DVR/VCR Recorders

I am looking for a good combo unit for $200 - $300 that will let me copy to dvd off the tv and copy some of my vhs tapes to dvd without copywrite problems. I also want it to have its own tuner. Thanks. RussS

Most these combo recorders have major problem making copies of copywited vhs tapes. your $300 range could be a bit low.

Current model combo recorders present the greatest difficulties copying [I]commercial [/I] videotapes. The better approach for copying videotapes [I]of any kind [/I]with the current crop of DVD recorders is to use the original VCR that recorded the tapes as the videotape player connected to an input on a DVD recorder or HDD/DVD recorder. That dubbing/copying method offers greater flexibility and control of the process, especially for difficult to track videotapes or those requiring a video stabilizer or other measures for satisfactory results.

The best [I]current product [/I]for use in dubbing/copying videotapes is the Magnavox 2160 HDD/DVD recorder. Connect your old VCR to an input and copy the videotaped material to the hard drive (in real time), edit the video if you wish, then high-speed dub the material to DVD. The high-speed dub may take fifteen minutes plus another three minutes for finalizing.

The Magnavox 2160 is currently selling for $227 through walmart.com. From time to time factory refurbished 2160 models may be found through jr.com (or the J&R store) in NYC for $160.

During 2007 I copied around 5,200 videotaped titles direct to DVD using outstanding 2005 and 2006 model year Panasonic ES series combo recorders and DVD recorders. Among my fully functional recorders there are two 2005 DMR-ES30V and six 2006 DMR-ES35V combo recorders, one DMR-ES25 and two DMR-ES15 DVD recorders.

The current (2007 and newer) Panasonic EZ series combo recorders have been stripped of the most essential dubbing/copying features, i.e., Time Limited dubbing/copying and Flexible Recording dubbing/copying. The current Panasonic EZ series combo recorders are unsatisfactory for use in a dubbing/copying project. (More detailed descriptions may be found in the Panasonic DVD recorder threads.) The Panasonic EZ series recorders are capable of outstanding picture quality but are bug laden and plagued with design flaws. I purchased five EZ series recorders, only two of which remain in use, one is a standby recorder and two are no longer functional.

As my EZ series recorders fail they are replaced by my standby recorders, the older, more reliable ES series models, most of which have already seen heavy use but keep on performing as new. One of my ES series combo recorders has accumulated around 4,400 recording hours and six other ES series combo recorders and DVD recorders have each accumulated more than 3,000 recording hours. Of course Panasonics require regular DVD Drive lens [B]and [/B]hub/spindle cleaning to maintain longevity. (Details are found in the Panasonic threads.)

I write from experience. I own fourteen fully functional Panasonic ES and EZ series recorders, four Magnavox 2160 HDD/DVD recorders, one of the earlier Magnavox 2080 HDD/DVD recorders, two similar earlier Philips 3575 and 3576 HDD/DVD recorders, two Magnavox combo recorders and one Magnavox DVD recorder.

If you are determined to purchase a combo recorder you may find good results with the current (2009 model year) digital tuner Magnavox ZV457MG9 combo recorder. I own two of the similar earlier (2008 model year) versions, an early ZV450MW8 and later ZV450MW8A that are decent “garden variety” combo recorders, but [I]I do not recommend them for use in a serious dubbing/copying project. [/I] Combo recorders are satisfactory for viewing videotapes but are only satisfactory for occasional copying of videotaped material direct to DVD.

As I’m typing this post my Magnavox ZV450MW8 is being used as the videotape [I]player[/I] connected to my Philips 3576 that is transferring a portion of a videotape to its hard drive for later editing and high-speed dubbing to DVD. That transfer will conclude in six minutes, after which I will edit out some material and then high-speed dub the edited material to DVD for archiving.

[QUOTE=RussS;2492111]I am looking for a good combo unit for $200 - $300 that will let me copy to dvd off the tv and copy some of my vhs tapes to dvd without copywrite problems. I also want it to have its own tuner. Thanks. RussS[/QUOTE]

TVs that offer recordable outputs are so rare that recording “off the TV” is quite unusual. (I own a circa 2005 Sony HDTV that has “monitor out” connections [I]supposedly[/I] for that purpose but that feature does not output digital signals. In fact, I’ve never found any recordable output signal, digital or analog, from that TV.)

In the US reception and recording of full power stations from an antenna requires a recorder with an ATSC tuner or recording through a Coupon Eligible Converter Box (CECB) or other such ATSC tuner. Some US low power stations are still analog so they require tuners/recorders that have NTSC tuners. (Beginning March 1 2007 all tuner-equipped devices manufactured for sale in the US are required to have an ATSC turner.)

In the US cable services use QAM digital tuning technology. If you have cable service you may have a HD or “digital” (to analog) “converter box” that provides for recording through RF, composite or S-Video connections–all analog signal sources. Some cable companies provide DTAs (a digital to analog converter box) that have only an RF output–again, an analog signal source.

