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Discussing the DCT-6412, Home Theater Devices, Entertainment, Celebrity and the Cable Industry. Not affiliated with any Cable Company, Hardware Manufacturer or Software Developer.



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#1 12-29-2005 10:23:30 AM

dar
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Registered: 12-01-2005
Posts: 85
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Equipment Decision

Maybe you guys can help.

I'm thinking of replacing the existing VCR with a DVD recorder/VCR combo. The combo provides simple hookup and copying tapes and DVDs from each other along with saving from the DVR 6412.

I think having a DVD/VCR combo provides all the options that may be needed.

Any of you guys have good results with combos?

Thanks for any input.


Mitsubishi WD-52528, Motorola DCT-3416, Denon Recvr, Sony DVD, Panasonic DVD R/VCR, Harmony Remote, KEF Speakers

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#2 12-29-2005 12:39:51 PM

meshmellow
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Registered: 03-20-2005
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Re: Equipment Decision

dar wrote:

I'm thinking of replacing the existing VCR with a DVD recorder/VCR combo.
Any of you guys have good results with combos?

If you want to do any editing (eg. remove commercials), consider a DVD recorder with a hard drive.  I bought one of those combo machines, realized I had made a mistake, and sold it after a few months.  I replaced it with a Pioneer DVD/HD recorder.  I have a VCR connected to it, as well as the DCT6412, to transfer the occasional VHS tape to DVD.  It's actually easier with this machine than with the combo.

The combo Panasonic that I had would only allow pausing during recording on one of the formats.  Cueing was tricky and the remote was a bit confusing, since it was controlling two machines.  It was very difficult to do editing and offered no way to copy a DVD after I had made one.  The price difference was not all that great, especially considering the greatly improved flexibility.

meshmellow

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#3 12-29-2005 12:48:19 PM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
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Re: Equipment Decision

mesh -

Great real-world advice.  Usability and flexibility are important.  Thanks for that.

What inputs are on the Pioneer that you have?  I've been considering this kind of setup (as opposed to the Firewire --> Computer -->  Edit Out Commercials --> Downconvert --> Burn to DVD process).  Do you find that you lose a lot of quality outputting analog to the DVD recorder?

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#4 12-29-2005 5:33:57 PM

meshmellow
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Re: Equipment Decision

Frank wrote:

What inputs are on the Pioneer that you have?  I've been considering this kind of setup.  Do you find that you lose a lot of quality outputting analog to the DVD recorder?

Frank,

There are three sets of inputs (composite and S-video).  (There is also a firewire input, but it only works with a camera.)

I realize there is some conversion going on, but to tell the truth I've never been bothered by it.  Much of my viewing is on a 46 inch RPTV, too.  Digital channels look good when recorded on the Pioneer (as long as there isn't too much compression on the cable signal).  Some of the digital channels don't look all that great on my DCT6412, either.  As for analog channels, the Pioneer tuner can do a better job than the 6412.

I can record high definition channels (downconverted) on the Pioneer.  Of course, the quality suffers, but the recordings still look pleasing enough when using one of the stretch modes on my TV.  What I notice is a softer focus and less vivid colours.  Until a hi-definition DVR comes along, I'm happy enough.

I think there's a threshold of acceptability for me.  If there is no "grain", ghosts, herringbone lines, dropouts, glitches, or satellite sparkies, I forget about the quality of the picture and find myself immersed in the material (which is the real object of viewing, anyway).  I'm quite happy with the archival recordings I'm making and don't expect to worry about re-recording when a higher quality technology comes along.  I am replacing videotapes, and delighted with how little space my DVDs take up (in envelopes and boxes).

meshmellow

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#5 12-29-2005 5:55:51 PM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Re: Equipment Decision

meshmellow wrote:

I can record high definition channels (downconverted) on the Pioneer.  Of course, the quality suffers, but the recordings still look pleasing enough when using one of the stretch modes on my TV.  What I notice is a softer focus and less vivid colours.  Until a hi-definition DVR comes along, I'm happy enough.

