not playing, burning or recognizing any DVDs. The HDD is fine but I cannot
    burn any DVDs anymore. Which is the best optical unit/ part number for replacement ? Tks
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    Originally Posted by emilpioneer View Post
    Hello the optical unit of my pioneer DVR-630HS does neither recognizes any DVD nor plays them. It displays the message" disc incompatible or cannot be played". Which is a part number of the unit (pioneer if it is available) that can replace this DVD unit? Also how can I burn to DVDs all the programs that are in its HDD ?

    Tks for any help!
    I just got a Pioneer DVR-630HS last week.

    Its one of the more difficult compact designs to remove the hard drive from, but not too difficult.

    I connected it to my Windows 7 PC with an IDE to USB3.0 adapter and started up IsoBuster 4.5 Pro

    The attached photo is what it could see.

    The drive is identified as belonging to the Pioneer "x30" family.

    The recordings are listed by their Title name.

    The recordings extract and copy to the PC hard drive complete and playback in VLC or VideoRedo.

    I could edit and then burn them to a DVD or Blu-ray from VideoRedo, but I choose not to.

    That sort of media is becoming more rare these days and I reserve what I have for special occasions.

    The second photo is of an extracted recording auto-opened in VideoRedo.

    The recording is from New Zealand in PAL-B format, but that doesn't matter once its in the digital MPEG2 format.

    .. if you don't want to take the time to extract the recordings one at a time,

    Isobuster 4.5 Pro can extract multi-selections of recordings, or all of them at one time..

    or you can simply backup the entire DVR-630HS drive to a single drive image computer file and go through it later

    IsoBuster 4.5 can read the backup image as if it were the real thing.

    That way you can put the DVR-630HS hard drive back in the recorder and keep using it,

    and refer to the backup image later when you have more time to perform the extractions.


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    Last edited by jwillis84; 1st Jan 2020 at 19:57.
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  5. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    What jwillis84 and Peter (of IsoBuster) have wrought in their explorations and development looks to be a game-changer, in regard to recovering material from these units' HDDs. Putting in a replacement burner -- assuming that you could find the requisite part, which is quite scarce by now, and which last I heard would set you back ~ $400. (?) -- is I think a problematic procedure. Orsetto has almost certainly documented it before, in one VH Pioneer DVDR thread or another. This is one of the reasons that ardent fans of these units have tried to stockpile a spare or two, of their favored models. Finding parts at this point, regardless of price, is going to be a long shot.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  6. emilpioneer, the DVR-630 used a specially modified, long-unavailable DVR-R09-XP version of the more common model DVR-109 (aka A09) optical drive that was sold for PCs at the time. If you can find a functioning 109 or A09 PC burner, you can repair your 630 by removing your bad burner, swapping its green circuit board (which contains the needed modifications) to the "new" burner, and putting that "new" burner in the recorder.

    See this tutorial I posted to VideoHelp several years ago:

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/292011-DVR-R09-XP-needed/page2#post2055863

    I no longer recommend this, however. All the 109 series burners are very old now, hard to find, usually overpriced, and don't reliably recognize or burn currently available blank dvds. Given the amazing new capabilities of ISObuster discussed above, your best solution would be to purchase a license key for that utility and use it to transfer your 630 hdd recordings to a computer, from which you can burn discs with any inexpensive new optical drive compatible with your computer.
    Last edited by orsetto; 2nd Jan 2020 at 15:58.
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  7. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Hi orsetto,

    I wanted to avoid asking about something that's been provided here before, but . . . .
    I'm sure that you must have posted a thumbnail profile of the different Pio DVDR models with their significant features -- perhaps in a tabular lookup form, and more than once. I may even have saved this, on some other computer. Could not find it with a VH forum search just now, but I did find the key item I was interested in: as between the 460 and the 560, I kept forgetting which was the Costco Canada model, but now I see that it was the 460, so I'm making another notation of that. No need to bother posting a redux of this, but if you happen to know the link for a previous models-rundown post that you did, I'll save that also in my Reference file.

    Thanks again for all the great help on this subject that you've provided to many, over the years.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  8. Its been so long, I can't remember if we ever put that info together in simplified chart format, Seeker47. At least, I don't seem to have such a file in my archives.

