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  1. Member Novice20's Avatar
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    My Magnavox MDR513H is starting to get occasional write errors (Err 22) writing to the HDD. It is not recovering from them and is just stopping writing. I expect that the Recorder must be replaced. I found on the Magnavox website that the current models are MDR865, 867 and 868. The only difference among them appears to be the size of the HDD. I would be most appreciative of any recommendations for a good unit among these current models. Or among older models, still available, that are better than the new ones.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Novice20; 10th Oct 2016 at 15:33.
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  2. Member Novice20's Avatar
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    I've done more digging about the new models and some things are not clear. The 867/868 seem to allow for USB flash drive output. But what does that buy me? To get this onto my PC, I expect I can't just move the file to the flash drive and then to the pc without going through a conversion to a PC format (e.g. MP4), which requires software such as WinX DVD Ripper. And that requires a DVD as input.

    How reliable are these new models? That's the critical question. And are there any functions that were available in the earlier models (513, 537) that are not available.

    Thank you again for your advice.
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    i believe it's referring to if your TV/ other device can play video files from a USB flash drive.
    see if there's a online instruction manual to see what file formats the recorder outputs to USB flash drives.
    Last edited by october262; 10th Oct 2016 at 17:48.
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  4. Originally Posted by Novice20 View Post
    I've done more digging about the new models and some things are not clear. The 867/868 seem to allow for USB flash drive output. But what does that buy me? To get this onto my PC, I expect I can't just move the file to the flash drive and then to the pc without going through a conversion to a PC format (e.g. MP4), which requires software such as WinX DVD Ripper. And that requires a DVD as input.
    The "USB Output" feature is one of those crippled niche gimmicks that perhaps 1 in 1000 buyers would ever actually use and do cartwheels over: it is too restrictive for anybody else. All it really gets you is infinitely expandable storage for recordings. Back in the days when recorders had smallish internal HDDs, a few geeks used to cream their jeans over the idea of plugging in external drives to increase recording capacity. But today, with the top Magnavox having a 2 TB drive built-in, the lure of additional external storage isn't as strong. The drawback of this "feature" is its implementation: just like with TiVO and DiSH and DirecTV, each external drive gets locked to the specific recorder, and ONLY that recorder can record or play from those drives. If the recorder dies, you lose ability to view the recordings. Videos are encrypted exactly as they are on the internal HDD: they aren't standard files readable by a PC. You can certainly geek out, and scrape the files off with a salvage utility, but it isn't a simple process. For all intents and purposes, transfer of Magnavox videos in 2016 remains as it was in 2008: burn a DVD and then rip it to your PC.

    How reliable are these new models? That's the critical question. And are there any functions that were available in the earlier models (513, 537) that are not available.
    Reliability of Magnavox recorders has declined with each new generation. The H2160 was better than the 513/515, which were still decent. After the 515, Magnavox reliability went over Niagara Falls in a leaky barrel. Current models are glitchy at best, a mess at worst. So no, I would not be in a rush to trade in my trusty 513: just buy a new internal SATA HDD for it, replace the old failing one, and you should be fine again.

    Functionality of the new models is compromised compared to your 513. Editing is slower because there is no longer a dedicated "Erase Section" mode: instead, you need to create chapters around material you want to delete, then delete the chapters (this is a throwback to the way recorders operated in 2004: workable, but unnecessarily clumsy). High speed dubbing from HDD to DVD is gone: all dvds must be burned in real time. Thumbnail pics for the menu screen of finalized dvds are gone (menus are text-only, again a throwback to 2004). The tuners no longer handle analog cable frequencies: all channels are digital QAM or ATSC.

    The only reason to replace your 513 with a newer Magnavox is if you want to timeshift (record-watch-erase) in true high definition (HDTV) picture quality. The new models can record HDTV on their hard drives, your 513 cannot. However, the new models cannot offload their recordings while retaining HDTV quality. As noted above, the USB connection for external drives is code locked to the recorder. And DVDs are burned in real time, as the unit laboriously downconverts the HDTV hard drive videos into standard def DVD format.

    Aside from the internal-only HDTV recording, the two top models add the ability to record from two different channels simultaneously (because they have multiple tuners). They add a useful "Combine" feature that lets you compile one single video title from several individual recordings. And you can choose between three remote code-sets, which allows up to 3 Magnavox recorders in the same room without remote control interference between them.