Some cable companies may continue to provide basic or extended basic clear QAM services that may be tuned and recorded without a converter box by recorders with clear QAM tuners. (My local cable company provides only selected local channels, community access, government, shopping, and a few other insignificant services in clear QAM–the rest of the cable networks are scrambled, thus requiring “converter boxes.” Currently, I have seven clear QAM tuner equipped DVD or HDD/DVD recorders set up for recording. Only one of them is set up for recording through it’s built-in clear QAM tuner–the rest of my recorders are enslaved to HD or “digital” to analog “converter boxes.”)

Many cable companies have plans (or are in the process) to scramble most of their services [I]and in so doing[/I] they are largely thwarting clear QAM recording with consumer market recorders. Cable companies are [I]effectively restricting[/I] digital or High Definition recording to their own DVRs–that do not provide for recording to DVD. Scrambled services require cable company provided “converter boxes” or aftermarket tuners equipped with CableCards. Satellite services are similar in that they require specific tuners/receivers and their own DVRs–that do not provide for recording to DVD.

When recording to DVD from a “converter box” or other external tuner/receiver the best that may be had is analog recording. In other words, “Welcome Back To The Analog Era!”

[QUOTE=VoxHumana;2492167]Current model combo recorders present the greatest difficulties copying [I]commercial [/I] videotapes. The better approach for copying videotapes [I]of any kind [/I]with the current crop of DVD recorders is to use the original VCR that recorded the tapes as the videotape player connected to an input on a DVD recorder or HDD/DVD recorder. That dubbing/copying method offers greater flexibility and control of the process, especially for difficult to track videotapes or those requiring a video stabilizer or other measures for satisfactory results.

The best [I]current product [/I]for use in dubbing/copying videotapes is the Magnavox 2160 HDD/DVD recorder. Connect your old VCR to an input and copy the videotaped material to the hard drive (in real time), edit the video if you wish, then high-speed dub the material to DVD. The high-speed dub may take fifteen minutes plus another three minutes for finalizing.

The Magnavox 2160 is currently selling for $227 through walmart.com. From time to time factory refurbished 2160 models may be found through jr.com (or the J&R store) in NYC for $160.

During 2007 I copied around 5,200 videotaped titles direct to DVD using outstanding 2005 and 2006 model year Panasonic ES series combo recorders and DVD recorders. Among my fully functional recorders there are two 2005 DMR-ES30V and six 2006 DMR-ES35V combo recorders, one DMR-ES25 and two DMR-ES15 DVD recorders.

The current (2007 and newer) Panasonic EZ series combo recorders have been stripped of the most essential dubbing/copying features, i.e., Time Limited dubbing/copying and Flexible Recording dubbing/copying. The current Panasonic EZ series combo recorders are unsatisfactory for use in a dubbing/copying project. (More detailed descriptions may be found in the Panasonic DVD recorder threads.) The Panasonic EZ series recorders are capable of outstanding picture quality but are bug laden and plagued with design flaws. I purchased five EZ series recorders, only two of which remain in use, one is a standby recorder and two are no longer functional.

As my EZ series recorders fail they are replaced by my standby recorders, the older, more reliable ES series models, most of which have already seen heavy use but keep on performing as new. One of my ES series combo recorders has accumulated around 4,400 recording hours and six other ES series combo recorders and DVD recorders have each accumulated more than 3,000 recording hours. Of course Panasonics require regular DVD Drive lens [B]and [/B]hub/spindle cleaning to maintain longevity. (Details are found in the Panasonic threads.)

I write from experience. I own fourteen fully functional Panasonic ES and EZ series recorders, four Magnavox 2160 HDD/DVD recorders, one of the earlier Magnavox 2080 HDD/DVD recorders, two similar earlier Philips 3575 and 3576 HDD/DVD recorders, two Magnavox combo recorders and one Magnavox DVD recorder.

If you are determined to purchase a combo recorder you may find good results with the current (2009 model year) digital tuner Magnavox ZV457MG9 combo recorder. I own two of the similar earlier (2008 model year) versions, an early ZV450MW8 and later ZV450MW8A that are decent “garden variety” combo recorders, but [I]I do not recommend them for use in a serious dubbing/copying project. [/I] Combo recorders are satisfactory for viewing videotapes but are only satisfactory for occasional copying of videotaped material direct to DVD.

As I’m typing this post my Magnavox ZV450MW8 is being used as the videotape [I]player[/I] connected to my Philips 3576 that is transferring a portion of a videotape to its hard drive for later editing and high-speed dubbing to DVD. That transfer will conclude in six minutes, after which I will edit out some material and then high-speed dub the edited material to DVD for archiving.[/QUOTE]

Great info . . . thanks.

:clap: