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Having any problems with your DVD recorder?


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During the past month I?ve had problems with two different brands of DVD recorders.


I checked on some DVD recorder message boards, and it seems that a lot of people are having problems with several brands of DVD recorders.


How about anyone here? Have you had any problems with your DVD recorder?

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I haven't been able to play DVD's I record on my player (even after "finalizing") on other players in the house. Not sure if it is the discs?


Until I can figure this out, I'm not going to record any more -- relying instead on my VCR.

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I think we?re being cheated. I think these DVD recorders are not as compatible as the manufacturers claim they are. Also, they don?t last very long without breaking down.


I used a new Panasonic DMR-ES30V for about 5-6 months, recording movies off my satellite service directly onto disk, then the DVD started shutting down in the middle of movies, recording only about have of the movie.


So I went to my old VCR and recorded them then used the Panasonic to dub from VCR to DVD. That lasted about another 5 months then that stopped working. I sent the machine to an authorized Panasonic shop (out of town) and they tell me there is nothing wrong with it and I should use Panasonic disks. Well, I can?t get Panasonic disks in the town where I live, and the advertising for the product never said anything about it requiring Panasonic disks.


Then I bought a Magnavox DVD recorder to record movies while the Panasonic is in the shop and the Magnavox will not play any of my Panasonic disks.


So I returned the Magnavox and got my money back. The shop still has my Panasonic and they said they want me to come in and ?pick it up?. I told them I live 200 miles away.

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Good topic as I'm thinking about getting a DVD recorder. Is this a regular problem for others?


VHS tape just deteriorates too much over the years, I've found. I'm definitely behind the electronic curve regarding the latest, greatest stuff. I was hoping recorderable DVD machines would solve all my problems.

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Larry, I don?t know how to advise you, now. I had my $300 Panasonic only a few months before it began to have problems, then after 11 months it stopped recording DVDs altogether. I got the feeling that the machine just had a limited lifespan and after I dubbed over more than 100 disks on it (from my tape collection), it just couldn?t take it anymore and gave up. Then I got the Magnavox and it wouldn?t play any of my Panasonic disks, so I returned it and got my money back.


Here is a message board that discusses DVD machines:




You can see that everyone is excited about new models, but they also talk about all the problems they have.

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People on that DVD message board say that many DVD players have ?software? problems. I think the software is built into the microchips that are inside the machine. After a while they begin to malfunction. Apparently, one remedy is to unplug the machine for a few days then plug it back in. This somehow ?resets? the chips to their original factory configuration. One guy on that board says he has to unplug his DVD recorder after making 6 disks. He has to do this after every time he records 6 disks. Some kind of software problem with his Panasonic.



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I actually have to unplug my DVD recorder several times over the course of a few hours of straight use, otherwise it conks out. I use a cheap Protron, which used to work great with the timer setting but has since lost part of the use of that function. If I want to record with it now, I have to set the timer and keep the machine "on" or it won't turn on automatically to record. It gets stuck trying to power on and I have to unplug it to reset the darn thing. I used to dub VHS tapes onto DVD discs but found that I lost a considerable amount of resolution doing that, and the films end up looking like they've been rusting in a vault since they were made and released initially.


As to "finalizing" discs, I have found that they don't play on my other standard DVD players, but when I don't finalize, or "make compatible" I find that they play just fine. Go figure. I recorded most of Bette Davis' movies during the first 24 hours of their airing last month, and have only watched two of them I think, and what I love about DVD recording is the chapter feature, plus the fact that you don't have to rewind or fast forward while pressing play continuosly to find the start of a movie that was recorded among two others in the SLP mode on a six or eight hour VHS tape. With DVD discs you just play the titles by clicking on the thumbnails, and you can cycle through chapters like nothing. Excellent stuff, if only it worked perfectly everytime though.



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I have a Sony RDR - GX300 DVD Recorder that I have owned for 11 months and recorded over 1200 Movies on with no problem at all. This is the last good recorder that Sony made, now they out-source to Samsung and their products are all cheaply made. I visit the AVForum too to keep up with new brands:




I purchased a $49.00 Philps DVD Player so that I can save my GX300 for just recording.


