Most helpful critical review
89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Not for home Use....atleast not my home
on March 19, 2011
I will try to give anyone interested in this unit some important informa to consider. It did not work for me at all, but it might work for you. To begin the unit is marketed by JVC but I do not think it is their original product. The unit comes in a basic box with no company advertising on it. It does say JVC on the unit but on the menu screens during operation make no reference to JVC at all. It looks very much like the TASCAM Blu-Ray recorder and I would guess it is the repackaged same unit.
First the unit will record to BD-R and BD-rewritable formats as well as DVD-R and RW (not DVD+R or RAM). It will read from +R discs. It is copy protected so if you think you can duplicate store bought DVDs and BDs, you can put that thought to rest....you cannot. All material must go through the HDD first. There is no direct recording to blank media. This is not a bad thing as you can do editing when the title is on the HDD. The unit has several recording modes for High Def and Standard Def. It has NO flexible bitrate modes so you must use the standard modes. For example, for HD recording it offers modes of 2 hours / 4 hours or 6 hours on a 25g disc. The times modes are the same for SD. You can do direct dubbing from a disc to HDD as long as it is copy protected. This means you can dub your TV recordings of CSI to the HDD. It will re-encode the material at the mode selected, for instance SP for 2 hours (SD). This would be a very good thing if you had commericals recorded and you wanted to remove them and then dub the edited title to another disc. You can do those kinds of edits. If your original recording had chapter marks they will appear in the same spots on the HDD dub so you can remove them and input them where you want, or delete portions of the recording, give it a title and select a thumbnail image that will appear on the final menu. These things are pretty nice options.
This is where my problem with the machine came into play. First it has no COMPONENT INPUT, so for me recording HD could only be done from a HD video camera, which I do not own. My cable TV HD box has only a component output but no HD-DV output, which is what this unit requires for HD dubbing, so I could not dub recorded HD to this machine. I could have lived with that.
On page 28 of the manual it gives recoding lengths for each recording mode and how they apply to each recording format. For example, if you record a title in the SP mode, which is 2 hour on standard definition 4.7g DVD-R it would translate to 10.5 hours on a 25g BD-R. To any reasonable person this would imply that this machine could actually put standard defintion on a BD-R? It cannot. If you record in standard definition you must dub it to a DVD-R or RW. It cannot be dubbed to BD-R. So why tell the buyer that you can get 10.5 hours of standard definition on a BD-R disc, when this machine cannot do it. I do not know, I tried to ask JVC and got no response.
This is what happens if you try. I wanted to take all 14 Sherlock Holmes movies starring Basil Rathbone and put them on 2 BD-Rs in standard definition. Using page 28 as a guide, I did my math and they would fit easily with an hour to spare on each disc. This would be using the SP mode for standard definition. First I had to dub them from the original discs which I recorded off TCM. I had one disc per movie recorded at approximately 7.2 mb/s which is a high birate and would be re-encoded to the SP level of 5.0 but this would mean very little actual loss of image quality. The encode in real time. I did all 14. I should have done one and tested it. It would have saved me 20 hours.
The actual dubbing process went smoothly and all 14 titles were nicely stored on the HDD. I did have to pick the thumbnail images for each and input titles, which is horribly difficult on this machine compared to DVD recorders from Panasonic and Pioneer. After completing this, I inserted my first blank BD-R, only to see the message, disc is incompatible. I had purchased 20 GIGABLOCK discs on Ebay as they were the only ones I could find that said they would work with this unit....they do not. I went to Bestbuy and bought a three pack of Verbatim at $15. The machine recognized that disc and formated it. So stay away from cheap discs in this unit. I followed the dubbing from HDD to BD-R instructions and when the unit detected that a BD-R was inside, I got the message, titles will be dubbed in HD qualty only. I could not change this. I thought well let us try. I selected the first title to be dubbed and received a message that read "some titles cannot be dubbed). This is all it said, just some titles canot be dubbed. This message does not appear anywhere in the manual. No matter what title I selected no standard definition title could be dubbed to a BD-R disc. I put in a standard DVD-R and it would have dubbed it with no problem. I checked in the manual under record mode convertion thinking that I could somehow tell it to do what I needed done, afterall the page 28 graph, said a BD-R could hold 10.5 hours of SD on a disc. But I found that only HD titles on the HDD can be converted down to SD, so you can take a high definition title and put it on DVD-R but it is re-encoded in the mode to fit on the disc.
So that is it for me on the unit, I hope it helps people make a decision. It was a horrible mistake for me, but luckily I had a 15 day return policy to protect me, so I am only out shipping cost. If your HD cable box has a HD-DV output or you want to put your HD videos from your camera on disc, this unit may be very good for you. It just did not work for me. A word of warning even on some of that, as I understand it, many HD broadcasts have copy protection built it which allows only one copy of the material. For this unit that would likely be the transfer to the HDD, it then may not allow dubbing to disc, unless it was converted to SD.