    But just as a quick refresher in text post format:

    The x40 series of 2006 marked the beginning of the "Type II" Pioneers, with heavy collaboration by Sony. The burner shifts from slightly modified variation of common Pioneer PC drive to a bespoke, nearly impossible to source Sony recorder-specific burner. The HDD and burner connect to the motherboard via EIDE. The 10-bit x40 video encoder chip is very stable with VHS input, but overall recording quality drops slightly from the prior 630 series and later 12-bit x60 (its distinctly fuzzy). Very basic MP3 and JPEG playback. Funky white remote control with sliding door covering some buttons. None of the x40 series has HDMI output: composite and component only. There were three North American models:

    DVR-540 has 80GB HDD and was (I believe) only sold in Canada. No USB or DV/Firewire inputs.

    DVR-543 has 80GB HDD as above, but adds two front panel USB ports (standard and printer). No DV/Firewire input.

    DVR-640 was the sole (and final) USA model. Same specs as 543 above, but 160GB HDD instead of 80GB.

    Outside North America, PAL variants of the 543 and 640 added a DV/Firewire input.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The x50 series of 2007 was Canada-only with no official USA distribution. Refined the basic design of the x40 units. HDMI output added to all x50 models. Video encoder upgraded from 10-bit to 12-bit, for noticeably sharper overall recording quality vs x40. Burner tray relocated from left side to center of chassis. Position of Eject and DVD/HDD buttons reversed. Burner and HDD migrate to SATA connection. Handling of MP3, AVI, JPEG files improved. Larger remote control with all buttons uncovered, but black on black graphics hard to read, three dedicated jukebox buttons added to invoke context-specific MP3, AVI and JPEG features. Home Menu layout redesigned slightly, separating Disc setup from Recorder setup, with other tabs re-arranged.

    DVR-450 was special budget CostCo version: 160GB HDD, no front panel USB or DV/Firewire inputs.

    DVR-550 was the standard version, same as 450 but adds front panel USB and DV/Firewire inputs.

    DVR-650 was the top model, same as 550 but larger 250GB HDD.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The x60 series of 2008 was Canada-only with no official USA distribution. These were the final Pioneer recorders sold in North America, the design lingered on for another year or two in the European PAL market with DVB-T tuner variations, then Pioneer vanished from home video altogether. The x60 models are nearly identical to the previous x50 models, with the addition of a Gracenote ROM database which automatically titles CD audio tracks as they are imported to the HDD jukebox mode. Faceplate changes to all-black finish for all models. Minor feature variations between model numbers:

    DVR-460 was special budget CostCo version: 160GB HDD, and includes front panel USB and DV/Firewire inputs. No Gracenote database, otherwise identical to the 560.

    DVR-560 was the standard version, identical to 460 but adds the Gracenote database.

    DVR-660 was the top model, same as 560 but larger 250GB HDD. Adds an ethernet port for live web updates to the Gracenote database, also offers extremely limited connectivity to PC networks running specific (obsolete) version of Windows Media Player to import some media files.
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Jan 2020 at 13:45.
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  9. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Thanks very much, orsetto. Now personally re-saved, filed, and may even print it out. (Because I'm old-school, and still like hard-copy reference . . . that you don't need to fire up a computer in order to access.)

    One thing that surprised me: I did not realize that "for Canada" models played nearly as prominent a role in this Pioneer DVDR history as turns out to be the case. I'm left wondering a bit how it is that our neighbors to the north wound up being so favored ? Some market differences, sure -- but really to that extent ?

    If any mods still have a hand on the tiller here, I'd say that deserves to be a sticky.
    Last edited by Seeker47; 6th Jan 2020 at 13:38.
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    Thanks very much, orsetto. Now personally re-saved, filed, and may even print it out. (Because I'm old-school, and still like hard-copy reference . . . that you don't need to fire up a computer in order to access.)

    One thing that surprised me: I did not realize that "for Canada" models played nearly as prominent a role in this Pioneer DVDR history as turns out to be the case. I'm left wondering a bit how it is that our neighbors to the north wound up being so favored ? Some market differences, sure -- but really to that extent ?

    If any mods still have a hand on the tiller here, I'd say that deserves to be a sticky.
    We did it to ourselves.
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  11. Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    One thing that surprised me: I did not realize that "for Canada" models played nearly as prominent a role in this Pioneer DVDR history as turns out to be the case. I'm left wondering a bit how it is that our neighbors to the north wound up being so favored ? Some market differences, sure -- but really to that extent ?
    Seems odd now, but the market and other factors conspired to make Canada slightly more lucrative for awhile longer, while USA was stagnant to the point of unprofitable.