This is an interesting item I found on the B&H web site. Sony RDR-GX300E "PAL" DVD Video at: http://www.bhphotovideo.com


Maybe ask on the AVForum about it?

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I'm also having lots of problems with my DVD recorder and they are listed as follows:


1. Cannot finalize if I record in SP and LP on DVD-R's and RW's.


2. If there are any interuptions during recording disk on DVD-R and RW's they will not finalize.


3.After about 50 re-records using DVD RW disks they will no longer read.


4. I have tried several brands such as Fuji and Sony and the both have failed after several re-records.


5.I haved tried call maker of my DVD player and they will not confess to any problems with their machine.


6. DVD player will lock up sometime during finalization process and I will have to unplug.


I read one post here where the DVD player was un-plugged and allowed to reset,have tried this and it works some.


Sorry I din't name my DVD player but I will on a reply,just cannot think of it now.

Sony will will replace any defective DVD free of charge


My solution to the DVD recorder problem by breaking out the old "Gat" and: "Giving it to them in the Belly"


All posters with DVD recorder issues should be looking towards class action suit.


The manufacturer of some DVD recorders have knowingly sold bad machines to the public.


Thanks to all for the DVD recorder info here great stuff!


Now keep your hands where I can see them!

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Thanks for the information, everyone.


I think there is a big problem in this particular part of the electronics industry right now. DVD recorders are very mechanically and electronically complicated, as compared to a radio or TV.


VHS video recorders are mechanically complicated, but they?ve maintained the same basic operational design for the past 25 years. But the DVD recorders? designs have been changing nearly every year, because of the addition of all the new different types of formats of disks, such as ?R, +R, RW, Ram, etc. Plus the manufacturers keep adding features such as timer record while off, timer record while on, dub from VHS to DVD with a timer or without a timer, and a ?push to dub? button. Plus a ?stop recording early? button feature, and each machine must be designed to automatically detect each different kind of disks. These added ?extra features? make the software inside the microchips more complicated.


I used to work for a TV station where we used professional tape equipment, and I used to work as an editor of a CB radio magazine. So I learned a little about consumer electronic equipment.


First, if we pay $300 for a VHS/DVD recorder, the store we buy it from often gets to mark up the price as much as 100% over what they paid for it from the company it is from. So while we pay $300, the store might have paid $150. Then the company whose name is on the unit (such as Panasonic) probably marked it up 100% after they got it from the factory in Japan or China that made it. So they paid about $75 for it. Then the factory that made it needs to make a profit, so they mark it up 100% when they sell it to the company whose name they put on the unit. So it cost the factory about $37.50 to make the unit. And we wind up paying $300 for a $37.50 piece of equipment.


Since my $300 machine has a VHS recorder and a DVD recorder in it, we can split that $37.50 manufacturing cost in half, and figuring it cost about $18.75 to make the VHS side and $18.75 to make the DVD side of the unit, and so I wind up paying $300 for a DVD recorder that cost $18.75 to manufacture, and that piece of junk broke down after only 11 months of use, and the authorized Panasonic repair shop doesn?t seem to know how to repair it and they don?t want to replace it.

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In the USA, the main federal government agency in charge of consumer protection is the US Federal Trade Commission. I?ve looked up some of the FTC websites, and here is a list of them:


Main US Federal Trade Commission website:



Consumer information:



Consumer/company dispute information:



Consumer problems information:



Warrantee information:



While searching around on the FTC website I found a couple of reports about how the FTC had to take action against Philips Electronics because they were purposely defrauding the public regarding their ?rebate? programs. Seems that they weren?t paying out their rebate checks as they promised.


Maybe we can file some complaints with the FTC about the bad quality of these DVD recorders and encourage them to investigate this part of the electronics industry.


