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  1. I have made some recordings on this dvd recorder to the hdd, they look great! very big file sizes and highest possible quality setting. I am looking to transfer them off the hdd while preserving the quality as best I can. what is the best way to do this? could I for example create data dvds with those original captured files that are on the hdd? then look for a way to copy them off the dvd and put onto the pc? I looked through the manual but couldn't find what I needed on that.

    I was looking to use RW discs as I would be performing this method regularly if I can get great results. any tips on the best re-recordable dvds to use and optimal settings? is there any software which is essential when trying to get the best quality?
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  2. Welcome to the forum.

    I don’t know the answer to your question, but I’m sure that someone does.
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    Originally Posted by FD2020 View Post
    I have made some recordings on this dvd recorder to the hdd, they look great! very big file sizes and highest possible quality setting. I am looking to transfer them off the hdd while preserving the quality as best I can. what is the best way to do this? could I for example create data dvds with those original captured files that are on the hdd? then look for a way to copy them off the dvd and put onto the pc? I looked through the manual but couldn't find what I needed on that.

    I was looking to use RW discs as I would be performing this method regularly if I can get great results. any tips on the best re-recordable dvds to use and optimal settings? is there any software which is essential when trying to get the best quality?
    ISOBuster can recover recordings from hard drives from some DVD recorders. You might ask them if their software works for your model.

    If not, you will have to use the DVD recorder itself to dub from the hard drive to DVD to get recordings. There is software available to convert VOBs on DVD to mpg files (DVDVob2Mpg) or mkv files (MakeMKV) without re-encoding.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  4. I'm an enthusiast and frequent user of these Sony/Pioneer DVD/HDD recorder units, however…

    If your primary goal is "huge video files of high quality" they are the wrong choice. Their reason for existence was/is to make dvd-player-compliant OPTICAL DISCS, not "files". Even if you scrape the "files" off the HDD, their utility is somewhat limited. The file size is gigantic given the cap on possible quality, the video is interlaced (creating headaches for many uses), and ability to post-process and tweak the files is severely limited. Even on their HDDs, these recorders employ the now-obsolete and horribly inefficient DVD video format, which is outdated and inflexible even compared to "older' PC formats like h264 or x264 MP4 or MKV. Decent video quality from these recorders results in minimum 2GB per hour size, far beyond what many portable playback devices (phones, tablets) are optimized to handle. Converting these huge recorder-native interlaced MPEG2 files to smaller, more flexible MP4 or MKV files often requires a heavy penalty in quality degradation.

    OTOH, these recorders remain popular for digitizing VHS tapes. While it is possible to get noticeably higher video quality with a PC-based capture system, its a lot of work and not as simple. These recorders were deliberately designed with VHS input in mind: it was assumed many people would use them to make DVDs from their old tapes. While to this day, most PC capture devices are inexplicably designed NOT to cope with VHS at all, unless one connects $1200 worth of external signal correction hardware between VCR and PC. So, if one has a huge personal collection of VHS and wants the digitizing project to be finished before they retire, the Sony/Pioneer recorders can be an excellent alternative.

    IF, that is, you can be happy with standard DVD optical discs as the digital end product. There are ways to extract standard MPEG2 files from the discs or directly off the HDD, but again this isn't really a good workflow because the "files" are just ridiculously large, clumsy, and unworkable. The size vs quality level ratio is too extreme, but of course some of us do find the compromise acceptable for our purposes. There are two primary methods of transferring the video "files" from a Sony/Pioneer recorder to your PC:

    The most common and traditional is to simply use the unit in the manner for which it was designed: burn finalized DVDs, then rip (copy) the dvd contents to your PC. Once on the PC, you can use a utility like VOB2MPG to quickly repackage the conglomerate disc video structure as individual, standard MPEG2 files. If you use DVD-RW, the discs can be erased and reused many times as "carriers" between recorder and PC. Note if you have been using the recorders maxed-out premium ("highest") recording speed of "HQ+", those recordings CANNOT be copied from HDD to DVD or DVD-RW: they are in violation of the DVD player specification, so the recorder disallows making discs and HQ+ recordings remain trapped on the HDD.

    A newer method is more direct but entails some risk of data loss or damage to your recorder if you are not a "geek" and very careful. The long-popular optical disc salvage utility ISObuster has recently added the capability to read the HDD structure of many models of DVD/HDD recorder, and can copy the contents to a PC directly as MPEG2 files. This is the ONLY method which allows copying "HQ+" recordings in full quality from the recorder HDD to your PC. The "gotcha" is doing so requires you remove the HDD from your Sony recorder, and either install it inside a desktop PC as a second internal HDD or connect it via an external USB adapter case. Generally speaking this is not as risky with the Sony recorders as some other brands, because Sony was a bit less fussy about the recorder triggering internal poison pills when its HDD is removed and replaced. But there is always some risk of a mishap or the recorder choosing not to recognize the re-installed HDD, so its best not to use the ISObuster approach until you're ready to copy the entire HDD contents.

    Enthusiasts of the second approach have had success with workarounds like creating an external docking station for the recorder HDD, and/or converting the recorder to use a compact flash or SD memory card reader instead of mechanical HDD. Detailed discussion of this can be found in thread topics here on VH, at AVSforum, and at DigitalFAQ. Search for posts and threads by "jwillis", who has worked closely with the developer of ISObuster to implement the recorder HDD option. The Sony/Pioneer recorders were among the first confirmed to be compatible for ISObuster HDD extraction, so this method definitely does work for your RDR-HX870.
    Last edited by orsetto; 5th Nov 2020 at 12:18.
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  5. Geeze, I knew it could be complicated.. I wish I knew all that kind of stuff!!...
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    I'm not sure what Orsetto was on when he wrote that but here's my experience of 10 minutes ago:

    ISOBuster = Fantastic!

