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  1. Member
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    I've always owned Panasonics. So I limited my search to that brand, but I have come up empty and I am exhausted from searching.

    I am looking for the following things in a recorder:

    Hard drive that is at least 40GB, 80GB and up would be better.
    The ability to edit those recordings (down to the frame) before burning to disc
    The ability to burn to DL DVD-R
    A digital tuner to record antenna channels. And eventually satellite or cable if possible.
    A unit that I can get used on ebay for $150 (shipping included) or less. Not an absolute must like the other things on my list, but still relatively important.
    A U.S. model. Menus in English. NTSC video, etc

    Does anyone know of such a machine? It seems like as soon as Panasonic added a digital tuner they stupidly got rid of the hard drive. I was thinking maybe another brand had something that would meet my needs. I can't believe there is nothing out there Anybody know of anything. Anybody have a model like the one I just described. Or a I searching for a unicorn?
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  2. Member
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    i think you are looking for a Unicorn, ( Noah left them hiding behind the rocks during the Flood, just ask the Irish Rovers)
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  3. Member
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    good luck finding a new Panasonic dvd recorder in the U.S.
    i think the only manufacture left that makes dvd recorders is FUNAI
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  4. There is nothing completely comparable to a "classic" Panasonic DVD/HDD recorder available with a modern digital tuner for North American frequencies. Panasonic itself never made one: after ATSC replaced analog in USA, they dropped their entire DVD/HDD lineup and limited their offerings to DVD/VHS combos (as did nearly every other brand). Your "$150 used including shipping on eBay" budget is a pipe dream: used DVD/HDD recorders command insane prices due to cultish supply/demand, and with shipping costs averaging $30 or more via USPS or UPS, few sellers are willing to offer free or cut-rate shipping.

    With that understood: the Magnavox models sold thru WalMart (or second hand) are the only ATSC-tuner DVD/HDD units ever marketed in North America. In brief, they're kinda lame compared to a classic Panasonic or Pioneer. The only reason anyone buys them is because they're the only new purchase option possible if you still insist on having a standalone DVD/HDD recorder. Their tuners are bug-ridden, their user interface is from the stone age, timer recording can be a roll of the dice, and their editing system is from hunger. The very latest, most expensive Magnavox models do offer the unique ability to record in true, full High Definition on their hard drives for casual viewing, then downscaling to standard def if you want to burn a DVD, but the DVD features are unbearably crude (no high speed copy, no frame accurate editing, no thumbnail images for the DVD menu, no DL media burning).

    Like it or not, DVD/HDD recorders are dead as a doornail: they were never popular for analog TV in USA, so mfrs decided not to waste time or money trying to sell digital ATSC versions. Only Magnavox ever bothered, and they're uninspiring (fine if you've never owned anything better, severely disappointing if you have). Most people who still bother archiving DVDs or BluRays today make their initial TV recordings with a PC, TiVO, or generic Chinese hard drive recorder like HomeWorx, then use PC authoring/editing software to convert those recordings to disc. Standalone one-box recorders with removable media are obsolete: for better and worse, the consumer market has overwhelmingly rejected them and moved to subscription hard-drive-only recorders (or NetFlix streaming).
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Sep 2016 at 01:06.
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    Originally Posted by dafoe View Post
    I've always owned Panasonics. So I limited my search to that brand, but I have come up empty and I am exhausted from searching.

    I am looking for the following things in a recorder:

    Hard drive that is at least 40GB, 80GB and up would be better.
    The ability to edit those recordings (down to the frame) before burning to disc
    The ability to burn to DL DVD-R
    A digital tuner to record antenna channels. And eventually satellite or cable if possible.
    A unit that I can get used on ebay for $150 (shipping included) or less. Not an absolute must like the other things on my list, but still relatively important.
    A U.S. model. Menus in English. NTSC video, etc

    Does anyone know of such a machine? It seems like as soon as Panasonic added a digital tuner they stupidly got rid of the hard drive. I was thinking maybe another brand had something that would meet my needs. I can't believe there is nothing out there Anybody know of anything. Anybody have a model like the one I just described. Or a I searching for a unicorn?
    You are looking for a unicorn. The product that you want never existed in the past, and won't exist in the future for the reasons already given.

    For what it is worth I never had an HDD DVD recorder before owning a Magnavox so I have no basis for comparison with other HDD recorders. I bought a Magnavox HDD DVD recorder in 2012 after previously owning an analog-only, DVD-only Panasonic DVD recorder since 2005. The Magnavox is different from the Panasonic, but still an OK replacement for basic recording. The current models have 500GB or larger HDDs, but you will need to pay almost $300 for the least expensive current model Magnavox

    I've never had a problem with the tuner for OTA TV, but some people have reported problems when sub-channels are not sequential. At one time I used it for recording local channels from digital cable but my cable provider like some others encrypted all channels three years ago. The Magnavox worked adequately for recording from my cable box's SD connections.

