My old Phillips had a feature called "Flex Time" where it'd record at the optimal quality based on the amount of time I was trying to put on the disc.
Is this a feature that's only on their brand of recorders or are there other recorders, with considerable hard drive space, that also include this feature?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Any Panasonic has that feature, the international EH-59 and EH-69 have a 250 and 320 GB HDD respectively, they only work for line input NTSC recordings as the tuner is PAL.
Pioneer and older Toshibas also had a similar flex feature but it used a system called MN where you would specify the bitrate, it was more like a LOT of recording speeds instead of specifying recording time like on Panasonics. Both Pioneers and Toshibas haven't been made in more than 5 years and the Toshibas were known to have short lived burners.
Do you think it'd be possible to put a new hard drive in there that's larger? Like, the one I have been eyeing is a Magnavox that has a 1TB drive. It however doesn't have the flex time feature, but having that much space is very attractive.
Ah, that kinda sucks. Wondering if I should look into perhaps ditching a standalone DVD recorder and just capturing to my computer instead?
Windows Media Center plus appropriate TV cards to capture both the analog output from a cable box and over-the-air digital broadcast streams received via antenna.
The Panasonic XW390 is a more modern model that offers more HD space (500GB). I have one and, apart from some niggles with the user interface, it's a good model. If you really need a whole TB, there is a Panasonic blu-ray recorder (DMR-BWT835) that offers this - and is quite reasonably priced at $888 (roughly $US 640) retail. Both of these offer flexible recording.
Not sure how readily available they are in the US though - you might have to do a direct import.
The PC route would be the easiest and most versatile but something like the Panasonic BWT735 might be your ticket??
I've never read of anyone importing one of these but I did check into it and was able to put it in my cart with a US price of a little under $600(UK price of $389 free shipping to the UK).
It has a 1TB HDD, can burn to DVD or BD but only in SD using the line inputs(only input that would be available for US use, the tuner is PAL only).
Again I've not read of anyone purchasing one of these out of a PAL country but according to things I've read(including the 240 post review) it will record and play in NTSC(60hz). People are guessing it will work on 120v 60hz as many such devices are multi voltage but power converters are available for ~$20.
I have a EH-59 and have never came close to filling it up, the EH-69 has a even larger HDD but nothing like a 1TB drive and yes others are correct, Panasonics have traditionally allowed one to format a replacement drive only the same size or smaller than the original, the largest US Panasonic HDD DVDR was the '04 E500H which used a 400GB HDD and is getting very old now.
I'd suggest the PC route or maybe look into the 745?? If you get a 745 please let others know how it worked, lots of questions with that model.
Last edited by jjeff; 30th Sep 2013 at 06:27.
The import-model Panasonic EH59 with 250GB is spacious, while the EH69 with 320GB should cover the needs of almost anyone. 250GB holds 53 hours worth of video in the max-quality XP mode and 106 hours in standard (two hours per dvd) SP mode. The 320GB model will bump that to 70 and 140 hours, respectively. But even with the far better Panasonic interface, that really is pushing the limits of usable capacity in a remote-operated recorder (without a keyboard, mouse and true file system). Bear in mind DVD/HDD recorders sometimes crash, and file recovery is tedious to the point of impossible when that happens. The European Panasonics discussed above have huge HDDs primarily because they create larger video files to begin with (via their built-in Hi Def tuners and BluRay authoring). A few of the similar Panasonic DVD models also have the larger drives because they can record true Hi Def on their HDD even though they can't burn BluRays.
The Euro market has some interesting gear that never saw the light of day here, but all of it is completely dependent on internal PAL HDTV broadcast and satellite tuners that are useless in USA/Canada. As jjeff noted, these models can only record NTSC via standard-def line input. I don't see any advantage in jumping thru hoops to import such a unit unless you have money to spare or get a thrill from burning standard-def TV on BluRay. The easily-purchased EH59 or EH69 are a much better value for North Americans.