    I had (my Dad actually) had a Pioneer DV-645H DVD/hard disk recorder which eventually had all sorts of errors with recordings freezing and being corrupted. We gave up on it a couple of years ago with a few movies still on the HDD. I read this thread and the one on DigitalFAQ, took the lid off the DVR-645, pulled the HDD out, which was IDE, bought a Simplecom IDE to USB adapter and ISOBuster and I got the movies off with a few clicks; the movies on the HDD show up as MPEGs which I just copied off to another drive. Windows would not "see" the drive, except in Disk Management, and the data was inaccessible to Windows.

    IDE Drive to USB 3 connector:

    https://www.arrowcomputers.com.au/shop/product/simplecom-sa491-3-in-1-usb-3-0-to-2-5-3...r-supply-10739

    Buy it! It works! :congrats:
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  7. Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I'm not sure what Orsetto was on when he wrote that
    What are YOU on about? Where did I say ISObuster wouldn't work? I've been recommending it as an option here ever since jwillis first brought the new feature to my attention at AVSforum a couple years ago. But like any "off book" use of electronics in a way they were never intended to accommodate, it isn't for total newbs who expect a tidy "consumer" experience. Salvaging a few movies from a recorder thats otherwise dead and useless as a one-time task is an altogether different concept from wanting to transfer the recordings off a working recorder to your PC on a regular basis. With the former, you've got nothing to lose, with the latter, you'd knida like to keep the recorder and its HDD in functional condition long term.

    So I always add the perfectly normal caveat that it isn't as cut and dried as burning a disc: these recorders weren't exactly designed for you to pop the HDD in and out at whim as if it were a Zip cartridge. No more or less than pulling an internal HDD in and out of a desktop PC with frequency: you can certainly do it, but there's a bit more risk than simply burning a dvd with the recorder. The Sony and Pioneer machines have absolutely been known to hiccup occasionally when removing/replacing their HDD: it may only happen 1 out of 30 times, but if that 30th time hits you at the wrong moment it can be damned inconvenient. Since 2005 I've owned more models of these recorders than I can count, and serviced twice as many as I've owned: trust me when I say s*** happens.

    The models with EIDE drives are less prone to hiccups than the SATA models. OTOH, sourcing nice low-miles replacement EIDE HDDs for the older models is getting less easy than it once was, so you do want to be careful when handling them. Popping the HDD in and out of the recorder every day to scrape a single video off it with ISObuster is probably less advisable than waiting until you've got several videos accumulated to transfer all at once.

    The SATA connections on the motherboard were a weak spot in the Sony/Pioneer SATA models that can cause issues in units sitting quietly on a shelf in ordinary use, never mind units where you're yanking on the connection every couple days to play games with ISObuster. If you plan on extensively using the ISObuster workflow with a SATA version Sony or Pioneer, consider modding the recorder with an external HDD connection or SD memory card adapter for enhanced swapping reliability.

    As far as my remarks on the practicality of recorder MPEG2 files, of course thats subjective to the individual and their intended use of the files. For myself, its a necessary evil: recorder MPEG2 is a PITA in many ways but I tolerate it because I'd rather avoid the tedious PC capture workflow whenever possible. PC based recording typically results in easier, smaller and better quality MP4/MKV final product, converting recorder-harvested MPEG2 files to (smaller) MP4/MKV sizes often results in disappointing quality. One of those YMMV things: I've learned to live with the original, huge MPEG2 files as-is or repackaged to equally huge MKV files via MakeMKV.
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Nov 2020 at 01:47.
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  8. I wish I knew half as much as you!
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  9. I'm familiar with some Sony recorders (715, 900) and when I saw that you stated that your recordings are at the highest setting, I went and searched your manual as the highest setting is "HQ+" and like the 715 and 900, those recordings, at the "HQ+" setting, cannot be transferred (dubbed) to disc.
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    Originally Posted by CrazyCanuck View Post
    I'm familiar with some Sony recorders (715, 900) and when I saw that you stated that your recordings are at the highest setting, I went and searched your manual as the highest setting is "HQ+" and like the 715 and 900, those recordings, at the "HQ+" setting, cannot be transferred (dubbed) to disc.
    The manual definitely says it isn't possible to dub HQ+ recordings on the HDD to DVD using the HDD/DVD DUB button. ...but can they be dubbed from the HDD to DVD using the "dub list" option in real-time using the HQ setting to re-encode them for DVD compatibility?
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    Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    I'm not sure what Orsetto was on when he wrote that
    I suggested in my post that FD2020 should check with the publisher of ISOBuster to find out if the RDR-HXD870 is supported by their software. I made that suggestion because although that specific model isn't on ISOBuster's list of supported machines, the fact that other Sony HDD DVD recorders are supported meant there was some chance it still might work.
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  12. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    The manual definitely says it isn't possible to dub HQ+ recordings on the HDD to DVD using the HDD/DVD DUB button. ...but can they be dubbed from the HDD to DVD using the "dub list" option in real-time using the HQ setting to re-encode them for DVD compatibility?
    Yes, but the penalty of hardwired re-encoding makes this undesirable. These recorders employ brute force re-encoding algorithms that tend to make in-unit downres conversions look unappealing. When ISObuster developed ability to auto-magically transfer videos from recorder HDD to PC, HQ+ became a lot more versatile.

