on October 4, 2006
I bought this DVD Recorder mainly because it has the up conversion feature to be used with my 50" Plasma HDTV. I have read mixed articles about whether this works or not as it sounds like you are getting something for nothing with this feature. Well, I can say, it does work, but to a somewhat limited degree. You will not notice a great deal of difference, but any improvement is better particularly after you get accustomed to HD. You can up convert play backs to 480, 720p or 1080i. I have found the 1080i distorts the picture and over brightens bright areas with high contrast. I am happy with the 720p setting, though. It is also does very good job at 480, but a little better with the up converter set higher.
The second feature was it's recording capabilities. This was sort of an extra for me, but since it costs just a little bit more, it seemed nice to have recording capabilities. I was not disappointed with the recording features. In fact, I was somewhat surprised as the copy looked as good as the original. It records only in the DVD-R and RW formats. It does not record in the DVD+R mode, which has really not been a problem since both formats are well supported. The recording feature works like the old VCRs except the picture quality is 100 times better. You can use time recordings on DVD-RW discs and erase and record on them again. This format also allows some editing to remove and relocate material on the disc. There is an instant record feature that has no delay to start recording.
The machine works well, is quiet and smooth. The playbacks have been flawless with no glitches so far. The style is pleasant, but not as refined as my previous DVD player. It appears to be a little cheaper built. It is also real light in weight and not conducive to believing there are high quality parts inside. But, hey, we will probably be giving it away before it wears out just as soon as the HD versions become more common.
I have one major fault with this machine. As I have read, concerning many other DVD Recorders in this price range, the tuner is weak. In fact it interferes sometimes with my Plasma TV. I am on cable and some of the channels have herringbone interference when the DVD player is on and sometimes even when it is off. I cured this to some degree by using a booster splitter from Radio Shack instead of allowing the DVD player to split the signals. I almost returned this unit for this problem.
Overall, I think it is a good purchase. The manual is well written, the control interface is very good, the remote is good, and the picture quality is above average. You may have to deal with the interference, but I solved mine with the powered splitter.
on August 27, 2006
I purchased this product only with the purpose of recording my favorite tv shows, and I can say I am truly satisfied with it. The menus are really user-friendly, and the instructions are very simple and clear, so you just plug it in, configure a couple of features, and you're all set. I don't own an HD TV so I can't really comment on the picture quality, but I have to say, It really delivers for all the basic needs. I highly recommend the DVD-R 135.
on December 28, 2006
This seemed like a great buy. And it was except for one big problem: A horrible buzzing in the audio whenever using the DVD recorder's tuner. This means anything I am watching on TV or recording has this ridiculous buzz. Switching back to the TV or VCR tuners, the buzz disappears. I called Samsung and wasted an hour listening to the "techs" read through their scripts trying to troubleshoot. They had NO idea what might be causing the apparent interference. Neither did anyone at Best Buy or Circuit City (then again, most of them can't even tell you the features of the products they are selling) Thinking I might have a defective recorder, I exchanged it for another one. Same problem. The buzz is almost as loud as the television audio.
It's too bad, because the other functions were perfect for my purposes. It made great copies of VHS tapes. And the HDMI up-conversion at 1080i looks great. The recorder looks nice, and a runs very quietly. But, I was forced to return it as I couldn't get any information on how to resolve the tuner issue.
I bought a Panasonic DMR-ES25S instead, and it seems to work perfectly in everyway. Up-conversion, TV recording, VHS copies. It's not quite as quiet as the Samsung, but I am already used to it.
on July 12, 2007
I loved the product the first four months that I owned it. It recorded flawlessly, and the burned dvds looked great. However, after burning nearly a hundred disks, I had problems finalizing recorded DVD's. I would invest two hours into recording a movie, and then have to junk it when the finalizing process did not work. This started occurring frequently, and after numerous calls to Samsung, I finally convinced them to extend my labor warranty. However, their customer service was horrible, and I will not buy a Samsung product for a very long time. Here is a copy of the letter that I sent to Samsung regarding my experience.
To whom it may concern,
I purchased the DVD-R135 this past January and loved the product. However, approximately 4 months after purchase, the DVD burner began malfunctioning. I contacted customer service a couple of times, and attempted to troubleshoot the problem with the customer service reps. However, the solutions would work for a short time, and then the product would begin malfunctioning again.