These companies pretend that their DVD recorders are all completely compatible, and in their advertisements and listed on the box they come in from the store, they list the types of disks they use, but then we get them home and we find they are not compatible and that some of them will not record on the disks they claim to be able to record on. Some machines work for a while but then they stop working after a couple of months, and many of the companies refuse to repair or replace them.


I think we, as consumers, should demand that the machines should work in the first place, and they should last more than a few months. For example, I?m still using a 7 year old HP printer that I paid only $125 for 7 years ago. My last computer lasted about 6 years of daily use. All of my TVs last at least 4 to 6 years. My VCR recorders last 3 to 5 years of almost daily use. My Direct TV tuner box has been left on, all the time, for the past 8 years, with no problems at all with it.

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I purchased a Toshiba RD-XS34 DVD 160GByte HDD recorder--February of this year. Over the past few years I have slowly replaced all my video equipment with Toshiba (old stuff--Hitachi, Sony, Panasonic). Why? My opinion--Toshiba engineers the best video electronics (for home use). Toshiba is not necessarily the best equipment made, simply the best of the equipment targeted for non-professional buyers.


The good:


I have created approximately 150 plastic disks since February. Four bad disks, all because of operator error...not equipment malfunction.


I use Taiyo Yuden 16X DVD-R Media 4.7GB Silver disks only (recommended by Toshiba for the unit). In fact, I am purchasing 500 blanks today (before Taiyo Yuden quits manufacturing the item).


I record only to HDD and transfer to plastic disk. This method allows the operator to edit movies to running length before making the plastic disk.


Many of the recordings have been checked in other recorders (Toshiba and Sony)--no problems playing the plastic disks.


The bad:


TV Guide is the installed software (TiVO-like) and is a problem. It took two weeks before the TV Guide 'grabbed' television listings. A month ago my cable provider re-ordered their line-up...the recorder TV Guide did not acquire new listings until the unit was un-plugged for a few seconds. Note that the "un-plug" requirement (to reset TV Guide) was not mentioned in any of the supplied manuals (three of 'em). We had to get the "un-plug" instructions from the TV Guide web site.


The Toshiba supplied remote gets very heavy use. I thought the remote would probably crap out long before the recorder. I purchased a second remote on line for about 38 dollars (my spare).


A couple of other problems and notes concerning this unit. Copy once source material allows recording to HDD but not to DVD-R. However, this unit does allow recording to DVD-RAM (Toshiba supplies one disk). DVD-RAM does not recognize copy protect 'flags'. I have not used the DVD-RAM mode of recording. This recorder uses "playlists" for editing purposes--that is, an original is first recorded on the HDD and a playlist is created from the original. I have discovered that a playlist should not be edited. Changing a playlist in any way will cause complete lock-up of the recorder if you try to create a plastic disk from the playlist. The only thing to do if the unit locks up is un-plug and let the unit initialize. If the operator screws up the playlist, always delete and make a new playlist from the source original.


I have no opinion about longevity of the recorder or the plastic disks. I have not used the equipment and disks more than four months. I do know that labeling disks is a problem--I use a sharpie and label around the center hole only...avoiding the "silver" area of the plastic disk.



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I got a dvd recorder for Christmas 2005, and I have recorded over 100 dvd-r's in all modes--SP, LP, EP and haven't had any problems at all. I have recorded using the timer mode and one-touch recording. It is a Pioneer DVD-220. I always finalize the discs and so far they have played on our other cheapie dvd player, our computer, and the dvd players of several friends and family members. So far, I haven't come across any dvd player that they won't play in. I have used blank discs by Fuji, Sony, Panasonic, and Verbatim. They all work great.


After reading all these posts, I hope that my dvd recorder doesn't conk out on me! I love it and the quality is so much better than my old vhs tapes.


Sandy K

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Thanks for all the tips from everyone! Ok, now I?m leaning toward investigating a new Toshiba unit and giving up on Panasonic.


But, there have been some new developments in my Panasonic saga. The Panasonic-approved repair shop, located 200 miles away from me, still says they can find nothing wrong with my DVD, and they are going to ship it back.