    The Sony RDR-HX870 is among the later models mfd in cooperation with Pioneer circa 2008, so ISObuster should be able to read its HDD easily. The Sony RDR-HXx70, RDR-HXx80 and RDR-HXx90 all share similar internal designs akin to the Pioneer DVR-x40,x50 and x60 series. The only slight discrepancies involve certain HDD service/install routines, the Sony's lack of DVD-RAM burning capability, Sony's less consistent choice of video encoder chip for each model, and variations in tuner/EPG from country to country and year to year. The HDD file system and editing interface remained essentially identical across all Sony and Pioneer recorders from 2006-2010. Somewhere around 2010, Sony ran out of "Pioneer parts" (as Pioneer had earlier exited the recorder business), so the very last series of EU Sony DVD/HDD recorders were rebadged Samsung designs (these weren't on the market very long, were far less popular than earlier Sonys, and might not be readable with ISObuster).
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Nov 2020 at 11:12.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    The manual definitely says it isn't possible to dub HQ+ recordings on the HDD to DVD using the HDD/DVD DUB button. ...but can they be dubbed from the HDD to DVD using the "dub list" option in real-time using the HQ setting to re-encode them for DVD compatibility?
    Yes, but the penalty of hardwired re-encoding makes this undesirable. These recorders employ brute force re-encoding algorithms that tend to make in-unit downres conversions look unappealing. When ISObuster developed ability to auto-magically transfer videos from recorder HDD to PC, HQ+ became a lot more versatile.

    The Sony RDR-HX870 is among the later models mfd in cooperation with Pioneer circa 2008, so ISObuster should be able to read its HDD easily. The Sony RDR-HXx70, RDR-HXx80 and RDR-HXx90 all share similar internal designs akin to the Pioneer DVR-x40,x50 and x60 series. The only slight discrepancies involve certain HDD service/install routines, the Sony's lack of DVD-RAM burning capability, Sony's less consistent choice of video encoder chip for each model, and variations in tuner/EPG from country to country and year to year. The HDD file system and editing interface remained essentially identical across all Sony and Pioneer recorders from 2006-2010. Somewhere around 2010, Sony ran out of "Pioneer parts" (as Pioneer had earlier exited the recorder business), so the very last series of EU Sony DVD/HDD recorders were rebadged Samsung designs (these weren't on the market very long, were far less popular than earlier Sonys, and might not be readable with ISObuster).
    Yes, and that is why I suggested dubbing to DVD only in the event that ISOBuster turned out not to be an option for that particular machine. Fortunately, from what you wrote about the RDR-HXD870 it appears that ISOBuster will work.
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  14. thanks for the detailed explanations of my options here. really helpful! where is the like button!?

    isobuster looks great but like mentioned, I am a total noob and going to be doing this regularly. I will consider the mod options once I might be a bit familiar with a soldering iron? (i'm guessing this would need at least competent soldering skills?)
    so it looks as though for now I may have to find a compromise between accessibility/convenience of copying files. and quality of the recording. which would be bumping down the quality of the footage to get it onto a dvd and then onto the pc?

    if the file sizes are very big for what they are quality-wise, is there a point of diminishing returns on the hq recording scale before which it's hitting the sweet spot of size to quality ratio?

    I guess I should mention what I am recording for context. at the moment doing some long play recordings of retro video games, I took an interest in this model for it's region free options I heard mentioned which might allow me to record some ntsc import games (once I eventually get around to those). currently I am recording playstation 1, and I might also include recording mega drive and mega cd. given that these are old systems and were far from high definition what settings would be recommended? I did try some tests just using the recorder as a passthrough and outputting the signal through its hdmi then using a cheap hdmi capture card. and while sometimes this worked with my obs settings other times it resulted in menu items in game misbehaving and not looking correct.

    I have future plans for sixth generation consoles playthroughs as well but I might use a different capture method for these instead as I suspect with a vanilla og xbox,ps2,ngc I would be approaching or over reaching the ceiling of quality that the sony dvdr can handle?
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  15. You don't need soldering skills: just some way of extending the HDD connection cables far enough to reach outside the recorder case so the HDD can remain accessible without fully installing/reinstalling inside the unit each time. Some tool use may be necessary to cut a slot in the metal case cover to push the cable(s) thru.

    I'm not directly familiar with the RDR-HX870 model, so can't tell you whether it uses IDE or SATA for hard drive connection. But this is easily determined once you open the case and examine the HDD. If you see a red cord with small sized plug connecting the HDD, its SATA. If you see a ribbon cable with wide connector attached to the HDD, its IDE.

    These recorders use proprietary mini-connectors on the motherboard end, standard connectors on the HDD end, so you can't simply replace the cables with longer standard cables: you'd need to get an extension female to male cable and attach it to the original HDD end. Ditto the Molex power cable in the IDE models.

    Or, simply transfer videos to your PC the traditional way via DVD-RW ripping. This can't be done with the HQ+ recording mode, but for your gaming purposes I don't think you'd see a significant video quality difference by dropping down one step to standard HQ mode for future recordings. Standard HQ will give you about 61 mins capacity on a 4.3 GB DVD-RW, so some HDD videos may need to be broken up into 60 min blocks. You can solve the dilemma of your existing trove of HQ+ recordings by one-time removal of the HDD from your Sony to connect it to your PC for ISObuster retrieval, then return the HDD to the recorder and close it back up. Note the free trial version of ISObuster will not fully execute the recorder HDD transfer feature: you must purchase a full license version to activate that function.