    One has to remember, the North American x30 series nearly tanked the entire Pioneer recorder business in 2005. In Europe and Asia, it was very successful and reliable, but Pioneer utterly botched the USA/Canada version by falling for the empty promises of the Macrovision-owned proprietary TV Guide On Screen (TVGOS) gimmick. Unlike the European and Asian EPG systems, which were government operated and standardized across multiple countries, TVGOS was a typical kludged corporate-America concept that sucked a tailpipe even when it was well-implemented (in Panasonic recorders). Pioneer took the fatal route of making their TVGOS implementation HDD-software-based, which proved a disaster for usability, reliability, and servicing. The 531-533-633 hard dives corrupted themselves with TVGOS-induced sector errors in droves soon after purchase, disabling the units and causing a rush of warranty claims like no one had seen since the Yugo scandal. The crappy TVGOS feature made the machines impossible to repair efficiently, causing massive delays and cost overruns. By the end of x30 production, Pioneer was so desperate for a reliable North American replacement they contracted with Sony to virtually copy their recorder design as-is. Instead of repairing 531-533-633 returns, Pioneer began simply handing out new 640s as if they were candy (it was actually cheaper for them than trying to fix the ridiculously balky x30 units).

    As you can imagine, this soured Pioneer on the North American recorder market, particularly USA which was already declining rapidly anyway due to our addiction to cable/satellite and the rise of TiVO-like full-HDTV recorder options. The new 640 was rock reliable, but with the troublesome TVGOS now dropped it lacked an EPG timer feature, which was then sweeping USA cable/satellite customers by storm. Rather than re-tool for yet another annoying USA-only requirement on the horizon (ATSC digital broadcasts) Pioneer opted to cut its losses and abandon USA before the draconian ATSC tuner regulations kicked in. Our bad luck that ATSC ended up delayed another few years, otherwise Pioneer (and Sony) might have stayed in USA for as long as it did Canada.

    In contrast to the USA headlong rush, Canada was planning a slower migration to ATSC, so was not yet placing onerous digital tuner requirements on recorder mfrs in advance. Cable, satellite and TiVO HDTV signal availability wasn't nearly as prevalent yet as in USA. So it wasn't any great effort for Pioneer/Sony to continue offering their analog tuner DVD/HDD units thru 2008. Pioneer itself crashed and burned during the global financial meltdown at that time, leaving Sony to soldier on alone with their version until roughly 2010. This was the Sony RDR-HX780, a hybrid of Pioneer 540 and 550 (all the features of the 550, but the fuzzy video encoder of the 540 and no DVD-RAM recording support). Once Canada went fully ATSC, Sony bailed too (just as well, because they switched from self-mfr to junky OEM DVD/HDD units made by Samsung that were just awful).

    The huge population of the combined USA/Canada market wasn't sufficient to offset the drawbacks of our Wild Wild West cable/satellite systems, scattershot ATSC reception, WalMart price expectations, and complete lack of state-sponsored broadcast EPG that nearly every other Western country had standardized on. Europe/Australia/NZ remained viable enough to see the introduction of BluRay/HDD recorders, because all these countries shared a single digital broadcast/satellite tuner and EPG standard facilitating economies of scale to device mfrs. North America with its multiple feudal cable/satellite purveyors and "rebel without a cause" ATSC broadcast system became persona non grata for recorder mfrs. Unlike everywhere else in the world, having standard internal tuners for all available signal sources was impossible for North America, rendering recorders useless for time-shifting. That was the death knell.

    Eventually the tide turned against recorders on a global scale: the rise of on-demand streaming services and corresponding decline of interest in owning physical media has gutted the market for personal non-proprietary recorders. RIP, DVD: you were great while you lasted (and might still be, had the mass market not been hijacked by Netflix).
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  12. The ATSC transition in Canada only occurred in 2011, might have something to do with the models being available longer in Canada.
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  13. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Thanks for that history refresher, orsetto.

    This may have been asked before, but I have a query about that "defrag & re-pack or consolidate slack space" feature (a lot of it created by stuff that was edited out), as found on the later Pioneer models. I'd have to rediscover just where that feature lives, but that's not the question. Do you know of any case where use of that feature failed, and thereby lost or screwed up any recorder contents ? Or does it have an exemplary safety record ? I've never tried this, and I'm trying to gauge the degree of risk involved.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  14. The defrag operation does entail some degree of risk, Seeker47, with it being more likely for older HDDs that contain many edited titles. Exactly how much risk I'm afraid I cannot tell you, since it hasn't really been documented at all in the many years and thousands of user postings in forums. I've rarely invoked it myself, have always been successful when I did, but always took the precaution of having the entire HDD contents backed up to VR-mode discs prior to defrag (so I could restore the HDD in the event of a mishap).