    I have always edited and re-authored my recordings on a PC so I don't miss having advanced video editing features on the recorder. If you really want a DVD recorder and can adapt to doing things differently, maybe a Magnavox recorder will be good enough.
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  6. Member
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    Myself. I use a HomeWorx PVR, with an external USB 2TB HHD for OTA HD recording
    I edit out the commercials etc on the PC using videoRedo, Some i just save as MP4 for playback on the PC or media player
    some SERIES i create DVDs using AVStoDVD
    the HomeWorx is programmable for timed recordings
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  7. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I've never had a problem with the tuner for OTA TV, but some people have reported problems when sub-channels are not sequential.
    The OTA sub-channel issue is the most widely reported (and still unfixed after 8 years) Magnavox tuner bug. If this was the only bug, it would be disappointing yet tolerable. Unfortunately there is a second, much more annoying bug that afflicts these units: they are not fully compatible with a common digital broadcasting hack. Many network affiliates in major cities employ a convoluted "frequency masking" technique in which the actual broadcast frequency is not directly tuned: instead, a more convenient "proxy channel" appears as the tuned channel on a TV or recorder tuner, which then references the actual frequency in a hidden manner transparent to the viewer. The vast majority of digital tuners built into North American televisions handle this masking trick perfectly, with no apparent problems. But recorders with ATSC tuners seem to choke on this hack, to varying degrees of severity, with the Funai/Magnavox design being the most dysfunctional. The Magnavox tuner gets very confused by certain combinations of proxy frequency/actual frequency. The symptoms vary depending on the specific channel: sometimes the Magnavox handles the conflicting frequencies adeptly, sometimes it will handle it for active viewing but not timer recording, and sometimes it refuses to recognize the primary network channel number at all, instead defaulting to the next available sub-channel.

    At least one of the five major broadcast networks in nearly every large city uses this masking trick, and if it happens to be with a frequency pairing the Magnavox gags on, it usually means you won't be able to timer record that channel's primary 16:9 stereo feed. You will end up with a recording of dead air, or it will roll over to the standard def 4:3 letterboxed backup sub-channel, or it will record some other altogether random channel. Whether or not this is a dealbreaker depends on whether you have any interest in timer-recording the programs shown on the problematic channel.

    If one is willing to gamble that they won't be bothered by this defect, and has a limited budget, I'd recommend looking for the earlier Magnavox models H2160A or MDR-513 on eBay. Now and then, you can snag a used one in good condition for under $200 shipped. They have 160GB hard drives but are otherwise functionally (and cosmetically) identical to the more expensive, more recent versions. The Magnavox is clunky compared to an analog-tuner Panasonic, but decently reliable, and the older models retain familiar Panasonic features like high-speed lossless dubbing and thumbnail pics for dvd menus. The more recent the Magnavox model, the more dumbed-down and stripped the interface gets: basically you sacrifice dvd authoring features for a larger hard drive and/or high def recording ability. The tuner glitches persist across the lineup from 2007 thru 2016.
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Sep 2016 at 01:09.
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    Not everyone is affected the tuner bugs you are complaining about. I never experienced either of them, and there is just one channel here where the real and proxy channels match. As it happens I mostly record that one now, but before I bought a digital cable tuner 3 tuners) for my PC, I recorded more OTA channels with the DVD recorder.

    If dafoe wants to find out his chances of being affected by either tuner bug, he should go to the official Magnavox DVD recorder thread avsforums.com and ask if someone in his location is likely to have these problems.

    I have the MDR-513, which has a 320GB HDD not a 160GB HDD.
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  9. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I have the MDR-513, which has a 320GB HDD not a 160GB HDD.
    Yes, thanks for the correction: the MDR-513 HDD is 320GB, not 160GB like the H2160A.. When I had both the 513 and H2160A in my rack, I had trouble telling them apart, even with the larger HDD in the 513 (which I never filled to capacity). 160GB is plenty, 320GB should be more than enough for most purposes. There is no text view option in the Magnavox HDD navigation interface, you have to laboriously page thru sets of thumbnails, so a humongous hard drive (like the later 500GB and 1Tb models) can be more of a chore than a blessing.