    Honestly tho, a DVD recorder is probably not the best choice for your needs. They make sense for "normal" video, esp digitizing of old VHS tapes, but game recording is a bit beyond their wheelhouse. As I noted in earlier posts, the file size vs possible video quality ratio of MPEG2 is dismal compared to dedicated game recorders that natively create compressed true HDTV MP4 files on the fly. Had you mentioned in your original post that your "videos" were actually game captures, most of us would have recommended you consider a more suitable device like one of the Avermedia units. These sell for around $170 USD, depending on features. They record in progressive HDTV quality, onto USB memory sticks or HDDs that can be directly recognized by your PC for transfer, archiving and sharing.
    Last edited by orsetto; 6th Nov 2020 at 16:37.
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  16. ok, that sounds potentially manageable. I would like to try some tests at some point comparing video footage that is at the highest quality the recorder can do and transferred using the invasive hardware option vs a step down in quality and transferred via dvd. does the quality of the re-recordable dvd have an impact on the process? and if so what dvd's should I consider? these captures I am doing might be archived onto youtube at some point. If the transfer to dvd is not too destructive I can probably work with that. I guess it depends how the tests go.
    honestly I would love an OSSC or framemeister as they are considered the best options for connecting my capture card to retro consoles although they come with a high financial cost and this option was being given to me comparatively for next to nothing. it was also suggested by quite a few gamers as a good inexpensive option vs the no brand cheap options. simply put, if you want to record old consoles on a budget, a dvd recorder with rgb in, s-video in is generally considered better than generic cheap rgb/s-video to hdmi solutions as it handles preservation of the image a lot better. its not perfect but it's pretty good and acceptable for what it costs and better than most other options in the same price bracket.
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  17. The quality of DVD-RW brands doesn't vary much anymore: they're all about the same. Just make sure its minus (-) RW as that is the one that can be finalized to create a standard dvd-player format disc (which can then be easily copied/repackaged to MPEG2 or MKV files on your PC). The plus (+) RW discs that don't finalize might also be OK for this, but I don't have any handy to check if tools like VOB2MPG will work the same with that format. Assuming you use DVD-RW, remember to initialize (format and erase) each new disc or previously-burned disc before you do each copy task. Go into the recorder main menu, hit setup>disc setup, choose "initialize" and on the right choose "video mode" (not VR Mode).

    While conducting your tests, you might as well try one where you allow the recorder to compress your HQ+ video into standard HQ that can be burned to a disc. The quality hit is somewhat noticeable with "real" video that has various challenges like picture noise etc, but with clean game console output its possible you might not see a huge difference. If you don't, you can avoid yanking the HDD out of the recorder. Note the apparent quality of HQ+ compressed to HQ vs recordings made originally at HQ may or may not be significantly different: game output presents a peculiar encoding challenge that could be easier or more difficult for the recorder to handle than "live" broadcasts or VHS input.

    You'll need to study the disc burning section of the manual carefully, and decide which method you want to use to fit the HDD recordings on a disc. A DVD-RW can hold about 61 mins of HQ video, if you have a capture on the HDD at or under that length you won't need to divide it up but if you have a capture that runs longer than 60 mins it will need to be divided into two or more segments to fit on several discs. This will eventually give you sevral MPEG2 files on your PC, which you'd label as "Game X Pt1" etc.

    Things get more tricky if you want to try letting the recorder re-encode your HQ+ videos to HQ to put on discs. If you don't know where and how to intervene, the process is completely automated and can result in more compression than you want. If left on full auto, the recorder will simply drop the quality of your complete HQ+ video to whatever lower level will fit it on a disc. If the HQ+ video runs 60 mins or less, the unit will choose HQ, which should be fine. But if you have long captures that run 90 min or two hours or more, automatic compression will be more severe as the unit attempts to squeeze all of it onto one disc. Of course you can try this once just to check the result: if you find it acceptable, its certainly less work.

    But most likely you'll want to force the recorder to drop no lower than HQ mode. Doing so requires you split longer HQ+ videos into 60 min chunks, preferably 50 to 55 mins to guarantee you get full HQ. You can either permanently split the actual video on the HDD itself, or "virtually" split it during the disc dubbing operation. Doing it on the HDD is less confusing, doing it "virtually" a bit more complicated but leaves your original HDD capture as a single file. Which method you choose depends on your personal preference, either way the final result on your PC will be multiple segments if the video runs longer than 60 mins.

    I will assume by now you have experimented with your Sony and understand the basics of the HDD editing tools (divide, create thumbnail, erase section). Breaking up a long recording on the HDD is easy with the divide tool: highlight the video name, press right arrow, choose Edit>Divide, jump or speed search to the 55min point, and click the enter button to split the video into two parts. If the remaining part is more than 55min, you'll need to also split that for a total of three parts. If you'd rather leave the HDD video as a single video, and just temporarily split if for disc dubbing, you can instead perform the split in the dubbing screen. But it gets a bit more complicated.

    You'd hit the remote Home button to get into the main menu, choose "Copy", then choose the game capture you want to disc dub. The recorder will warn it must compress the video to fit a disc, reply "OK" or "Yes". When its in the "To Copy" list, highlight it and press the enter button. This will pop up an action menu on the right: use your arrow buttons to choose the "split" function and do the split. Then, highlight the new second chunk that appears in the list, press enter and choose "erase" from the menu. The confusing part of this method is you need to remember exactly where you did the split/erase, because you'll need to repeat it in reverse to dub the second chunk. When you have the first chunk trimmed and ready to burn, click the next button, and choose the finalize button on the following screen. A set of disc menu designs will appear, it doesn't matter which you choose because it will be discarded when you create your PC files. Choose one, then click thru and okay everything until the disc begins burning. The burn takes about 15 mins per disc.

