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Thread: DVD writers

  1. #1
    Übermensch Peewiglet's Avatar
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    I recently got one of those hard-drive recorders from Telewest so that I don't need to use videos to record any more. It's possible to extract the recorded programmes from them to a DVD writer, but I'm not sure what to get.

    I'd rather get an inexpensive one if possible, but the bloke in the local shop told me that the quality of data recorded to DVD by the more expensive recorder will be better than that recorded by the less expensive one.

    Is that right, peeps? I was thinking that because it's (presumably) digital info it might be the same regardless of which recorder I use to extract it, but I really have no idea. I can see that the more expensive DVD recorders have various bells and whistles that the less expensive ones don't have, and perhaps a better quality of playback too (?), but I don't know about the recording quality.

    Can anyone please advise? I'd like to keep some of the things I've recorded, so if I have to buy a more expensive one to end up with a good quality recording then I will, but only if I need to.

    Many thanks in advance for any help


    p.s. I saw portable DVD players in the shop today, and I blush to say that my first thought was using one in my tent...

  2. #2
    Goon GeoffC's Avatar
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    What make/model is the HD recorder (or is it specific to Telewest)?. Doesn't it have the facility built-in to write to recordable DVD internally?. Our HD recorder does.

    If not, by what interface/hardware do you extract the programmes to DVD?. I've done a lot in this field and this sounds strange to me!.
    Regards

  3. #3
    Übermensch Peewiglet's Avatar
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    Hi Geoff,

    Uh-oh...

    It's called a TV Drive, and has HDTV written on the front. This is a link to it.

    I was told both by Telewest when upgrading to the TV drive from the ordinary 'box' I previously had, and also by the bloke who came to install it, that I could attach it to a DVD Recorder/Writer (not sure what the correct term is) via a lead of some sort - not sure which: scart, maybe?

    In fact, and reassuringly, I've just looked in the manual, and in the FAQ it says:

    Q: Can I copy recorded programmes to my VCR or DVD?

    A: Yes. Connect your recording device to the VCR scart on the rear of your TV Drive. Next choose the previously recorded prog's you want to copy in the 'Copy to VCR' screen foudn in the TV Drive Extras menu.

    Phew!

    That being the case, do you think the quality of recording made would be affected by the quality of the recording device used? Thanks for helping

  4. #4
    Ultra King Weird Darren's Avatar
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    Not done much in this area, but what you are writing to isn't the problem. What the main difference in the dvd writers will be is how they capture and compress the data (ie the program you want recording).
    The actual drive that does the writing isn't the problem. It's what hardware is used to video capture. I would imagine and expect that an expensive model would use better compression methods than those of a cheaper machine. I would also expect the expensive one to capture at a higher quality or why else pay all that extra?

  5. #5
    Ultra King Ddyrchafedig Gyrrwr (Beic Modur)'s Avatar
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    Most DVD recorders, including the one I have (the Panasonic DMR E85H) are Hard Disc recorders with a DVD writer built in.

    Basically, it does what yours does, but has the capability to record permanently onto DVDs.

    To do the same, you need to connect externally to either a VCR or DVDR separately via a scart.

    I have never heard of a DVD recorder that has not got a HD, so really, to purchase a separate one will be duplicating half of what you have now. It will of course add the capacity of the HD of the DVD to that of your existing HDTV. But if you buy a DVDRW, then you won't really need the HDTV.

    You have to remember that connecting externally will degrade picture quality to a certain extent, but using good quality gold connections should minimise that.

    You can of course connect to your existing VCR to make permanent recordings whilst you are contemplating obtaining a DVDRW.

    I payed around £500 for mine around 2 years ago, but they are coming down in price all the time!







  6. #6
    Goon GeoffC's Avatar
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    A Scart?. Ugh!. That's what happens when an interface is designed by a mediocre committee. Anyway...

    This is not good news - but just what I would expect from a device like that. That cable connection is designed for analogue composite-video recording to a VCR, as the instructions say, and is a very primitive way of doing it nowadays. You will lose the digital format of the recorded data, and you cannot capture the analogue output to a DVD directly (unless you have another standalone DVD recorder deck, which would be totally pointless for this exercise and the result would be inferior anyway).

    I'm afraid to say that a good HD recorder deck would do all of this in perfect digital quality with no cables at all. On ours, we just stick in a blank DVD-R or DVD-RAM and it will copy the program to it digitally. I can also take the DVD up to the PC and edit the programme if desired.

    Sorry but the TV_Drive sounds pretty crap in these respects!.

    Regards



  7. #7
    Übermensch John Bailey's Avatar
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    But quite good in other respects.

    3 digital tuners
    dual outputs one including HDMI
    ability to record 2 channels, pause a third and play nother recorded program via the VCR connection
    built in broadband ethernet connection

    I'm sure telewest could put up a convincing argument that the device provides all the capability required for legally time-shifting viewing and that anyone who wanted to write high quality DVDs might be trying to breach the copyrights on the content they have supplied.