    If dafoe wants to find out his chances of being affected by either tuner bug, he should go to the official Magnavox DVD recorder thread avsforums.com and ask if someone in his location is likely to have these problems.
    Ugh. I don't know that I'd send innocently curious folk into that dense morass of a thread without a guide dog, a compass and some holy water. Truly valuable info crucial to any Magnavox user can be found in that thread, but it is flooded with repetitive inane posts and the biggest motherlode of fanboy wanking ever seen on any website (it makes the DC vs Marvel comic nerd threads look sedate and sane).

    Pointless pro and con arguments in that thread have dragged on for years with no one proving anything except that each potential Magnavox owner needs to just buy the damned thing and see for themselves whether it will suit their purposes (and local off-air or cable channels). The variability reports from unit to unit and owner to owner can make your head spin clear off your shoulders. The unit will either work absolutely perfectly for you, or you'll have some small or significant problem with it. I'd steer clear of that monster thread unless or until you have a specific problem you need help with. At the very least, avoid just plowing in to the latest posts. Go to the first post in the thread, which contains an index of links to the most common questions and issues. They don't always work, and the info isn't always 100% helpful or accurate, but its as close as you can get to intelligible discussion on that thread.

    The Magnavox DVD/HDD recorders have a rabid cult following, same as the Panasonics. Don't overpay: anything more than $225 for a used MDR-513 is too much. Stay within that price range, and you can always resell a Magnavox on eBay with little financial loss if you don't like it.
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Sep 2016 at 15:32.
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  10. Member
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    Originally Posted by dafoe View Post
    I've always owned Panasonics. So I limited my search to that brand, but I have come up empty and I am exhausted from searching.

    I am looking for the following things in a recorder:

    Hard drive that is at least 40GB, 80GB and up would be better.
    No problem, any HDD DVDR will have that.
    Originally Posted by dafoe View Post
    The ability to edit those recordings (down to the frame) before burning to disc
    This eliminates the Magnavox DVDRs, your only choice for most of what you want later.
    Originally Posted by dafoe View Post
    The ability to burn to DL DVD-R
    This also eliminates the Magnavox HDD DVDRs.
    Originally Posted by dafoe View Post
    A digital tuner to record antenna channels. And eventually satellite or cable if possible.
    Your only choice is a Magnavox but it lacks most everything else you want. AFA recording from sat or cable, line input is your only choice and every DVDR has that.
    Originally Posted by dafoe View Post
    A unit that I can get used on ebay for $150 (shipping included) or less. Not an absolute must like the other things on my list, but still relatively important.
    Not going to happen, Panasonic DVDRs are $400 and up used, you might be able to find a Magnavox in the $200-300 range but they are dwindling fast.
    Originally Posted by dafoe View Post
    A U.S. model. Menus in English. NTSC video, etc
    No problem with any US or international model.

    Originally Posted by dafoe View Post
    Does anyone know of such a machine? It seems like as soon as Panasonic added a digital tuner they stupidly got rid of the hard drive. I was thinking maybe another brand had something that would meet my needs. I can't believe there is nothing out there Anybody know of anything. Anybody have a model like the one I just described. Or a I searching for a unicorn?
    No, and to your last question, yes, what you want was never made nor will ever be made.
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  11. Member
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    Actually, there are a ton of Panasonic DVDRs on Ebay for $80-$150. Thanks for all the replies, guys. I was really excited about the Wondershare PVR. I had no idea it existed. But the incredibly mixed review on amazon scared me away.

    I'm not hellbent on getting a DVD recorder. I just figured it was my only option. I actually despise physical media. I put everything on HDDs many years ago. I just thought it would be nice to be able to burn a disc occasionally for other people. I have a few hundred DVD-Rs that my old DVD recorder wont finalize and a few hundred VHS tapes I want to move to a hard drive. I guess I could use a ISO Buster for the unfinalized discs and a capture card for everything else. I just don't trust PC to be reliable enough for DVR purposes. Nor do I care for the thought of leaving one on 24/7.
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    I've never heard of Wondershare PVR, but I wouldn't recommend any software with Wondershare's name on it.

    You might look at the iView 3500STBII and Mediasonic HW-150PVR if you don't want to use a PC. The Channel Master DVR+with two tuners is also worth a look if you prefer a deluxe model with a better program guide and 2 tuners. I almost forgot about Tablo, which unlike TiVo works for timer-based recording if owners don't want to pay for program guide service.

    I have been recording OTA TV with a PC for about 6 years now. The current ATSC tuners from Hauppauge and Silicondust are very good. With a good tuner, the main reasons for failed recordings have been user error and severe weather. The PC, OS, or software has very rarely been at fault. I don't leave the PC on 24/7, but I have to remember to turn it on. That is where most of the user error comes in.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 15th Sep 2016 at 13:12. Reason: clarity
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