Need advice on settop DVD recorder

Hello everyone…This is my first post at this site. I could use some help in deciding to buy a DVD settop recorder. I have had some success in making backups of DVDs, but I have some concerns about recording cable broadcasts off-the-air. As you can probably tell I’ve had some issues with compatibility/usability and I don’t want to waste money on another piece of equipment that does not work the way I thought it would.
What I want to do is record broadcasted programs to temporary media DVD+RW and then burn permanent copies on my computer to DVD+R. If this is possible:
Do I need special media like for a settop cd recorder, or can I use standard DVD+RW media?
Do I need to format the media before I record?
Can I use my present burning software(DVD Shrink)?
Will I run into playback/compatibility issues?
If there are any issues I should also consider or any suggestions/recomendations, please let me know.
Thanks in advance to all that respond!!

Well a DVD VR records them either to the HDD or on a DVD+R in VR format (not the DVD Video format). Also you have the copyright flags to deal with, as they obey this and some won’t record and others have CPRM stuck on them. This is good for people who don’t know what computers are :smiley: Advanced and pros use “Capture Cards”.

For your needs, you want to invest in a capture card and then record the TV broadcasts onto your PC and then burn them to DVDs. ATI line are decently priced

Standard DVD+ or - media, depending on the DVR, works fine.

Do I need to format the media before I record?

The DVR will format the RW media for you, and rather quickly.

Can I use my present burning software(DVD Shrink)?

Yes, for burning the DVD±RW to R media. However, the price difference is minimal, so why not just keep the recordings on the RW media?

Will I run into playback/compatibility issues?

Basically no. However, for what you want to do, you should record in video mode instead of VR mode. You will run into compatibility issues with VR mode discs on your PC.

If there are any issues I should also consider or any suggestions/recomendations, please let me know.

Do a bit of research before purchasing a DVR. I didn’t, and bought a Cyberhome unit that was pure garbage. After 4 months, it thankfully died and would not read ANY disc. Looking for a replacement, I stumbled across the Pioneer DVR-220. This unit works flawlessly.

Thanks for the information, it is helpful. :slight_smile:
When you say I should record in video mode not VR mode is that something I can set in the DVR or the burning software?
Thamks again I appreciate the info.

I have the Panasonic e80h set top with a 80 gig Hard drive and I love it. So far no problems running things off basic cable and then editing out the comercials and whatever to burn to dvd-r or ram. It has found a couple of old tapes that got the copy protect on them still that it refuses to copy, and these were old dubs. I use my computer and dvd burners for that sort of thing anyways now. I use it like a Cheap tivo and then edit down and record the shows I like, erase the rest off the drive. Once they’re finalised most dvd players can read them, at least with the -r. I would get a machine with a HD if you wanna time shift or do a lot of basic editing before burning. Pioneer, Panasonic, and Toshiba make various ones with diferent sized HD’s, the cheaper chinese ones will be around soon :), probably with firmware hacks not far behind.
Mine will hold 18 hours in the best mode and 106 in the crappiest mode.

It’s a setting in the DVR. Note that not all DVRs support VR mode.

Thanks to everyone who responded, I appreciate the information.
I was trying to avoid going the hard drive route and do this on the cheap by recording on +RW discs and then burning it to +R discs in the computer. When you say you do the editing out of commercials and whatever, do you do this using the recorder or your computer? Sorry for all the basic questions but I am very new to this. Thanks again for all the help.

I edit it in the machine on the internal Hard Drive then once I get it where I want it I burn it to dvd. It has some good basic editing features built in, most machines with a HD should be able to do the same thing although they may do it differently or call it something else. The Panasonic calls it shortening a segment. It has beginning and ending screens and times plus a timline graph of sorts to help you figure out how far you are into the video your editing. It can also devide segments, and add chapter points and probably some more like naming and stuff.

Thanks for the help. Things are a bit clearer now.


I looked into the GoVideo 6740 DVD recorder - has some pretty good reviews and goes for like $199 + shipping from J & R ( ) which I thought was pretty reasonable-