Last edited by orsetto; 30th Sep 2013 at 16:27.
I think maybe going the PC route then might be more cost effective? I'm pretty good with editing software, etc. when editing home videos I've shot on my HD camcorder, so I shouldn't have too much problem?
I have a pretty high end laptop, so I'd probably want an external thingy? Any suggestions? I notice that in the capturing section there isn't like a sticky of an overview of this type of hardware like there are for other things (VCRs, for example.)
So what are you interested in doing? Timer-based recording, guide based recording or manual recordings? What is it that you want to record? Over-the-air TV via an antenna, high-definition analog output from a cable/satellite box, standard-definition analog output from a cable/satellite box, analog cable, etc.
Mostly just converting old VHS tapes to DVD and uploading to YouTube. But I'm very particular about quality, which is why it's important to get as much onto a disc as possible, at as high quality s possible.
Oh boy, I haven't updated that stuff in a LONG time. Lemme update it real quick ha ha. I am using a Windows laptop.
Now that I know where we stand... My recommendation will be based on doing manual captures exclusively. If you are serious about "best quality", you will be capturing to a lossless format, which makes correctiing common defects easier (if necessary), then editng and afterwards converting for DVD compatibility using a good MPEG-2 encoder. ...and maybe a H.264 or VP8/WebM encoder for YouTube. If your DVD recorder isn't completely dead, connect it between the VCR and the capture device to use as a pass through for video and audio, instead of using it to record. It can provide a substitute for a line TBC.
The Hauppauge USB-Live 2 is one of the better current external capture devices for capturing VHS. It comes with capture software and is reported to be compatible with a variety of different capture software, both free and paid. https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/345028-Hauppauge-USB-live-2-capturing-with-virtuald...b-and-lagarith
Purchased. Thank you
USUALLY_Q, have you compared end-recording products from USB to, say, the Hauppauge TV cards (1600s, 2200s)? I only use the internal cards and eschewed the USBs because of the supposedly 'onboard processing oomph' that hardware-encoders offered. The argument in the era of multi-core CPUs is that they can handle the encoding "just fine".
I've never been patient enough to do side-by-side comparisons but I've watched DVDs recorded with Hauppauge USBs that seemed 'just as good' so...
I was wondering - have YOU been patient enough to do a side-by-side analysis?
And to FROM...
The after-recording editing and file-conversions is one issue some TV-recording pals use to stay on DVR-Recorder units, but an equal number of those that switched ended up supporting the Computer-based Video-Recorder and it's longer file-conversion steps because they were then confident of doing other video-file edits, too.
I'll check back and see if you have later reviews on this process.
My main interest is recording TV using PVR software, not VHS conversion. With my current system I have found that devices that do hardware-based MPEG-2 encoding and real-time MPEG-2 software encoding both did an acceptable job with a nice clean source like the output from a cable box. Could I do better capturing with a lossless codec? Probably, but I don't want to put the time and effort into doing that for recording TV shows.
...but VHS is not a nice clean source. The members of this forums who use SD capture devices that encode using software for capturing VHS are doing it to get the best quality possible. They want to be able to capture using a lossless format instead of MPEG-2 so they can correct various defects in the captured VHS, and edit without loosing quality from re-encoding multiple times. ...and when it comes time to convert to an end format like DVD, the results from a good software MPEG-2 encoder like HCenc that does two-pass encoding is superior to those from either hardware MPEG-2 encoders or single-pass real-time software MPEG-2 encoders.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 4th Oct 2013 at 10:23.
UsuallyQ, yours and mine are the same goal. Thanks for the additional good comments.
I've done a few VHS transfers as there are still dozens of commercial tapes that never had commercial DVD releases (IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS, TEENAGE WEREWOLF/FRANKENSTEIN, and others, all of which are, well, let's just say Ed Wood would have been pleased to have put HIS name on those - ha ha).
The quality is enough to watch on DVD, and preserve the tapes from never being gobbled in pinch-rollers, but that's about it.