That brings up another point, actually.  When I firewire out to the computer to begin downconversion to DVD, I'm able to maintain the aspect ratio of HD programs and then convert them to anamorphic widescreen to burn to the DVD.  If memory serves, S-Video out of the 6412 into an SD TV letterboxes the downconverted widescreen HD content to also preserve the widescreen aspect.  Same if you composite out to a VCR.

When you "S-Video out" to a DVD recorder, what happens to the widescreen HD content?  My guess, based partially on speculation and partially on your "stretch mode" comment, is that what winds up being burned to DVD is a non-anamorphic 4:3 picture with the HD content letterboxed inside it, and then you use your TV's stretch functions to blow it back up to fill the screen to some greater extent. 

I'm kind of attached to my widescreen content.  That's why I ask.

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#6 12-29-2005 10:23:29 PM

meshmellow
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Re: Equipment Decision

Frank wrote:

That brings up another point, actually.  When I firewire out to the computer to begin downconversion to DVD, I'm able to maintain the aspect ratio of HD programs and then convert them to anamorphic widescreen to burn to the DVD. 

When you "S-Video out" to a DVD recorder, what happens to the widescreen HD content?

I think you are right about stretching my HD downconverts to fill the screen again.  I can't check right now, since I left the Pioneer dubbing from the 6412 for the next two hours. 

Just now, I put a DVD I downconverted on one of my regular TVs and it comes out letterboxed (black bar above and below the picture).

You've made me take a close look at my DVDs to compare them with the original recording on the 6412.  It's true they don't look as good.  It hasn't bothered me (hope it won't now that I've done an A/B comparison ;-)

I'm sure you would do better with firewire and your computer.  I don't know if it's time consuming.  On the cable where I live, people have been complaining often (Digital home forum/Shaw cable) about the firewire being disabled, so I haven't wanted to commit myself to that method, even though I have a Macintosh computer and it's supposed to be relatively easy.

I can tell you, without going to check, that when I copy a program on a high definition channel that has black or grey bars on the left and right, from the 6412 to the Pioneer, I can't eliminate the sidebars by stretching.

Hope that's helpful.

meshmellow

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#7 01-01-2006 11:21:43 AM

dar
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Registered: 12-01-2005
Posts: 85
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Re: Equipment Decision

Okay, I've decided to buy a product to copy my vcr tapes to dvd using the DVD Xpress and my pc and therefore not need the VCR/DVD combo.

Not sure but I plan on replacing the VCR with either a DVR or just a DVD recorder.

Now, if I go the DVR route, could I eliminate the Comcast 6412 DVR, purchase the CableCard for $20 from Comcast for my TV?  Seems resonable to me.  Any thoughts or performance issues with this setup?

Thanks.


Mitsubishi WD-52528, Motorola DCT-3416, Denon Recvr, Sony DVD, Panasonic DVD R/VCR, Harmony Remote, KEF Speakers

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#8 01-03-2006 1:08:58 PM

dar
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Registered: 12-01-2005
Posts: 85
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Re: Equipment Decision

Well, upon further review, I think buying a DVR with HD will not work unless it has a digital tuner for HD.  So maybe I'll just keep the 6412 and buy a DVD recorder.
Maybe Comcast will come out with a new DVR with recording to dvd capabilities.


Mitsubishi WD-52528, Motorola DCT-3416, Denon Recvr, Sony DVD, Panasonic DVD R/VCR, Harmony Remote, KEF Speakers

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#9 01-03-2006 4:56:50 PM

JayMan
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From: Richmond, VA
Registered: 02-14-2005
Posts: 55
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Re: Equipment Decision

Frank wrote:

...  When I firewire out to the computer to begin downconversion to DVD, I'm able to maintain the aspect ratio of HD programs and then convert them to anamorphic widescreen to burn to the DVD.

Frank,

What software are you using for this?
Also, how complicated is the DVR-<Firewire>-PC(Win-XP) -> Edit ->Downconvert -> Burn DVD process?
What software/procedure do you use for these steps?

I will have to relocate the DVR to the office, main reason I havn't attempted yet.

JayMan

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#10 01-03-2006 5:10:57 PM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Re: Equipment Decision

It's described in great detail at this site from the "External Links" section here. It is fairly time consuming, but not all that complicated with the right software.

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