    The disc burning screens in the HX-870 (and all other recorders) is completely un-intuitive and difficult to wrap ones mind around, but after a few copy projects you get used to it and it gets less confusing. It helps if you remember these machines aren't so much recorders as specialized little Linux computers whose only function is to record video and burn it to DVD. So the interface employs the same nonsensical logic as a PC sometimes.

    BTW thumbnail pics, chapter markers and video names do not carry over to your PC. The utilities that rip and repackage DVD structure into MPEG2 or MKV files will automatically give them generic names like "VTS01.mpg" or "Title1.mkv", which you can of course rename however you want. Also be aware if you use the MakeMKV utility to convert the dvd structure into an MKV file, that MKV will not be the kind of traditional MKV some hardware media players (or sites like youTube) expect. The MakeMKV utility simply dumps the interlaced MPEG2 from your dvd into an MKV file container: some players and websites don't know WTH to do with that, because other than the MakeMKV utility almost nobody and nothing packages interlaced MPEG2 in an MKV container (MKV typically contains progressive h264, x264 or h265 video). For your purposes, it may be better to rip your dvds as plain MPEG2 files with VOB2MPG.
    Last edited by orsetto; 7th Nov 2020 at 08:26.
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    My current Magnavox DVD recorder records in +VR mode to DVD+R and DVD+RW. VOB2MPG can work with that recording mode but lists every recording twice. Note that VOB2MPG is incompatible with Windows 10 64 bit. DVDVob2Mpg will run although I can't recall what it did with +VR mode recordings.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 7th Nov 2020 at 10:15.
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  19. The Magnavox units are a bit of an outlier, in that they use a non-traditional, blended form of "VR" and "Video" mode for all types of "-" and "+" media. These are processed by tools like DVDVob2Mpg in the manner usually_quiet indicates: a duplicate set of files is listed, one of which you can ignore. So you don't ordinarily need to choose a specific initializing format with any blank disc type in such a Maganovox: all discs are formatted the same.

    Recorders made by Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic, older original Toshiba, LG, etc employ the more standard narrow definition of "VR Mode": as a separate and distinct recording format from "Video Mode" (which can be finalized for dvd player compatibility). In a sense, Sony etc recorders have two "VR Modes": one is similar to Magnavox and used for making standardized DVD+RW discs that play anywhere without finalizing, the other is strictly for internal use of the HDD and/or +R, -R and -RW discs that will never be used anywhere else besides the recorder (more on this below).

    Sony / Pioneer recorders will allow any dvd type to be initialized to any format, so one needs to be aware of the consequences and pay attention to this setting every time depending on the disc type and what you need the disc to do. The Sony default format for DVD+R and DVD-R is "Video Mode" (which is correct for write-once discs expected to be finalized for playback in ordinary dvd players). Such discs can have their videos easily extracted to a PC. The Sony / Pioneer default format for initializing DVD+RW is the specific "VR Mode" invented for +RW that makes all +RW discs compatible without finalizing: these should also be able to have their videos easily read and extracted to a PC. You can over-ride the default format for +RW and change it from "VR Mode" to "Video Mode" but I've never encountered a situation where that would be useful (if anything, it tends to make a +RW less compatible).

    The "gotcha" to look out for with Sony / Pioneer recorders is their default format for DVD-RW. Unless you intervene to change the setting every time, the recorder will initialize all -RW discs to its own internal proprietary "VR Mode" which is NOT easily readable by anything but another Sony / Pioneer recorder. There were advantages to this back in the heyday of dvd recorders that lacked a hard drive, but for our purposes today (making compatible dvds that can be read in a player or ripped to a PC) "VR Mode" -RW is no go. If you're gonna use -RW to transfer videos from a Sony /Pioneer to your PC, be sure to over-ride the default and initialize each -RW disc to "Video Mode" before every erase/record cycle (and always choose the "Finalize" option at the end of the HDD>DVD copy setup).
    Last edited by orsetto; 7th Nov 2020 at 12:02.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Or, simply transfer videos to your PC the traditional way via DVD-RW ripping. This can't be done with the HQ+ recording mode . . .
    Hi orsetto,

    O.K., you and usually_quiet have gotten me slightly confused here. First off, I'll note that I regularly transfer recorded material from the Pioneer DVDRs to PC, most often using rewrietable media. My initial question is whether the HQ+ recording speed you refer to equates to either MN32 or LPCM setting on the Pioneeers ? That said, I probably seldom am using either of those two top modes for typical recordings. (Somewhere early on I got the impression that LPCM maximized the audio quality, so that could be a choice I preferred for concert type material.) Another thing I have noticed is that -- at least in terms of on-the-shelf purchases at brick & mortar establishments -- the -RW media seemed to become much harder for me to find, with the +RW being far more plentiful. My favorite had long been the -RW 4X TDK, but that seemed to get pretty scarce. The last -RW 4X that I could find was Verbatim. I presume that both of these are still well above average -- say, as opposed to the Ridata brands. (Chances are pretty good that lordsmurf would dispute the assertion that all of these media are essentially equal. If you only get 3 or 4 uses out of an RW before it craps out, that ain't a good sign . . . . ) Anyway, in regard to the HQ+ thing, and with the provisos I mentioned above, I don't recall having any problems in transferring material to PC, that were clearly due to the recording speed. If there was a roadblock caused by a max recording speed, I still think that I would have noticed this.

