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271 of 278 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
The MDR535H/F7 is one of three in the 53x Series... 533 and 537 are the others. This 535 has a 500GB HDD while the others have 320GB and 1000GB (1TB) HDDs.

More info at > Forums > Video Components > DVD Recorders > Magnavox 537, 535, 533, 515, 513, 2160A, 2160, 2080 & Philips 3576, 3575.

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The Mag 533/535/537 (53x) Series is the 8th, and possibly final, generation of simple, family-friendly, durable, std def (SD, 480i) analog/digital DVD recorders (DVDR) with hard disk drive (HDD) that are yearly improvements of the same basic design and operating system.

They're the ONLY recorders, SD or HD (720/1080), available for daily use in North America with:

-NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuners for antenna or cable.
-Easily replaceable/upgradeable/expandable hard-disk drive (HDD).
-Easily replaceable DVD drive for burning/playing DVD discs.
-Widescreen (16:9) recording.
-Amplified coax passthru w/unit on or off.
-Amplified coax and line inputs.
-DV input.
-Coax digital audio out.
-1080p HDMI upconvert.
-36 timer-rec programs.
-6-hour autorecord buffer.
-Pause & rewind live TV.
-Chase play.
-Simultaneous play/record.
-Record while watching diff. channel on TV via coax passthru.
-Integrated TV/DVDR control via HDMI CEC-link.
-1-2 hour power backup, dep. on whether Auto Clock is off or on.
-Simple editing for your archive copies or home movies.

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The 53x Series are standalone units that can record from antenna or cable coax. They also have line inputs so they can record from cable boxes and satellite receivers or copy from VCRs, DVRs, cameras and camcorders.

They're so easy to use they can be operated by the entire family, from kids to timeshifters to gearheads.

Timeshifters can reliably record a bunch of named shows, unattended and with NO tapes or discs.

Gearheads can upgrade their HDD or create an "HDD farm" of multiple 2.5" and 3.5" external (E-SATA) HDDs with unlimited storage, <1-min. drive swapout, HDD portability, and external power for less internal heat and stress.

The DVD burner is also DIY replaceable with a ~$70 OEM unit.

For the past 5 years, this same HDD/DVD recorder design has proven to be a simple and reliable way to record your daily and weekly shows on analog or digital channels, completely unattended, so you can go on a long vacation or business trip and you'll never touch a disc!

It's the only device you'll need to copy your family's home movies or your DVR recordings to a stand-alone, no-monthly-fee HDD, where you can edit or not, then high-speed dub to DVDs for a perfect mirror-image of the original. You can also record/copy direct to DVD, if you prefer.

If you get your TV signal via OTA antenna, you won't need a digital converter box wherever you've got one of these.

Fair warning: The HDD will spoil you rotten!

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If you looked at or have one of the previous models in the Philips or Mag HDD/DVD series, you might only need to know that, with the 53x Series, Funai is basically only satisfying a "Primary Wish": KEEP MAKING THE MDR515!.

The 53x Manual reads virtually the same as the 515 manual, except they now show 999 titles possible on the HDD instead of 600.

One major disappointment, other than the fact that the MDR53x Series doesn't add any new capabilities, is that the remote still operates the older Mag HDD/DVD recorders, the 2080, 2160, 2160A, 513 and 515. Users of multiple Mag machines will still have to use barriers to operate a single machine.

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Be aware that the 53x manual STILL has several important errors, omissions, and misleads.
Three of the worst are:

Makes this DVDR a "slave" to the box! It should be 1st on the incoming cable coax unless you order PPV/VOD thru the box... only then do you need a 2-way splitter on the incoming coax. The coax circuit on this DVDR passes the raw signal thru to the box, so this DVDR can "pick off" (record) ANY unscrambled channel in the signal. It should NEVER be behind a cable box where it can only record the channel the box is tuned to... EVEN IF ALL YOUR CABLE CHANNELS ARE SCRAMBLED (makes no diff.). Of course, you must do an Auto Channel Preset > Cable (Analog/Digital) to make sure your DVDR sees and memorizes the unscrambled channels (if any).

Frustrates many new users! In the Scene Delete menu, only REW stops on 1st frame and only PLAY and FF stop on last frame. 2160, 2160A and 513 also had a totally confusing and unnecessary auto-Preview after an End Cut that should be IGNORED. At least the 53x Series doesn't have the confusing auto-preview!

