Need recommendations for a good DVD/VCR Recorder

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by marcb515, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. marcb515

    marcb515 New Member

    Dec 11, 2005
    Brick, NJ


    I have Tivo, but need something to record programs other while my Tivo is already recording.( too bad Tivo doesn't record 2 programs at the same time)

    I was considering the Panasonic DMR-E50, with the 100GB HD. However, I really need a new VCR too, as my DVD/VCR combo is shot. So now I'm looking at the Panasonic DMR-E40 DVD recorder/VCR recorder unit; It doesn't have a HD, but uses DVD-Ram, which should give me plenty of programming time.

    Any +/- comments/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you, and Happy New Year!!!.....marc
  2. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

    Sep 19, 2001
    Binghamton, NY
    Personally, I'd stay away from a DVD/VCR combo unit. Why? Because you can't use both at the same time. What if you are recording to the DVD and wanted to watch a VCR tape? Can't do it. But, if this won't be a problem, then this is just a matter of preference.

    I have just ordered a DVD recorder with hard drive as a replacement for my ailing DVD recorder. My VCR isn't even connected any longer, and hasn't been for a couple of years. If I get the urge to transfer a tape to a DVD I'll get it out and do it.
  3. mec1991

    mec1991 Cranky old coot

    Nov 5, 2004
    Back home...
    And stay away from anything with TVGOS (tv guide on screen). It is a bad joke - poorly implemented and littered with onscreen ads when you use it. Get a good basic DVD recorder from a first tier manufacturer and archive away! :)

    Happy New Year to you too. :up:
  4. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

    Jan 5, 2002
    Berkeley CA
    Actually Jim, some combo units do have dual tuners, so shoppers for new gear should check the specs to see if you can record with both independently.

    marcb515, here's a link to my thread need help choosing a DVD recorder on AVS Forum. There are other discussions here on TCF, too -- if I find the links I'll try to post them here.

    But I wanted to ask -- why not a second TiVo? I have two standalone TiVos and I'm considering buying a third. Remember, for the second and third TiVos, if you have monthly service, they are only $6.95 a month. My first TiVo is on lifetime, so any TiVo I buy from now on, I only pay $6.95 a month for service.

    If I have two shows on at 8 PM Tuesday night (for example) I can put the SP for one on TiVo #1 and the SP for the other one on TiVo #2. Problem solved!

  5. audiocrawford

    audiocrawford New Member

    Oct 19, 2005


    Hmmm, my DVD/VCR combo unit can watch one media while recording another. Not that it matters in the least to me, as the only reason I'd ever put a VHS tape in is for a one-time transfer to DVD.

    The advantage to having a 2-in-1 unit are two-fold : one, less space on the entertainment shelf, and two (and most importantly), the ability to copy VHS tapes to DVD seamlessly. The quality if going to be vastly better than connecting two seperate boxes together; some may call me crazy and I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it myself, but in most cases the DVDs I make from VHS on my combo unit look even better than watching the VHS straight (and obviously have all the other advatntages of DVD as well).

    Now, there is a slight disadvantage to a 2-in-1, just like any multi-use product. When one goes, you have to replace the whole thing - this is why I've never bought a phone/answering machine combo before. In this case, however, the advantages of having both in one outweigh that risk, especially with the liberal Wal-Mart return policy.

    I had a large collection of old (mostly B&W) films I wanted to transfer to DVD, and I spent several months shopping for a good DVD recorder. I at first tried the stand-alone units, which even once I got past the cable interference issues performed rather bleakly. Now, keep in mind these are the Wal-Mart units; I tried four different brands. I chose Wal-Mart mostly because of their liberal return policy. The most promising unit was actually the cheapest, the ilo model, mostly because it was hackable and their was a nice little community on the 'net for it. However, the tuner absoultely sucked, so it went back as well.

    I finally decided on an RCA unit (DRC8310N). It goes for about $230 now at Wal-Mart, and the new boxes that are shipping now with newer software are even better than the previous version (though the model number has remained the same). The interface is slightly clunky at first blush, but once you figure out how it works it is simple and effective. And it makes GREAT looking DVDs. REALLY great. The picture quality rivals broadcast and, as I said before, the one-touch VHS transfers are of top notch quality.

    As to why one would choose this over a 2nd TiVo, I use mine for the same reasons the OP wants it for. There are few conflicts in my TiVo world, only Lost/Veronica Mars, and the upcoming season of 24. Other times, I actually like having to make the choice, especially since I watch mostly syndicated and cable shows, which repeat so often I can almost always find a showing that fits into my To Do List. So I use my DVD recorder for those few shows, and anything I know I'm going to want a great archival copy of. For instance, when an important film is on TCM (say, 2-3 times a month) that I need for my collection, I record it directly (which is of higher quality than a TiVo recording even at Best).

    I have some complex needs, but I really have met them with very little equipment : the RCA DVD recorder/VHS combo, my TiVo, and an old 1.0GHZ PC that I use as a TTG server that has an external DVD burner. With that, I am able to keep TV for casual watching around, TV I want for longer term access, and that which I want to make permanent in my collection. Ain't technology grand? :)

  6. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    I have a littel TV with a VCR built in I used to use in the van for road trips. I uograded the van to DVD and now if someone in the house wants to watch a VHS tape they use the little TV.

    my advice would be to just ditch the VCR and focus on a good DVD recorder
  7. TiVo Steve

    TiVo Steve New Member

    Nov 8, 2005
    Seattle WA.
    I have used Panasonic DMR-E50's for several years, and am VERY happy with them!
    One "TiVo-like" feature is recording with a DVD-RAM disk. You can record and watch at the same time! (example - start recording a movie at 8PM, turn on the recorder at 9PM and start watching the show from the beginning while the movie continues to record!).

    Also there is a "one minute" commercial skip button when playing back RAM disks. And, last but not least, the DVD-RAM's are available in "cartridge" form...great for kids (or buttered popcorn lovers).

    The newest generation Panasonic recorders offer better 4 hour mode (LP) recording (12-bit DAC) than the older DMR-E50 units. You can get them with a hard drive or as a DVD/VCR combo. Although I would recommend using a separate VCR to transfer your old tapes (then throw out the VCR...ancient technology).

    I also agree that the TV Guide feature is a doesn't work most of the time...too bad really. Just use VCR+ codes.

    My 2 cents worth :rolleyes:
  8. msdonnelly

    msdonnelly Member

    Apr 3, 2004
    I have the Panasonic HD/DVD version and I love it. It blends well with my two TiVos and an old VCR. The DVD-RAM makes it a very versatile unit--chasing playback is one example as well as high-speed dubbing. I've transferred many programs from my old VCR to the Panasonic unit and get reasonable quality despite the VCR having only RCA output. The one feature that is really useful is the ability to edit video on either the hard drive or DVD-RAM. I often transfer "special" programs from my TiVo (via composite) and then edit on the hard drive and burn to DVD-R. This process allowed me to present my adult children with some of their favorite movies on DVD that aired on commercial TV without commercials. The DMR-EH50 is also an excellent DVD player--I'm always wowed watching DVDs from it on my new Sony 42" Bravia!

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