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External DVD Recorder recommendations

Posted on 2004-09-29
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Had a Philips DVDR985R which was excellent for about 3 months of use; then nothing but problems.  The Net is full of complaints; firmware updates don't fix problems, others who have sent theirs back under warranty to their factory got it back, worked a few months, then the same problems.  Not pleased, was expensive and ends up being an expensive bookend and made more DVD saucers than you can imagine.  No help from their Tech Support and the issue is months old, now past warranty.

Want a DVD Recorder of quality that is reliable and without ongoing problems, any ideas?  I've used only the required and top notch DVD disks (R+ and RW+) as required, to no avail.  At this point, can't record a thing; few actually even play including typical BlockBuster movies.  Nothing but Disk Errors and No Disk results.  Ho hum and WHAA!

Here are some of the reviews which clearly reiterate my issues.
http://reviews.cnet.com/Philips_DVDR985/4852-5_7-8408354.html?ob=0
http://techbargains.pricegrabber.com/rating_getprodrev.php/masterid=600533/id_type=masterid/

I look forward to hearing your experience of better DVD Recorders with a track record one can trust.

Thanks,
Asta
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Question by:Asta Cu
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12 Comments
 
LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12180830
EXTERNAL, not PC-based, of course.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12180894
Hey, what do you have against PC-based DVD writers?  ;-)

I love my Sony DWU-18A and Pioneer A05 drives.  I bet they make good external standalone units, too.
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LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12180944
PCs have the Sony DWU-18A and love them.  BUT, want an external recorder for a plethora of reasons; want to convert many old family films and videos to DVD, like recording films and so on.  Use the PCbased ones to create DVDs with own music, images, cam AVIs, etc. and use things like Adobe Premiere and other DVD authoring packages and that's all spiffy.   Listening further with thanks.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12181157
I use mine for that purpose: convert video to DVD.  I have done it with VHS tapes, DV camcorders, and captures from a TV tuner (both standard definition and high-definition).  If you have a DV camcorder (or you can buy one for about $400 now), you can just pipe the Firewire to a card or a motherboard port and record with a capture program, like Ulead DVD Movie Factory.  Edit to cut out commercials or other undesirable scenes, compress to mpeg2, create chapter titles, and burn to DVD.  I haven't used a standalone unit for this, but it can't be as fast or as flexible as my 2.8GHz PC.

Converting video to DVD
http://graphics.tomshardware.com/video/20030530/index.html
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LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12181209
True, and I appreciate that a lot and do have firewire setup, etc.  The problem is 'location'; placement to family's choices with no PC near enough for the TV interface and recording of other things.  So, although something I've done, do want to explore external devices and get feedback from people who have chosen a successful product, proven through time.  BUT, will definitely increase points here and split them with some to you for your willingness to step in and help me.  You're top notch in my boo, Callandor!  My feedback included.
":0) Asta
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:sunray_2003
ID: 12181902
Are you looking specifically DVD recorders with inbuilt hard disk. I guess that would be very much an added advantage.

Personally, I have worked with DMR E80H from Panasonic. I use it most of the time in my office and it is 6 months old. We mostly use it for recording Television programs and conference seminars that we broadcast.  So far so good. No issues.
Unfortunately , I donot see that model online now in panosonic website , I see they have come up with new and better models. Panasonic recorders are really good ones atleast in my research that I was doing like you 6 months before buying this one.
My personal choice is always Sony but my boss wanted something cheaper than sony..
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12185566
If you ever decide to go for a PC-based solution, take a look at the cases here:
https://www.digitalconnection.com/store/Product_List.asp?CID=3&CAT=CASE
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LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12193947
Neato!  BUT.... no cables long enough or adequate in terms of hiding under carpet, blah blah.

I sure love that you're here to help and thank you.  Still hoping for something more aligned to a living room far away from PCs.

Gave you Feedback on how I appreciate your efforts; you're great!

Listening further.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12199736
If cables are a problem, go wireless!  802.11g for the NIC, and replace your keyboard and mouse with a Gyration Media Center Remote and Keyboard: http://reviews.designtechnica.com/review1554.html

I use one of these in my home theater, and it's great - no more restrictive cables, and it has a 100' range.  Your HTPC is also upgradable, which a standalone DVD Recorder is not.  You can also make it into a Tivo-like digital TV recorder (VHS tapes are passe).
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LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12199827
Fantastic stuff, thanks, Callandor the points will be yours.  In the midst of chaos with a badly ghosted disk on XP SP2, so hope to get back here and finalize and print/check this stuff out when I'm back with print capability and/or time to explore.  You're terrific!  

How exactly are you set up now with your Sony PC DVD RW drive and TV?  Maybe after I reread this, this question was already answers; didn't sleep kinda buggy.
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Accepted Solution

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Callandor earned 250 total points
ID: 12200478
My HTPC sits in a cabinet behind a glass door in my home theater.  It has a MyHD high-definition tuner card that lets me record over-the-air HD broadcasts, and I have another box with a Hauppauge PVR250 card for standard definition broadcasts, as well as programming scheduling.  Both have input from my rooftop antenna.  My vcr is also in the cabinet and is connected to a Canopus ADVC-100, and it has Firewire out to the HTPC for capturing from tapes.  The Sony DWU-18A drive is in the HTPC for burning and playing DVDs.  Video goes out the Radeon 9000 to a JVC front projector.
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LVL 27

Author Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 12200664
Thanks for all your help here; swamped with troubleshooting a Ghosting Clone process gone wrong so won't be working this for a couple of weeks but value your stuff and insights.  No reason for you to wait.
":0) Asta
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