    Defrag availability depends on the Pioneer recorder model series. Its been a very long time since I owned an early 510 or 520: a quick glance thru their user and service manuals indicate no option for defrag, tho I suppose a deeper dive in the very dense service manual might show the option buried somewhere in service mode. Ditto the 530 series: my American 531 and 533 had to be repaired so many times due to TVGOS epg corruption that defrag never had a chance to become an issue. Also, I seem to have lost my 530 service manuals, so no reference material at hand (tho I seem to recall the units themselves being able to "request" a defrag OK from the user when start-up self test failed certain parameters).

    Starting with the x40, all Type II Pioneers employ a uniform approach to defrag. It became available as an at-will user option in the Disc Setup menu, in addition to being prompted by the unit itself upon startup if it thinks it needs it. Pioneer uses the term "Optimize" instead of "Defragment" in its manuals and on-screen menus. The service manuals have gone thru several iterations and tend to obfuscate precisely how the recorder handles routine maintenance by itself before requiring user intervention. Some SMs imply that the SATA units (x50, x60) self-optimize on a minor scale as necessary, confusingly indicated by the same "REpAIRING Hdd" display that turns up on the front panel during startup when the HDD is actually beginning to age out or fail.

    Manually optimizing a 160GB HDD can take anywhere from an hour to several hours to nearly an entire day depending on the free capacity and contents. Personally, I would be wary if the progress bar indicates more than 3 hours: the longer the HDD churns, the more likely it is to fail. If it doesn't seem to be making significant headway after a couple hours, you should probably cancel optimization. This doesn't harm anything, you'll just have a partially-optimized HDD. In my opinion, the best way to optimize (defrag) a Pioneer is the hardest way: back everything up to "live" VR format dvds, erase (initialize) the HDD, then transfer all the "live" recordings back to HDD from your VR backup discs. Initialization can remap bad HDD sectors in a manner not possible with a "live" optimize pass, and laying down all the video files at once from backup discs places all the material you plan to keep on the HDD as one contiguous block.

    If you have one specific Pioneer devoted entirely to timeshifting (no editing, just record-watch-erase), you can opt for the load-balancing trick. Let the HDD accumulate recordings until 90% full, then delete the oldest half of the contents. When it reaches 90% again, delete the oldest 50% again. Etc. This forces the unit to regularly alternate between large contiguous chunks of HDD space, evening out the wear burden.
    Last edited by orsetto; 13th Jan 2020 at 16:47.
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  15. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Thanks for that.

    In regard to the manuals, and any that were missing for you, this might possibly be of interest

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/264584179505?ViewItem=&item=264584179505

    or perhaps of interest to jwillis84 and others. This dealer seems to offer several other such discs for various other things.

    While we're at it, and in case anyone cares to know, it might be worth checking on whether Hkan and any good resources of the past are still "in the game" for any practical purposes.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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    This is an observation.. and mostly a "guess"

    In going through a lot of recorders.

    It appears Toshiba started the idea of placing a prominent note in their user manual that HDD was not to be used for long term storage and they encouraged the user to frequently delete recordings. Other brands seemed to copy this notation. In the Japanese "culture" of the time, from translations of old marketing materials.. the husband was "Expected" to burn DVDs and keep "family history".. while the "House Wife" was expected to watch and delete soap operas daily. The follow up to the RD-XS line was a "House Wife" HDD (only) model, with no DVD burner. It was considered only a time shifting device for them.

    In the case of at least two brands when a drive became full or exceeded some critical state, the drive automatically "re-formatted" the entire drive and wiped out all recordings.

    On Windows PCs of the time.. Microsoft advertised "fragmentation" was not an issue and the file system was perfect.. if there were any serious issues, the pc hard drive should be entirely wiped and restored from backup. Only later did third party software attempt to "defragment" a hard drive.. and Microsoft begrudgingly include it as a feature in later editions of windows XP.

    The whole idea of "sorting their sock drawers" wasn't a thing.. the ultimate fix was "restore from backup".. it wasn't like the way we think today.

    A DVR was meant to be a "burner" First and a temporary storage platform second.

    In all cases the ultimate fix was "reformat" and dismiss the files.

    High speed backup to DVD-RAM or DVD-VR was probably how they thought of restoring a HDD, if it became necessary.


    Today.. since we can get these recordings off, without burning DVDs.. and store them on a PC hard drive.

    That is probably a better way to manage the videos.