In the meantime, I found a Panasonic 800 number today, and I called it this morning. I had an odd experience with the robot who answered the telephone. A nice robotic lady?s voice answered and she said she was ?an automated Panasonic representative.? She was a recording... or, basically, a series of recordings. She (?it?) told me she could understand plain English and she asked me to state what my problem was. Well, my problem was really complicated, and half-way through my story this robot lady interrupted me and asked if my call fit any of the following categories: purchase, equipment information, repair, etc., etc., and I said ?repair?. Then the robot asked me for my zip code. I gave her my phone number by mistake, and she said something like, ?No, I need your zip code.? So, feeling like a danged fool, I gave her my zip code. Then she told me to send my unit to the repair shop in Albuquerque.


I told her I already did that, and I started whining about how they said they didn?t know how to repair it, and nothing was wrong with it, and I felt like an idiot telling this story to a robot. She paused a while, as if she were listening to my sad story and paying attention, but then in the middle of the story she went through another list of possibilities and subjects so she could direct me to the right department at Panasonic. I spoke out some key-words like ?broke?, ?malfunction?, ?kaput?, ?needs repair?, and ?doesn?t work?. She said she would put me through to the right department. Then there was a pause and after a few seconds, she came on the line again, pretending to be a lady from the right department. But I knew this dame?s voice by now and she wasn?t about to fool me into thinking she was someone else in some other department!


By then I was beginning to get mad. I decided to try hitting the ?0? button on the phone, hoping to get to a live operator, but when I did that, the robot quickly said something like, ?That doesn?t work here.?


Now I?m insulted and mad. What am I doing wasting my time with this robot? The conversation is going no place! Undeterred, she went through another list of possibilities and she wanted me to respond with just the right word, but by then I was very mad and angry and upset, and I wanted to talk to a real person, and I was trying to think of some key-word that the robot would understand and accept. Finally, in a very sarcastic way I shouted the word ?HUMAN!? into the telephone.


Very patiently, the robot lady said something like, ?Oh, you want to talk to one of our service representatives? Please answer ?yes? or ?no?.?


I answered ?yes? and she put me right though to a real human. I was a little astonished that the robot realized that I was getting mad, and she understood that I wanted to talk to a real person, and she ? apparently ? realized that she (the robot) was not a real person.

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So when I finally got through to a real human at Panasonic, I told her the overall problem.


She said that my Panasonic DMR-ES30V was probably made before 2005 and was basically obsolete by the time I bought it from a Sam?s store last May. She said it was designed for 4x disks, and she asked if I had been using 8x and 16x disks with it.


I said yes. She said she needed to send me a ?firmware upgrade disk.? These are free. They somehow contain new software that can upgrade an ?obsolete? machine so that it will accept the newer 8x and 16x disks.


So, as it stands now, the repair shop is going to send back my unit, and Panasonic is going to send me the ?firmware? disk.


In the meantime, I?ve learned from several other people on the internet that sometimes these machines need to be unplugged for a while. Some people say they might need to be unplugged for several days. So, I?ve been thinking that since the unit was unplugged for about 3 days while it was being shipped to the repair shop, maybe something ?reset? itself inside the machine during that time, so maybe it did work while in the shop, and hopefully it will work again when I get it back. If not, hopefully the ?firmware? will work on it.


Geez, I?m an old guy. I?m not used to all these modern complications with electronic gadgets. When we bought a radio, TV, or phonograph back in the old days, they lasted for at least 10 years and sometimes longer, with no problems at all. I still use a Sears electric drill and a Sears electric saber saw that my dad bought around 1959. That was 47 years ago, and they still work.

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I have to use 8x Discs in my Sony RDR-GX300 machine according to my owners manual. I bought Verbatim 16x Discs by mistake once and they worked fine so next time I got Fuji 16x Discs and my machine locked up on me (I had to unplug it and plug it back in to reset it again). Verbatim Discs must be more forgiving than Fuji Discs.