This half-truth has caused more misunderstanding than almost anything else in the manual. It's a "deep" technical subject that didn't need to be there! It HAS TO record a 4:3 aspect pic FRAME because the DVD Std was built on the old 4:3 VHS Std, but the DVD std allows a combo of square/non-square pixels, variable horiz. rez, compression and decompression within that 4:3 frame. THAT'S what allows your HDTV to stretch the "non-square" (rectangular) pixels of a WS image inside that 4:3 frame to natural 16:9 WS aspect. You just need to set this DVDR's Video > TV Aspect to "16:9 Wide" and your HDTV on its "Wide" aspect setting. However, this DVDR's DEFAULT setting for aspect ratio is "4:3 Letter Box" so you have to change that to 16:9 Wide during setup or none of your recordings will be 16:9 WS!

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More info at > Forums > Video Components > DVD Recorders > Magnavox 537, 535, 533, 515, 513, 2160A, 2160, 2080 & Philips 3576, 3575.

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Disclaimer: I have never represented or worked for Funai or any seller in any capacity... and currently don't work for anyone else! -:)
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126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2013
This DVR provides the functionality of a DIgital Video Recorder (DVR) for off-air TV with no ongoing cost for cable, satellite, or TiVo. The only basic drawback is that setting up a recording schedule is like with the old VCR's - you look up the schedule yourself of the program (TV Guide has a free App for the schedules on your tablet or smart phone); set the time and channel; and label the recording using the remote.

This DVR seems fully as sensitive as my TV's in finding and programming in the stations available in my area. And the DVR provides a loop out of the RF antenna signal for the TV set if your set can receive digital TV (meaning the set is not much older than 10 years old). It has an HDMI output, component HD outputs, and even the old standard S-Video and old style analog video along with Stereo audio and a digital audio output.

If you view the TV through the DVR as the receiving device, you can stop, back-up, and fast forward (up to present) live video. You can use your TV to watch live video with its own tuner and record another channel with the DVR. If you record video in HQ (highest quality, but it takes more space on the DVR) the recordings appear to be in HIgh Definition that looks about the same to me on my TV as watching them live.

This device also allows you to record either live, or from a program previously recorded on the hard drive; to a recordable DVD which can be played in the DVR or in another DVD player. This will be at standard DVD resolution however, not HD.

In my opinion the only real negative is that the device could really use an Ethernet port so you could access your recordings from your computer or play Internet sourced video. However, for the price I am very satisfied with what I have. I was so impressed I ordered a second unit for the bedroom. A very minor issue is that the remote button layout is a bit cluttered.

Reccomendation regarding reliability:
I am a retired electronic engineer. The hotter and the more complex the electronics the more likely the device from any maker is to fail. You cannot help that modern electronics are complex, but you can make sure they have adequate ventilation so they do not overheat and prematurely die:

(1) Open up the back of your TV or stereo cabinet where the electronics are located so they can get ventilation. I drill several 2 or 3 inch diameter holes to provide ventilation - you cannot see them from the front, so go ahead and "Swiss-cheese" the inside back of the cabinet. It's best to do this when the wife isn't around and be sure to vacuum up the shavings before she gets back.

(2) Do not stack electronics directly on top of each other - use a couple of wood 1x2's or even better 1" square metal tubes to provide at least 3/4 inches vertical spacing when electronic components are stacked. Locate these spacers front to back for best air flow, toward the edges so the feet rest on them.

(3) Orgainize your cables and wiring neatly - at least going into and out of the shelves where the electronics are located. A bundle or two of wires leaves more space for air flow in and out of the cabinet than a tangle of wires and cables.

Cutting the Cable or Satellite Cord
I have been disgusted by the ongoing and periodic disputes between the networks and local TV stations and Satellite and Cable Companies that results in losing a favorite network station during these disputes. There is a relatively simple and ultimately MUCH CHEAPER solution - I hooked up an off-air antenna in my attic (with amplifier) and used the existing cable feeds in the attic to feed my TV's. That gives me all the broadcast HDTV networks plus each has 2 or 3 lower definition channels usually with older syndicated shows or movies. And, digital broadcast TV is not at all like the old style broadcast TV. Off-air comes in perfectly with no snow or static. The HDTV network picture is actually slightly better than off of cable or satellite. Most of the missing programs that my wife and I enjoy from HGTV, History Channel, and Discovery are available via Internet - such as from Amazon Prime for free. The only remaining niche in cutting the cable was a DVR for off-air broadcasts that does not require a subscription. This DVR fills that need perfectly!