    The intent of a DVR was for burning DVDs for archival purposes, and playing them back long term.. but what was left on the HDD was subject to being wiped almost at any time.

    In fact performing a pre-emptive "manual format" for maintenance purposes would have probably been considered a normal troubleshooting step.

    As for using the DVR as a playback device with PC files.. well you could do that from a thumb drive with later models.. but not the early ones.

    To do that you would have had to complete the step of mastering a DVD and burning from a PC first and then play that back in the DVR.. as the designers really intended.

    That they morphed into "video servers" never really seems to be how their designers thought about them.

    But its what some of us did.. for a while.. frustrated at the occasional losses of everything but what we had burned to DVD.

    What minimal understanding I've gained from studying Isobuster.. is that (some) recorders maintain an "allocation" database at the top of the drive.. which coarsely refers to the drive locations as "chunks" or video blocks" and Optimize probably does not move anything around, but merely double check the start of each block as having something or nothing.. and checking the integrity of the "allocation" database.

    If it were to become corrupt.. it might try to patch it.. or copy it to a new location and "pretend" errors are unused video blocks.. and resume function.. but eventually a day of reconcile would come and the drive would have to be reformatted.. or the user told to take the unit in for major service because the HDD was failing.

    The cheaper recorders.. just reformat, or suggest reformatting .. if thy are "nice" they may suggest copying important videos to DVD first.. but most do not.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 15th Jan 2020 at 04:59.
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  17. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    I guess I've just been lucky, jwillis84. I've had a couple each of several models, starting with the 520 -- not in service here for some years, but still fully functional at the time they went into storage -- through the 640, continuing on into the 460 / 560, plus a solitary 660. (The latter is mainly a collector piece that has seen little use, so far.) Several of these were acquired used, although in very good condition and allegedly with "low miles" on them. While I have encountered transitory (non-lasting, or end-of-the-road) burner failures of the "Copy Err" variety, all of which went away after some canned Dust-Off or other attention, I don't believe that I've ever run into any HDD failures. Some of these units have regularly flirted with the "nearly full" Pioneer warnings. Some have held their material for many years, most have burned quite a few discs. I'm very glad that you and Peter provided that "escape hatch" for us with Isobuster. I should probably be a lot more proactive about this. Already lost one Magnavox DVDR and some other gear to a power surge. Maybe I'm overdue.

    What I've always tried to do is to save the rarest and most critical material off to burned disc. In more recent years I would even back up selected discs to ISO or other, external HDD storage. Invariably, a lot of stuff remained on the Pioneer HDD, pending commercials removal and other intended editing. In some cases, other good sources -- principally online downloads availability -- would render certain recorded items irrelevant; those could then be deleted, and the space they occupied freed up. But there was always a considerable backlog on the DVDRs.

    Given what orsetto said above, I'm disinclined to attempt that Pioneer defrag, semi-defrag, or whatever it is. It's been quite a few years since I bothered to defrag any PC HDD, no matter what the conventional wisdom on that score may be. (I'm talking about mechanical HDDs, as my limited experience with SSDs has not been good.) The procedure he mentioned as an alternative would be overly time and labor intensive, and I lack an adequate supply of DVD-RW discs. The 4X TDK ones that I long favored became hard to find, at some point. The last spindle I bought came from abroad, at an elevated price. Haven't seen DVD-RAM ones around for awhile either, and I think they were slower anyway. This procedure would also likely tax the burner, beyond what is advisable.

    I should note that in sharp contrast to the experience with these Pioneer units, I have completely lost the contents of at least three DirecTV satellite DVR receivers. They are always running, taking a much heavier use, but I've just not seen them last more than 3 - 4 years. Usually it is their HDDs that fail first. When that happens, and it was about 2/3 full -- with as yet unseen items like rare films -- it's a loss you tend to remember.
    Last edited by Seeker47; 15th Jan 2020 at 11:30.
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  18. Just as a point of reference, Seeker47: you don't particularly need RW discs to do a "live" VR backup of the Pioneer HDD. You can simply initialize ordinary -R or +R discs to "VR Mode" using the Disc Setup menu. Of course these can only be burned once, but they are sometimes cheap enough that it can be worthwhile having a permanent backup.

    Another data point: Pioneers have a strange, inconsistent temperament regarding various blank discs and recording modes. The cheap commodity PC-oriented 16x media that they tend to bomb out with during "normal" finalized DVD creation seem to work just fine when burned in VR mode as backup media. Also, -RW media (even the cheap stuff) seems the least stressful on the burner.