    The answer to the Magnavox question remains the same year after year: "it is what it is" - a unique box of compromises. If those compromises suit you this year, it is a nice device, if they rub you the wrong way, it will bitterly disappoint. The combination of true HDTV recording with built-in ability to burn dvds at reduced SDTV quality is unavailable from any other single device.
    Last edited by orsetto; 10th Oct 2016 at 20:16.
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  5. Member
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    Originally Posted by Novice20 View Post
    My Magnavox MDR513H is starting to get occasional write errors (Err 22) writing to the HDD. It is not recovering from them and is just stopping writing. I expect that the Recorder must be replaced. I found on the Magnavox website that the current models are MDR865, 867 and 868. The only difference among them appears to be the size of the HDD. I would be most appreciative of any recommendations for a good unit among these current models. Or among older models, still available, that are better than the new ones.

    Thank you.
    If you want a way to easily transfer recordings to DVD, a Magnavox DVD recorder is probably your only choice. Try replacing the MDR513's HDD as suggested.

    If you are recording over-the-air TV rather than video out from a cable box or satellite receiver, there are a few other options for stand-alone video recorders which would allow recording to an external hard drive (provided by you), and transferring the files to your PC. Two of them cost under $50. The recordings contain the same audio and video as the original broadcast stream in their original resolution. Would that interest you?

    Note that the recordings will contain some errors that most video editors don't handle correctly. You will need VideoReDo TV Suite 5 or Cypheros TS Doctor to edit these recordings.
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  6. i've also used older magnavox models for the last several years, with no real issues. what i've read so far suggests that your best & only bet would be to find an older model, nothing in the 800 series. it would be used, which is a risk, but if it works, it would be better than the new models if your primary use is making dvds. i've seen what appear to be decent older models on ebay for a wide variation in price, but some under $200. this probably won't last long. i've also seen a ton of the new 800 models for sale. since they are pretty new, this suggests that they are not highly regarded, except for those looking for a cheap tivo. the fact is, what we do is very much last century & the tools we like will not be available at all soon enough.
    and, by "what appear to be decent older models" i mean that the photos (more than one) include the remote, patch cord, user manual and original box. to me, this suggests someone with a sufficient degree of anal compulsion to not abuse equipment.
    Last edited by majormulatto; 12th Oct 2016 at 12:52.
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  7. Member Novice20's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for your advice. I now understand that I do not want to get one of the awful new models. There are Funai referb 557s available on Amazon. The idea of replacing the HDD on the 513 would make sense if I knew what I was doing to swap it out.
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  8. Originally Posted by Novice20 View Post
    I now understand that I do not want to get one of the awful new models. There are Funai referb 557s available on Amazon. The idea of replacing the HDD on the 513 would make sense if I knew what I was doing to swap it out.
    You don't need to blow a small fortune on a refurb 557, which doesn't have the greatest reliability reputation itself. Your 513 was distinctly better-made: the fact that your hard drive failed was a random incident that just happens once in a while to random devices (recorders, PCs, etc).

    Replacing the HDD in your 513 is fairly simple and much cheaper than buying a whole new recorder. A 500GB SATA HDD made for PVRs costs as little as $29 on Amazon (see example here). To replace the bad HDD with a new one, disconnect the recorder from your TV, unplug the unit from AC outlet, and let it sit for an hour. Then:

    Remove the top cover from the unit.

    Unplug the power and data SATA cables from the existing HDD.

    Unscrew the bracket (if any) mounting the HDD to the chassis.

    Remove the drive and any attached bracket from the recorder.

    Unscrew the old drive from the bracket, and set it aside.

    Screw the new drive onto the bracket.

    Screw the bracket-mounted HDD back into the recorder chassis.

    Plug the data and power cables back into the new HDD.

    Replace the top cover, plug the recorder back into AC outlet and reconnect to your TV.

    Turn the power on, and the new HDD should trigger some sort of on-screen alert regarding "the filesystem being missing". That just means the HDD needs to be formatted. You do this by aiming the remote control at the unit and pressing the V.Skip, 0, 7 and 9 buttons in quick sequence (one after the other). That should result in a HDD Check display: when you see that, wait a moment, then press the remote's OK button to erase/format the HDD. Exit the HDD Check screen by turning the unit off.

    When you turn it back on, if it still complains about the filesystem, that means it wants you to record something so it can finish formatting the drive. Just tune to a good channel with a steady picture, and hit the record button. Let it run for 5 minutes, then stop the recording. The new hard drive should now be fully operational. You can erase the test recording after your next "real" recording of a show, movie, etc.

    (Note the recorder is completely reset during this process: you will need to set the clock and reprogram any timer settings you had previously, as well as re-scanning the tuner for available channels.)
    Last edited by orsetto; 13th Oct 2016 at 19:22.
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