After using this for several months I have noticed two minor but slightly annoying issues:
(1) When I am watching a previously recorded program from the hard drive and the DVR is also recording off the air at the same time, there are occasional slight pauses in the program I am watching.
(2) I have noticed that the audio is slightly out of sync with the video in playing back the video. It wasn't obvious at first.

Cutting the cable:
I have not regretted cutting the cable - Every month I save about $60!

I am not affiliated with Magnavox, Amazon, Funai or any other company. I am a recently retired electronic engineer
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2012
We had been using a Panasonic DVR for several years. When new, the recorder was great, including the VCR-DVD portion which I used to convert old VHS home movies. However it soon became a pain because it would freeze-up and required constant rebooting. Finding a suitable replacement seemed difficult until I discovered the Magnavox.

Having Googled through various brands, I decided to go with the Magnavox because it: a-had both analog and digital tuners; b-recorded via hard drive and DVD; c-would begin scheduled recording while we were watching a previously recorded program. These were options that were definitely important to us.

What we didn't anticipate were some other features that are impressive, like placing a hold on scheduled recordings without having to cancel them (going on vacation), quick deleting of selected programs, and very intuitive remote with great features such as the "skip" forward or "Skip back."

Picture quality on digital side with HDMI cable yields a great picture on our Panasonic Plasma.

There are other features which we haven't had time to enjoy but will investigate later.

Ordered it through Wal-Mart on-line ($249) with free delivery to our local store. Had a two-week estimated delivery but was available within four days, probably because a Wal-Mart distribution center was only a day's drive from us. Walked in to the store's pick-up counter and was out within a couple minutes.

UPDATE 2/20/2013

Have discovered a problem but haven't contacted Magnavox yet. If the DVDR is in the midst of recording a program when I select the DVDR input on my TV, and I then initiate playback of an older recording, there is no audio with either the recording or the program that's being recorded. However, if I'm already playing a previously recorded program prior to when a programmed recording begins recording, the audio is remains OK.
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62 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2012
The first unit I received worked fine except for a tuner problem that was sporadic. When I would key in a channel the display would indicate it had gone to the new channel, but was in fact still on the original channel. Its like it would get hung up on a channel. But it would work most of the time. Also, especially if I was recording two programs back to back, but different channels, sometimes it would record the second program, indicating it was from the new channel, when in fact it continued to record the channel of the first program. I returned the unit and ordered a new one.

The second unit had a problem with standby mode. Any time the unit was cut off, after about 5 seconds it would lose the time, and all programs. It would also need to re-scan for all the channels when turned back on. I returned this unit and order a third one.

The third one seemed to work fine for two weeks and then it starting having the same tuner problems as the first unit. It cost $22 shipping each time I return the unit, so I'm going broke on shipping costs. I am going to call Magnavox and see if they can resolve this problem. Possibly I'm doing something wrong during the setup, but I can't imagine what it would be.

Other that these problems, I am very satisfied with how the unit works, ease of use and quality of recordings. I hope to eventually get one that has no problems.

UPDATE - 2-25-13

Continued to have problems with the unit hanging up on a channel and not changing to the next one to be recorded. The only way to get it to go to another channel when this happens is to use the "channel up/down button". Contacted Magnavox Customer Support and was told the problem is that I'm connecting the TV cable directly to the unit. They said the signal coming into my house is QAM and the unit does NOT have a QAM tuner. They said the problem could possibly be fixed by re-scanning the channels, but I've had no luck with that. They told me if that doesn't work, then I would need to get an external cable box to run the signal through. For me that would make the unit worthless because you could not program the unit to record unless you first remembered to change the channel in the cable box prior to recording. They went on to say none of their products, including their TV's came with QAM tuners. That tells me that all their products are worthless to me as far as their tuners. They may as well come with no tuner if all their products require an external cable box to work. I'm going to keep the unit since I have no other options and just live with this problem since the unit works 90% of the time, but I can no longer recommend it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2013
I have nothing but praise for the Magnavox MDR535H. I have been using it for about 3 weeks, and it has performed exactly as advertised. I have not tried to record to DVD yet, but I will be doing so soon. Meanwhile, I've been recording to the hard drive every day. I have had no problems what so ever. I record the programs I want to watch but that are on at odd times, and watch them when I'm ready.
I had an LG DVD VCR recorder before I bought this, and it woked just fine. But it was reaching the end of it's life and I really wanted a machine with a hard drive so I didn't have to keep using RW DVD's over and over. Well LG quit making recorders of any kind. Thus I decided to try the Magnavox. It is one of the vary few HDD recorders that doesn't require you to have a subscription to some "service" to use. Heck, I don't even have cable or dish. I use an antenna and do just fine.
A word about the manual; the one that comes with this machine is the best I've seen in years. It's easy to find what I'm looking for and gives me the answer I'm looking for. Both it and the unit itself are vary intuitive, especialy if you have any experience with DVD-VCR recorders.
I highly recomend this machine for anybody who works or is otherwise busy, and wants to record shows to watch later. It will save a ton on DVDs alone.
The only negative worth mentioning is that the remote is a little large and clunky.(Why doesn't anybody make their remote flat on the bottom so you can press the buttons with one hand if laid on a flat surface?) But hey, it works, and I don't carry it in my pocket. So no problem.
Great product.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2013
I bought this unit on Thanksgiving 2013.