  8. #8
    Übermensch "Cunning" Duncan's Avatar
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    PW, you might want to practice extracting the recording to video tape via SCART or s-vid leads to make sure that works all okay before spending the money on a DVD recorder.

    I've a cheap Samsung model 'pvr', no HDTV or Freeview, but I think its a great system. I've series to get onto dvd, but will do that later.

    When I get round to it, I'll take the progs off tape and onto dvd. Already building up my 'outdoor' collection.

  9. #9
    Übermensch Peewiglet's Avatar
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    Ta, peeps - it sounds from what Darren says as though it's worth going for the more expensive one, then.

    Btw, the TV Drive isn't a DVD recorder - it's a different sort of gadget, and its main advantage is convenience. It lets me record a whole series at the push of one button; if I have to get up to answer the door I can 'roll back' the programme I was watching when I return; I can watch one thing and record two other things at the same time, or watch something I've already recorded while I'm recording something else. It does other things too, but those are the ones that spring to mind.

    I hadn't realised that extracting the info from the drive would result in a loss of quality: thanks for pointing that out.

    As for the breach of copyright thing, I assume they've done some sort of deal on that, as extracting the info to video/DVD isn't some sort of nefarious hack - the machines are marketed as having that function, and how to do it is explained in the manual. It's just the same as recording a video for home purposes. It sounds from what people have said above as though maybe it's actually been designed to produce an inferior recording, to ensure that people aren't likely to try to market the results.

    Does your Samsung thing do more or less the same as the thing I've got, Duncan? It's pretty cool

    Anyway, thanks again for the help


  10. #10
    Übermensch "Cunning" Duncan's Avatar
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    I think the loss of quality issue would be the loss of the High Definition recording. Same as the loss of going from dvd to vt.

    Copyright is a sticky issue, as the people who make the technology are the same people who complain that people are breaking the law. I remember grinning at some suit from Sony was on tv complaining about people stealing music, as I noted the next day the pile of Sony CD-Rs being sold, and Sony's own CD and DVD recorders. Life is soo funny.

    I got my unit via an Amazon retailer. I found out who Amazon were getting it from and went direct. Its the DVDHR720 unit. No freeview built in, or HD, and 'only' an 80gig hard drive, but it's been great. I use SP for progs I want to put onto dvd later and LP for the 'watching' programs. It has certainly changed the way I watch tv - I watch less of it. I can build up series and watch them in order rather than by what's next on the video tape.

    I've still to figure out how to put each prog in as a new chapters on the dvd, but I've only burnt one dvd so far.

    Frankly, I didn't see the point in getting just as dvd recorder, as it just replaces video tape with dvds. I've still a dvd player hooked up so I can watch dvds while recording to the Samsung unit.

    I suppose it all depends how you want to get your 'time shifted' viewing done.

  11. #11
    Ultra King Weird Darren's Avatar
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    PW, when you have decided you are going to fork out the cash, email me and I'll get Kate to log on the Which? site and let you know what came out top of their reviews (assuming they have done one, which I would imagine they have).

  12. #12
    Übermensch Peewiglet's Avatar
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    Thanks for the extra info, peeps

    I've got a DVD/video recorder connected too, Duncan. I prefer DVDs to videos, though, because they're so much smaller. I managed to accumulate 100s of videos some years ago, and now the blasted things are all over the place!

    Darren - thanks for that: I'll drop you a line

    DMD - I like the idea of that TV card! Can you play things you've recorded to the PC with an ordinary TV compatible DVD player?

  13. #13
    Übermensch "Cunning" Duncan's Avatar
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    The thing I like about dvds is that I can watch them in the player without affecting the recorder (video, then replaced by pvr).

    I'm not untidy, I just use a 3-dimensional filing system ;-)

    Though I do have an Excel spreadsheet to log what dvds I have and where I got them. Also who I've lent them too.

  14. #14
    Übermensch Peewiglet's Avatar
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    Thanks, DMM

  15. #15
    Initiate Andy Wallace's Avatar
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    Don't listen to techies or salesmen about quality, get something you can afford.

  16. #16
    Übermensch "Cunning" Duncan's Avatar
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    Don't listen to techies or salesmen about quality, get something you can afford.

    I'm wary of that as a friend of a friend (honest) was on his 4th hdd/dvd recorder, returning the previous 3 faulty. Frankly, I look at reviews and comments as the technology is still relatively new - and its a lot of money to spend.

    As to salesmen, the real world shops don't have as good a selection as the Net shops, for obvious reasons.

  17. #17
    Initiate Bastard's Avatar
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    PW, there are plenty of DVD recorders that don't have a HD as well, e.g this one at Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...813448-9145409

    No idea if it's any good but they do exist. I've got a TVDrive and it isn't crap. I'm not aware of any other HD recorder that does HDTV and has three tuners built in. It's a good piece of kit, basically Telewest's equivalent to Sky+.

    I've successfully recorded from it to VCR but I don't have a DVD recorder so haven't tried that but I'm sure it would work. As it's a scart connection there would be a slight loss of quality. You could try asking for advice on DVD recorders on www.avforums.com.

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