On Wednesday, June 27, I contacted customer service to discuss warranty repairs. Because my warranty on labor had expired, the rep had said that he would extend the labor warranty to 6 months. This meant that my warranty extension would expire on July 7. He mentioned that because the warranty would expire soon, I should send the unit to Rex Service Center before the warranty was processed. He also supplied me with the fax number to send my Bill of Sale. I attempted to fax the Bill of Sale on Thursday, and I immediately found out that the number was wrong even though I read the fax number back to the representative. I then had to call customer service again to get the right fax number. I faxed the Bill of Sale that evening, and had a transaction report from my fax machine verify that the fax had been sent.
I called the Customer Service center the next afternoon (Friday) to check the status of the warranty request. However, the rep had said that the fax I sent the previous night had not been found. I double checked the transaction number on the original fax, and it matched the transaction number that the rep had given me. However, I faxed the document again.
On Monday, my wife sent out the DVD player to the Rex address that the original customer service rep had given us. We had sent the unit so that it would reach REX before the extended warranty would expire.
Later Monday, I had called the service center again to verify that they had received my fax from Friday night, and that the warranty was processed. While talking to her, we had discovered that the Rex Service Center that the unit was sent to was the wrong location. The original rep had apparently given me the wrong information, and the rep that I was talking to at the time had said that the originally rep was new. She had told me to call Rex Service Center on Tuesday to have them reject the package so that it would get sent to me. Then, Samsung would supply me with a new label to ship the package to the correct destination. Also, she said that because the original rep had given me the wrong address to send the package to, Samsung would reimburse me for my shipping cost to REX Service Center, and that I would need to fax the shipping receipt to the ECR department.
On Tuesday I called REX and told them to reject the package. However, they were unable to reject it, and the REX Service rep contacted me to discuss how the warranty work would be done. I notified him that they were supposed to send the unit back, and that I would call Samsung to straighten the mess out.
I immediately called Samsung, and eventually got transferred to the ECR department. The rep that I spoke with had mentioned that the parts warranty had been extended from one year, to a year and 90 days, and that the labor warranty had expired on April 6, 2007. I informed her that the original service rep had informed me that the labor warranty was extended, and she agreed that she would do this one time, and emphasized that it was merely a courtesy. She also said that the representatives at the call center were not allowed to extend this type of warranty. None of the people that I spoke with have mentioned that. When I asked her about following up on the agreement to reimburse me for my shipping expenses to REX Service Center, she said that she would be unable to do this. She mentioned that providing shipping for warranty work was merely a courtesy, and that she would not be able to help me with this. When I explained that I was only asking her to honor what a Samsung representative had told me previously, she once again emphasized that providing shipping expense was merely a courtesy, and that I was not entitled to the reimbursement, even though the expense occurred from faulty information that I received from a Samsung representative.
I am writing this email to document my experience with the Samsung Customer Service Center. It has been a horrible experience so far, and I can only hope that the unit is sent back to me fixed without requiring any more of my time or money, neither of which Samsung apparently cares about. When I first learned that Samsung would extend the warranty on my DVD recorder, I felt that the company was being more then fair. I was very pleased, and had decided that I would continue to buy Samsung products in the future. However, during the past week that feeling of good will has been eroded away. I feel that I have been running around in circles trying to get my product fixed. Also, I feel that I was lied to about the reimbursement of shipping expense. While, the representative that made the initial agreement did not have actual authority, they were acting as an agent for the company, and their agreement should have been honored. I will likely not purchase a Samsung product for a very long time. I will also tell my friends and family members of my experience.
Here is the response that Samsung sent.
Thank you for contacting Samsung. Samsung does apologize for your experience with this product. Due to the nature of this issue, Samsung recommends that you call in to 1-800-Samsung to speak with our customer care for other options that might be available to you.
From what I have heard, this is a common experience for people that have dealt with Samsung's customer service.
on April 11, 2007
I gave this Samsung 2 stars because of the terribly unreliable performance, and because of the slow repair and customer service with Samsung.
The playback on DVD's, when it works, is exceptional. The record feature, when it works, is very good for record lengths under 2 hours, and grainy on longer recordings. Menu is easy and intuitive.
If this player/recorder were reliable I would give it four stars and perhaps even buy a Samsung TV. However, the player freezes, stops playing mid-movie, often won't record, and usually will not load commercially produced DVDs. It's been at the repair center for about two weeks and I still don't have an estimated repair date. If I could do it over again I would buy the Panasonic, instead.