    I always made a point of formatting the RW for Video Mode, and to do the burns to RW in that mode, with a finalization at the end. I just never found much use for the VR mode, thinking it would involve unnecessary complications -- but maybe I've been missing something ? However, the problems I ran into were otherwise. I've been running a round-robin of different computers here, which have different hardware -- the burners in particular. Some brand(s) of burner can't seem to see or load the RW discs. (Have to do some refresh-my-memory testing to get specific as to whether it was -RW, +RW, or both.) I think an LG burner was a notable culprit, but I'd have to go back and confirm that. Or it could have been another brand. The discs just kept spinning and would never load. The burners in question would have no problem with other DVD media. And I knew that the problem was isolated there, because if I hooked up an external USB burner (an ever-reliable slim Sony model), it accessed the same "non-playing" media just fine. If this ever got to be sufficiently annoying, I suppose I could yank that optical drive out and replace it with another one that behaved, under all circumstances. But the external burner was always the more expedient solution.
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  21. Seeker47,

    Yes, the Pioneer units refer to Sony's "HQ+" speed as MN32 or "XP+", and the same restrictions apply because they're basically identical recorder designs with the same operating software. As in the Sony recorders, a Pioneer can only record in XP+ mode to the HDD because XP+ has a bitrate of 15Mbps which violates the dvd player standard specification (commercial pressed dvds top out at just under 10Mbps). If you try to dub an XP+ recording to a dvd in the Pioneer, it will automatically re-encode/compress it to a mode compatible with the dvd player spec. IOW, you cannot do a lossless high-speed copy: the unit will default to real-time re-encode. Also as in the Sonys, if you have a Pioneer set to XP+ recording mode and attempt to record directly to a dvd instead of the hard drive, the unit will automatically over-ride your choice of XP+ and drop the mode to XP.

    To answer the other side of your question, the issue isn't transferring XP+ files from disc to PC, the issue is getting XP+ recordings onto the disc from the recorder HDD. The machines simply cannot/will not allow that: XP+/MN32 is only possible on the HDD. So the only way to transfer XP+ video to a PC is via direct connection of the HDD to the PC with an intermediary utility like ISObuster. Given the XP+ data rate would limit dvd capacity to approx 39 mins, there aren't many scenarios where this would prove seriously frustrating, but if it does at least now there is a workaround with ISObuster. Even with that route, you're talking 6 GB per hour storage space for what remains standard definition interlaced video: hard to justify in an era of far smaller, true HDTV files.

    Re the confusing array of "VR" modes depending on the recorder mfr and type of blank disc, yes: this has long been a mess thats difficult for most recorder users to sort out, esp with Sony/Pioneer having more options for this than some other brands. In a nutshell, "Video Mode Finalized" is the standard for -R, +R, and usually -RW. "+VR" mode arrived with +RW media, becoming a secondary standard that will play on almost anything without having to finalize. Undefined "VR" mode in the Sony/Pioneer units is an option that can be chosen for either the HDD or -R, +R and +RW for special purposes. Theres pretty much zero point in using VR on the HDD: the only benefit it confers is allowing frame-accurate edits, but since such edits never carry over to DVD dubs I find it useless. With the HDD set to the same "Video Mode" required by -R/+R discs, the edit screens will force you to edit on key frames, showing you exactly how an edit will appear if copied to dvd.

    Undefined, recorder-brand-proprietary "VR Mode" had two use cases. Most often, it was to provide more flexibility back in the days when dvd-only recorders with no HDD predominated. People wanted dvd recorders to work like a VHS VCR, "VR" allowed this on +R/-R/-RW at the cost of the discs being unplayable outside the recorder brand that burned it. Later on, lower priced DVD/HDD models eliminated the need for VR mode on +R/-R/-RW (since the HDD and/or +RW replicated VCR functionality much better). However, "VR" format on +R/-R/-RW is still valuable for a secondary purpose: to back up the recorder HDD much like one would back up their computer. "VR" allows "live" backup of HDD video files to discs. If the HDD fails, and needs to be re-initialized or replaced with a new HDD, "VR" backup dvds can be high-speed lossless copied back to HDD, restoring all files back to their original state.

    As we approach 2021, availability of all "premium" blank dvd media is dropping off a cliff. Genuine TY is gone forever, leaving just the overpriced half-assed error-prone "CMC Pro Powered By TY Technology" clones. Verbatim AZO gets harder and harder to find unless you happen to catch Amazon with a fresh pallet on hand. RW has largely become the domain of Ritek and CMC (whatever the brand reads on the label), so unless you luck out with some "premium" Verbatim RW its reasonably accurate to say "quality differences among RW brands is almost indistinguishable". None could be considered archival in any case: -R and +R, maybe, but not RW.
    Last edited by orsetto; 8th Nov 2020 at 15:34. Reason: Error RE MN32 Speed
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  22. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Thanks orsetto,

    So, you are basically telling me that all of my prior use of MN 32 or LPCM settings has been in vain -- useless laboring under a false premise, because unbeknownst to me it was all getting re-encoded under the hood to XP. And a re-encode conversion is seldom apt to be a good thing, quality-wise. (VR mode won't transfer XP+ material to disc, either . . . ?) Had I known that, I might as well have just selected MN31 to start with as my "ceiling." (?) No point to using LPCM either, unless the material is intended to remain on the Pioneer DVDR's HDD long term, for playback only from there.

    [I've also wondered whether the playback upscaling done by the Pioneer or my Oppo units are merely a gimmick, a trick that does not really contribute much in the way of PQ improvement ? Then again, if it merely seems better, maybe that's sufficient.]