    Fifteen years experience with every model they ever offered has proven to me time and again: as a Pioneer DVR burner starts failing, the last ability to go is -RW burning. It will lose 16x finalized burning first, followed by 8x finalized burning, then VR burning to 8x/16x, then finalized -RW, and last VR formatted -RW. Its almost as if the unit sends up a flare begging you to make a VR backup that could be restored to another replacement Pioneer recorder, propping that emergency rescue window open for as long as it can hold out. So, I wouldn't worry that burning 25 RW backup discs in the course of a week would put any significant wear on your burner. DVD-RAM slots into this progression somewhere, but I haven't used it enough to glean an accurate notion. Once I discovered live backup VR mode can be used with any media, there didn't seem much point bothering with the more expensive, harder to find RAM discs.

    AFAIK, Pioneer was unique in this flexible ability to burn live HDD backups to virtually any media type. Panasonic and Toshiba could likely do it with RAM discs, but I don't think with any other media types.
    Last edited by orsetto; 16th Jan 2020 at 13:12.
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    Panasonic abandoned making DVD-RAM about five years ago. Verbatim.. as far as I know was the last DVD-RAM manufacturer until they sold all their business to CMC last fall.

    IBM use to make some military grade DVD-RAM media for a few of their mainframes.. and may still have some stock.. but i am not certain its open to public sale.

    eBay has some old new stock of DVD-RAM.. but its almost exhausted.. probably for the last time.

    DVD-RAM is.. for all intents and purposes .. deceased.

    My Mom got a DVD-RAM MRI scan on a disc from a hospital two years ago, before they surplussed the entire machine.. but I haven't heard of anyone getting physical media other than that for a long time. They usually just send you a link to cloud stored images or video files these days.

    Samsungs exit of the Blu-ray market two years ago, and their public announcement last year has almost put the last nail in the coffin for Blu-ray.. as far as movie studios is concerned.. sales have been dropping 20 percent every year for the last three years.

    Warner and Universal just announced they would combine their Blu-ray sales units for any remaining stock.. which is really weird.. its almost like they selected the same liquidators and decided to make a joint statement.

    These formats are pretty much dead.. if streaming fails.. they will have to start over and invent a new physical media format with something much higher density for 4k or 8k.

    As depressing as all that sounds..

    I would highly urge people to "bank" or stock up on DVD and Blu-ray drives.. either they will need them to "rip" their discs to some other media.. or can resale them for top dollar in a few years to people migrating disc media back to some other digital format.

    The non-expiring "infinite" copyright polices will likely make personal copies all the more valuable down the road.. for yourself.. or your heirs.

    As before.. these are the last Floppy days of optical disc media..
    Last edited by jwillis84; 16th Jan 2020 at 15:30.
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  20. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Wow, that's a number of things in posts 108 & 109 that I did not know about. If, like me, folks were just blithely going along with their Netflix -- and yeah, I'm still in that minority that mainly does their discs option, both BR & DVD, occasionally supplemented by a bit of streaming -- you might suppose that BR was still very much a happening thing. No sense of it diminishing or going away. And when there happen to be any Extras that are worth watching, AFAIK they will only be on the discs, and not found on the streaming end. The BR capacities opened up a lot more room for them. Some discs will be barebones, with only the movie, but some others can have an hour or even more of behind-the-scenes material. Sometimes these will be fluff or not of much interest, but in other cases of considerable interest. (One example of the latter that comes to mind is "Blade Runner: The Final Cut", with its abundance of extras.)

    I guess the handwriting may have been on the wall when Oppo exited BR player production. (Have they shrunk down and circled the wagons, as Pioneer did ?) I did not know about Samsung getting out. The external LG BR drive with dual USB / e-SATA that I have turned out to be quite good, but may be off the market now. I'm looking to supply a few computers that don't presently have one with BR burners, before it's too late. (Primarily internals, plus maybe another external.) What would your top recommendations for these be that are still available ? If they also handle M-Disc, as some did, that would be a plus. Quality and durability matter to me more than cost. Oh, just remembered that I have a Pioneer internal BR burner -- maybe one of their final models ? -- which was bought for a tower rig that never got built, so that's one. It may be rated for up to 6X, have to find it and check. Not sure if Pioneer actually made it, or whether that was just a branding that got tacked onto it. The model may have ended in something like a -106 ?

    Some may laugh at this, but you make a good point about future needs with the discs. (Not to mention for data storage, which can be a useful backup adjunct to HDD and flash drives.) I don't think DVDs or BR media are going to disappear as fast as some people seem to think. I can still read a floppy or a Zip disc if I had to . . . which I'd rather be able to do myself, as opposed to hunting around for a services Co. that can, charging whatever they can get away with.
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    I shouldn't go off like that.. it will upset people.