According to what I have been reading it may be best to have a stand alone DVD Recorder and VCR instead of a combo because there are less things that can go bad on it. When using two stand alones, plug the VCR into Line-3 in the back of the DVD Recorder and when you want to copy a VHS tape just select Line-3 as the input on the DVD Recorder.


I hope the firmware works for you and that is all that was wrong with your Panasonic.

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Thanks for all the information. I think we should use this thread to report any problems with any of our DVD recorders (or VHS recorders). I didn?t realize until recently that so many of the new DVD recorders have all kinds of recording and media and incompatibility problems. Maybe we can help each other out regarding these problems, especially people who aren?t very familiar with electronic equipment.


It is a shame to buy a DVD recorder and have it not work or not be compatible with other players or to have it last only a few months before breaking down.


I?ll let everyone know what happens to my Panasonic when I get it back from the shop and put the firmware disk in it.


Anyone who buys a new machine and uses it successfully for several months, let us know so we will know what would be a good type of recorder to buy in the future.


By the way, I found that some of my oldest video tapes ? 20 to 25 years old ? were still in perfect condition after I dug them out of boxes that I had packed them in many years ago. What seems to damage video tapes is frequent playing, putting them in and taking them out of the machine, rewinding, fast forward with sudden stops. So, our old tapes should be ok for many years, if we don?t use them. But we can dub them to DVD and then store the old tapes. When our DVD wears out, we can make another dub of them, and the original tapes should remain in good condition for years.


Allie: I think you are right about separate ?stand alone? units. That way if one goes out, it doesn?t affect the other one.

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Just a note about an update on this:


Apparently some DVD recorders purchased within the last year or so were designed to record only on 4x or 8x disks, but now stores sell 16x and even 54x disks.


If your DVD recorder fails to record on one of these new type of disks, you need to call the company?s manufacturer (they often have an 800 number printed on their box or in their instructions manual) and asked for a ?firmware upgrade?.


This ?firmware upgrade? is usually a free disk which the manufacturer will send to you. You put it in your DVD and it is supposed to update the internal software inside the machine automatically.


Also, if you have some odd problems with your recorder, with it doing odd things and being unable to record and finalize a disk, you might need to unplug the recorder for a couple of days so the software will reset itself. Also, you might need to use specific types of DVD disks that have the same manufacturer?s name as your recorder.


In addition, if the +R disk function of your recorder stops working, you might try using ?R disks.


The designs and internal software of DVD recorders are changing so rapidly, certain problems might result in using some types of disks that are not compatible with your brand of recorder.


The problem with my Panasonic recorder started when I began using Sony 16x +R disks. I had been recording successfully on Verbatim 8x disks for a year. Now I?m using Panasonic 8x ?R disks and they are working ok. And Panasonic is sending me a ?firmware upgrade? disk to upgrade the software in my machine so it will accept 16x disks.


Also note: If your recorder becomes ?unresponsive?, you should unplug it and let it sit a day or so. This means the software is messed up and needs to be reset. It is possible that some of the newer disks, which contain software on each disk, might not match the software of your recorder. You?ll need to unplug your recorder for a while and see about ordering a firmware upgrade disk from the manufacturer.

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Fred, this is so stunningly sad that it leaves me speechless.


The fact that we here in America accept this kind of service is very telling. I pity us all.


I've tried, with varying success...you're right, some robots just hang up on me...hitting the zero key twice. This sometimes jars the robot into switching to a human, but I imagine the great big important companies who only want to know us up until the point of making the sale and not thereafter have figured out that we are hitting zero twice and have quickly found a workaround.


Never mind that they are NOT putting the time into making a better product that they are into the robots who so frustrate us, but hey, as my father says, if you don't like it, move out of America.

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I have a Panasonic DMR-EH50 which in theory will only accept 8X disks. I've been using 16X Memorex media in it, and it works fine with only a couple of coasters out of 200 or so movies. Firmware can help, but so can switching brands of media.


I do think it's a good idea if you can afford it to get a machine with an internal hard drive. I record to the hard drive, then dub the DVDs from there. If I lose a DVD or two along the way, I haven't lost the movie.

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