    It was probably just a few months ago that I bought my last spindle of Verb DL, which still said AZO 8x, Made in the Emirates. I may regret not having stocked up more on the real Made in Japan TY. Nowadays though I am using the DVDRs more for temp xfer than for adding to the disc library. As far as the IsoBuster option, it's great to know that it exists, but I probably would not remove a Pioneer HDD except under dire circumstances. Doing some of those hardware mods to a spare unit is not out of the question though. But I recall asking jwillis to identify specific recommended parts for doing this, and where to still obtain them, and I don't think I ever received the kind of answers I was looking for. I'd probably also need a detailed modding guide, preferably illustrated.
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  23. Just noticed I made a significant error when replying to Seeker47: the maximum custom/manual "MN32" recording mode of the Sony/Pioneer recorders is NOT equivalent to HQ+/XP+. MN32 equates to HQ/XP, the maximum recording mode still compatible with the dvd player spec. Since I rarely use XP+ myself, I assumed there was a matching MN speed equated to it (as is the case with several other standard modes like MN21 = SP). Having just run a test to answer Seeker47's question about XP+ and VR mode discs, I noticed the HQ+/XP+ mode is actually isolated by itself, accessible only by scrolling the MN speed selector past MN32 and LPCM. Sorry for any confusion!

    Back to Seeker47:

    Apologies for my mistake earlier: all of your MN32 or LPCM discs were burned full quality high speed lossless with no automated compression, since both those settings equate to HQ/XP which is a "legal" dvd bitrate.

    For the heck of it, I just attempted to copy an HQ+/XP+ segment to -R and -RW discs initialized in the "VR" hdd backup format, as your latest inquiry made me realize I'd never tried HDD Backup VR with HQ+/XP+. Disappointingly, the recorder refused to do it. It popped up the usual alert that it would default to real-time re-encode and switched around the options in the dub screen. This confirms there is no possible way to transfer (or even make a proprietary back up) of HQ+/XP+ videos using disc media. It seems the only way HQ+/XP+ can be extracted from these recorders is via the ISObuster method.
    Last edited by orsetto; 8th Nov 2020 at 16:35.
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  24. thanks for all the great info on this orsetto.

    I managed to hunt down a place that stocks verbatim dvd's locally. one question I forgot to ask, the menu on the quality setting has a number of notches between hq and the hq+ 15mbps. can I set it to pcm 9.96mbps? or does it have to drop down to 9.35mbps before I can burn it to disc?

    another thing, I was wondering about was latency when using the scart output. if I am recording to hdd and at the same time I have an output going through scart would there be a considerable amount of lag in the overall chain? if the gameplay is going through svideo, being recorded as well as being output through scart to a crt, would the passthrough have too much latency? I am considering using a splitter before it goes in to the recorder to distribute the console image with less latency if needed. I am also considering using the scart input instead of svideo if this helps with quality and latency?
    Last edited by FD2020; 11th Nov 2020 at 11:36.
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  25. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FD2020 View Post
    another thing, I was wondering about was latency when using the scart output.
    I think scart is pretty much unseen and unknown here in the U.S., so orsetto may not be familiar with the inner workings of it. OTOH, he has written some good info on the international models of (at least the) Pioneer DVDR recorders, so perhaps I'm wrong.
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  26. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Couldn't tell you exactly, as I too am in NTSC land, but SCART is an analog interface, which basically has near-zero latency.
    D/A interfaces are also low latency. A/D interfaces (cap cards/devices) have a little more. But the bits that require the most latency are the encoders (esp. complex ones like h264, h265). IP-packetizing also adds a bit of latency. Basically anything that requires a buffer.

    Scott
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  27. I forgot to ask, the menu on the quality setting has a number of notches between hq and the hq+ 15mbps. can I set it to pcm 9.96mbps? or does it have to drop down to 9.35mbps before I can burn it to disc?
    I'm a little confused by this question? AFAIK, all this generation of Sony/Pioneer have the same range of recording modes. Just checked the 870 instruction book, and it matches the settings on my USA models: the sequence goes MN32 (HQ), LPCM, then finally HQ+. There is only the one "LPCM" option in between HQ and HQ+, so I'm not sure where you are seeing a number of notches?

    can I set it to pcm 9.96mbps? or does it have to drop down to 9.35mbps before I can burn it to disc?
    Similarly, I'm not sure where you are seeing these specific options? My units do not indicate a bitrate alongside each speed setting. But in a general sense, no, there is no restriction on high-speed lossless disc dubbing of HDD videos recorded in any mode below HQ+ (IOW, the only mode locked out of disc transfers is HQ+).

    Years and years ago, when these recorders were a more popular topic of discussion, I believe some users did test the results of standard HQ vs LPCM HQ, and their reports were approx what you suggest: standard HQ (MN32) has very slightly better video than LPCM HQ. This is because both "flavors" of HQ are engineered to fit exactly 61 mins on a dvd, so each is a different compromise. Standard HQ (MN32) has more bitrate for video since the audio uses standard dvd compression, LPCM HQ sacrifices some video bitrate to make more room for uncompressed LPCM audio. (Game recording usually prizes video performance over audio, so standard HQ seems the preferable choice for that task.) There is no user-customizable option to vary these compromises of video vs audio: you can only choose between standard HQ and LPCM HQ. LPCM is not available as an audio choice in any other mode besides LPCM (which is always HQ video mode).