    Pioneer BDR-2209 / BDR-209UBK

    The prices for good player/burners is going back up though even for older models, which makes me wonder if they have already been discontinued and someone knows something not public yet.
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  22. It really has become annoying to watch history repeat itself all over again (for those of us old enough to have seen this "movie" before). Instead of taking a balanced wait-and-see attitude, people are again running headlong off a cliff in pursuit of apparent convenience, with nary a single thought to how that might completely box them in and screw them over in the future. Consumers can't get enough of streaming, to the point its burying physical media before it can even get its coffin lid closed. And predictably, just as in the '80 and '90s, terrified dumbstruck studios are trying to stay one step ahead of a stampede they can never understand and have nothing but contempt for in any case.

    Between "live for today" consumers and content providers with no clue, a destructive tsunami has been unleashed that is drowning data storage options as collateral damage. For better and worse, the computer industry long ago abandoned dedicated storage options in favor of jumping on the consumer optical disc formats. This made for some economies of scale and universal compatibility we would never have had otherwise, but after a good 20 year run the underlying subsidy of those consumer formats (CD, DVD, BD) is evaporating like dew on an Arizona morning.

    Without mass market demand for entertainment system devices and media to play on them, PC data storage has been forced to migrate to cloud solutions That sort of thing is single-handedly floating Microsoft (and is a huge chunk of Amazon's non-retail business), but doesn't do squat for us non-corporate individual peasants who just want safe, private, durable storage solutions we can own and control in our homes. We finally had a decent updated alternative with BD-R HTL, but they've already begun kill it. Redundant sets of HDDs is about the only remaining option, and I hate it with a passion (too much reliance on a single magnetic technology, that requires endless nannying and periodic re-cloning).

    At least we'll have the hollow satisfaction of watching the streaming juggernaut implode over the next couple years. It only really worked when there was just Netflix and Hulu funneling everything from every source: now, every studio is doing takebacks and trying to forge their own separate service. Thats going to end up being about as popular as their VHS "rental-only, no more owning, each cassette is unlocked to play just once" strategy. I'll be interesting to see what the "post-streaming" paradigm turns out to be.
    Last edited by orsetto; 17th Jan 2020 at 16:34.
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  23. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    i don't mind HDD storage. my oldest nas has 63,048 hours (over 7 years) of continuous on time with the original drives. samsung knew how to make hard drives
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  24. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    i don't mind HDD storage. my oldest nas has 63,048 hours (over 7 years) of continuous on time with the original drives. samsung knew how to make hard drives
    Interesting. Fry's and Micro Centre were my 'Go-To's, never did much mail order, preferring to buy what I could see, off the shelf. I'm a longterm Western Digital buyer (Made in Thailand, only), though I'm old enough to remember when the very best enterprise or server-class HDDs were the SCSI IBM's that were made in Hungary. Best MTBF specs. I've seen plenty of Seagates and Toshiba HDDs for sale, but can't recall running into any Samsungs. A regional thing, maybe -- or just not from brick & mortar retail places ? Where did you source them from ?
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    Seeker47 i love eSATA, and still do.. but Oxford stopped making chips years ago. Every chip manufacturer did., the only consolation I have found is that SATA based motherboards or devices can be turned into eSATA hosts with a special bulkhead connector.. but that's not for normal people. OWC has discontinued all eSATA devices in favor of Thunderbolt.. so that generation (eSATA) is long gone. I still patrol auction sites looking for old eSATA gear.. but its getting pretty thin.

    I don't like hating on DVD or Blu-ray.. I rather like the format.. but its incredibly small by todays standards of file storage.

    I don't trust spinning rust.

    But its almost all that's left.

    Maintaining it by active monitoring and cloning, is tedious.. and problematic.. its not fool proof.

    i seriously don't know what to do.. i am hoping m.2 proves stable since archived video is not written over and over again, but stays static on the chips.. for how long is debatable.

    and I totally (Totally) agree with Orsetto
    Last edited by jwillis84; 17th Jan 2020 at 22:52.
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  26. Formerly 'vaporeon800' Brad's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Thats going to end up being about as popular as their VHS "rental-only, no more owning, each cassette is unlocked to play just once" strategy.
    What is this referring to? Reminds me of DIVX and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexplay.
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  27. Originally Posted by vaporeon800 View Post
    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Thats going to end up being about as popular as their VHS "rental-only, no more owning, each cassette is unlocked to play just once" strategy.
    What is this referring to? Reminds me of DIVX and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexplay.
    Yes, that DIVX fiasco was the disc evolution of the earlier VHS trainwreck I referred to. Around 1981-1982, all the studios decided the exploding rental market meant that there never really was (or would be) a viable consumer purchase market for their tapes. Apparently it never occurred to these chuckleheads that pricing them at $59-$79 might have been the issue. Terrified they were giving away the keys to an illusory candy store, and blinded with misplaced rage at (and jealousy of) video rental shops, they banded together in a coordinated effort to re-take complete control over the home video business model in the same way they controlled theatrical.