Unlike most people, I bought this unit strictly to convert my VHS tapes to the HDD and then burn them to DVD. It is a great unit for that purpose and it works wonderfully outside of one major flaw.

When playing back the video that's been recorded on the HDD, it will freeze up for a split second as if it was paused and unpaused very quickly. This isn't an isolated instance, many people that have recently bought this unit are experiencing the same thing, no matter what source they record from. So far, this problem is only known to exist when recording in HQ and SP modes. Magnavox has stated that it's a defect and needs to be returned/repaired.

But I otherwise love this unit thus far. I'll update my review after I get it repaired.

Update: January 7, 2014
I received a replacement unit from Amazon under their return policy but this unit also has the same problem. Not terribly surprising since many people have had a similar problem with these units. Just disappointing.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
The unit works as described and does everything well. The tuner section's just amazing. It get's every station better than my flat panel, or any other TV in the house, and it does so without digital breakup. Extremely clear and bright. If the whole unit holds up, it'll be a really great product.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2013
Ever since the dawn of digital TV transmissions and the loss of mature well designed tuners and recorders I have been in search of a decent product. Through the years I found the LiteOn LVW-1105HC and the JVC DR-MV150B to be representative of the best available ATSC tuner/recorders. I would give these units 3 stars and 1 star respectively.

After looking at the specs and studying the manual for the Magnavox MDR535H I decided to give it a try. My expectations were low which is why I got the extended warranty.

This is an early review. I have only been using the unit for a couple of days, trying as many functions that I can think of. OTA to HDD, VCR to HDD, timer record, one touch record, replay. I am pleasantly surprised. Everything has worked quite well. Maybe the user interface needs a little work yet, but this 70 something nerd has been able to figure out most things.

My use is over the air TV, no cable, no satellite, no U-verse. I use an HDTV with ATSC tuner. I also use a trusty VCR with a 'dish' converter for when I really want timed recording to work without reservation; an old Panasonic VCR can be counted on.

One thing that disappoints is the lack of a program guide to set up for recording. The 'dish' unit uses the program guide quite effectively and it is a 5 year old product. For this reason I am giving it 4 stars for now. I will update my review in a week or two.


It has been about 2 months since I got the unit and the only problem I have had is a timed program that had no video or audio. The labels showed the correct length, date and time, but nothing was recorded. I still find the user interface in need of some work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
I bought the 500GB model in December and it has been working flawless. I used to have a Toshiba DVD Recorder with NO HDD, and it always locked up (very frustrating), anyway it died.

The Magnavox 535H has been working great, used every day. I didn't know the HDD to DVD dubbing process took less time than the actual recorded time! Great feature! Also, I read that the HDD and the DVD burner it pretty much replaceable by the user (yes I have a electronics degree and know the stuff). That was another plus, since especially the HDD do give out after time.

The tuner is decent to me. Compared to the Toshiba I had the Magnavox is more sensitive and catches more over-the-air digital signal. I just hope nothing other than the HDD or the DVD burner gives me problem. I had to ship the Toshiba back and came back "nothing wrong" but I still had to reset (completely unplug the AC) the unit every week, and it was a pain because it took so much time to search the channels.

I am very happy with the Magnavox 535H, the 500GB of HD give me so much room! And the dubbing process is great!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2013
This DVR works great. I love owning my equipment instead of paying a monthly fee forever to Comcast. It records and dubs nicely and was very easy to setup. There was no learning curve at all to operating the unit. It was very intuitive. The only issue I have with using the DVR is Comcast! They have done a bang up job of not letting you pick up channels without going through their boxes. Neither my digital TV nor the DVR tuner can pick up more than a couple of channels making it pretty useless. I am researching how to replace Comcast with a supplier that lets you use your own equipment.
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