    another thing, I was wondering about was latency when using the scart output.
    As Cornucopia and Seeker47 mentioned, we don't have SCART connections on the North American USA/Canada versions of these recorders: that was strictly on models specific to countries within the EU's eye-rolling "who-asked-for-this-nonsense" edict zone. Many of us who chat about these recorders don't have hands on experience with SCART to share with you. But this should be a fairly easy question to find answers for on sites that talk about game recording: if you don't see specific mention of SCART, just assume that any info reported about "RCA video connection" "composite video connection" or "yellow connection" would apply equally to SCART. While there are some significant technical differences, practically speaking SCART could simply be considered a repackaging of the standard yellow (composite video) + red (right audio channel) + white (left audio channel) round phono/RCA connector trio used prior to SCART (and still used everywhere outside EU). Any potential latency should be the same across SCART and composite, very likely S-video would also be the same.
    Last edited by orsetto; 11th Nov 2020 at 17:04.
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  28. I noticed some latency when going through the hdmi out. I had a look into splitters, good quality rgb splitters are pretty expensive compared to good quality s-video splitters ,if I went rgb scart then it would make sense and be more cost effective to not use a splitter if there is no lag during a passthrough. it might be difficult to find ways to output s-video from certain consoles as in the uk it was less of an option, it's possible I might have to use rgb for those.
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  29. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    I forgot to ask, the menu on the quality setting has a number of notches between hq and the hq+ 15mbps. can I set it to pcm 9.96mbps? or does it have to drop down to 9.35mbps before I can burn it to disc?
    I'm a little confused by this question? AFAIK, all this generation of Sony/Pioneer have the same range of recording modes. Just checked the 870 instruction book, and it matches the settings on my USA models: the sequence goes MN32 (HQ), LPCM, then finally HQ+. There is only the one "LPCM" option in between HQ and HQ+, so I'm not sure where you are seeing a number of notches?

    can I set it to pcm 9.96mbps? or does it have to drop down to 9.35mbps before I can burn it to disc?
    Similarly, I'm not sure where you are seeing these specific options? My units do not indicate a bitrate alongside each speed setting. But in a general sense, no, there is no restriction on high-speed lossless disc dubbing of HDD videos recorded in any mode below HQ+ (IOW, the only mode locked out of disc transfers is HQ+).

    Years and years ago, when these recorders were a more popular topic of discussion, I believe some users did test the results of standard HQ vs LPCM HQ, and their reports were approx what you suggest: standard HQ (MN32) has very slightly better video than LPCM HQ. This is because both "flavors" of HQ are engineered to fit exactly 61 mins on a dvd, so each is a different compromise. Standard HQ (MN32) has more bitrate for video since the audio uses standard dvd compression, LPCM HQ sacrifices some video bitrate to make more room for uncompressed LPCM audio. (Game recording usually prizes video performance over audio, so standard HQ seems the preferable choice for that task.) There is no user-customizable option to vary these compromises of video vs audio: you can only choose between standard HQ and LPCM HQ. LPCM is not available as an audio choice in any other mode besides LPCM (which is always HQ video mode).
    ah ok thankyou, this sounds more simple than I thought.

    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    another thing, I was wondering about was latency when using the scart output.
    As Cornucopia and Seeker47 mentioned, we don't have SCART connections on the North American USA/Canada versions of these recorders: that was strictly on models specific to countries within the EU's eye-rolling "who-asked-for-this-nonsense" edict zone. Many of us who chat about these recorders don't have hands on experience with SCART to share with you. But this should be a fairly easy question to find answers for on sites that talk about game recording: if you don't see specific mention of SCART, just assume that any info reported about "RCA video connection" "composite video connection" or "yellow connection" would apply equally to SCART. While there are some significant technical differences, practically speaking SCART could simply be considered a repackaging of the standard yellow (composite video) + red (right audio channel) + white (left audio channel) round phono/RCA connector trio used prior to SCART (and still used everywhere outside EU). Any potential latency should be the same across SCART and composite, very likely S-video would also be the same.
    ok I will have a look. from what I can tell rgb scart is generally a lot better than composite scart. we had a lot of scart cables here in the uk bundled with consoles and entertainment electronics but they were almost always composite rather than rgb despite the consoles themselves having the ability to output rgb rather than composite over scart.
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  30. Originally Posted by FD2020 View Post
    from what I can tell rgb scart is generally a lot better than composite scart. we had a lot of scart cables here in the uk bundled with consoles and entertainment electronics but they were almost always composite rather than rgb despite the consoles themselves having the ability to output rgb rather than composite over scart.
    Sorry, I forgot to comment on the "RGB" aspect you mentioned. The comparable term for non-SCART recorders in North/South America and Asia is "component video" - if researching the latency topic with other game recording enthusiasts, experiences reported with component video would almost certainly carry over to RGB SCART. Thats because SCART just consolidates all the traditional multi-socket connections into a single multi-pin connection brick. Non-EU recorders have three video pinouts for R-G-B (component), one pinout for composite video, and two pinouts for L+R stereo audio, all doubled sets for input and output. SCART combines all those sockets into the single connector, with the actual function chosen electronically within the unit or externally with adapters.

    There is a "gotcha" to look out for with SCART dvd recorders, however: some of them have restrictions or glitches in RGB functionality (input and/or output). Very few USA/Canada recorder models have component RGB input ability: RGB is strictly an output connection with input limited to composite or S-Video (non-EU Sony models follow this rule, as do many Panasonics even within EU). Before investing significant money in a switch or other accessories, make sure your Sony 870 can actually pass gameplay RGB unfettered thru simultaneous input/output. According to the 870 instruction manual, the unit does seem to have RGB (component) in+out passthru capability, although it isn't quite clear from the diagrams whether this works directly SCART-to-SCART or requires additional "Euro AV" component breakout adapters (see page 18 in the manual).
    Last edited by orsetto; 11th Nov 2020 at 18:37.
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