    Announcements were made along the lines of "we will never again sell a tape to a store or consumer, ownership of all tapes will remain with us and they will only be leased thru stores under a revenue sharing arrangement that vastly favors us, just like we get from theaters". To facilitate this , two new VHS cassettes were designed: one with a secured playback counter, and another that self-erased after a set number of plays. Fox led this movement, in large part as a ploy to convince George Lucas to let them release Star Wars. George agreed, and with that leverage attempted to turn the industry upside down. They were quickly joined by MGM/UA. Warner Bros/Orion, Universal/MCA and Disney.

    Initially they got their way, because stores needed new hits to survive and everybody wanted to offer Star Wars. But the rollout was a huge mess, heavy-handed paper trails and documentation were a nightmare, and smaller dealers refused to migrate to the expensive computer checkout system the studios needed to audit them. When word got out that there was a secret sliding scale and they played favorites with certain dealers, all hell broke loose with the VSDA threatening class actions. Then you had hundreds of thousands of consumers simply stealing/never returning the Star Wars rental tapes (Fox had to reimburse furious dealers). Dealers made their displeasure with the new system known by refusing to lease the 70% of new movies each month that were box office dogs, putting a chokehold on an income stream the studios were already critically dependent on for financing production. Grade B purveyors like Media Home Entertainment flooded stores with cheap horror and T&A flicks, with porn rushing in to fill the other empty shelves of previously-wary store owners.

    The standoff between dealers/consumers and the studio cabal lasted about 14 months before the studios quietly folded their hand and caved (it was either that, or face a permanent 30-50% loss of their former VHS revenue). The lease-only program was slowly phased out (they hated having to give that dream up, let me tell you). Star Wars was made available for consumer purchase at last. The industry returned to business as usual, but in a spiteful move the customary wholesale price for new hits like Porkys, Rocky III, Firefox, Tootsie, etc was jacked up from $59 to $84 (meaning Porky's literally had a retail price of $97 if you were crazy enough to want to own a copy). The only good to come out of all this was the studios belated recognition there would never be a mass market for tape purchasing until they stopped being greedy pigs and worked out a more affordable pricing scheme. This marked the beginning of experiments like $39 for "Star Trek: Wrath Of Khan" and tiered price drops as new movies aged out of peak rental demand.

    The most unexpected fallout: Hollywood's attempted coup of 1981 made porn a much larger part of neighborhood video stores than it ever would have been otherwise, pushing it into the mainstream. You can blame (or thank) Star Wars for Debbie Does Dallas.
    Last edited by orsetto; 18th Jan 2020 at 02:39.
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  28. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Wow again.

    When you visited a rather sizable video store like 2020 Video (don't know if you had those on the Right Coast ?) or Tower Video, I always wondered why the porn section was always so huge ? I mean, after you factored in the possibly obvious explanations, that still did not begin to account for it. But if that was what was actually keeping their business afloat for a long time, it makes perfect sense ! Maybe that relative portion of video store square footage would not play in Alabama (?), but I can recall that in locales like Minneapolis (hey, cold winters, snowbound -- I get it . . . ), that model held.
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  29. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    I shouldn't go off like that.. it will upset people.

    Pioneer BDR-2209 / BDR-209UBK

    The prices for good player/burners is going back up though even for older models, which makes me wonder if they have already been discontinued and someone knows something not public yet.
    A preliminary check suggests that these are still around. BUT, are they truly Pioneer, or just something else rebadged ?
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    I don't know much about Blu-ray burners.

    The Pioneer absolutely cost more, and they support the latest features for Blu-ray technology.. so I don't really think they are rebadged. But they are a "premium" product. They also run quieter, do not vibrate as much and seem to last much longer.

    From what I have seen people don't buy Pioneer Blu-ray "at first" but come to buy them eventually if they keep trying brands.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 18th Jan 2020 at 13:32.
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