Customer Reviews: iLO DVDR05 Personal DVD Recorder
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on March 1, 2006
. . . when they "designed" this piece of garbage. I tried my dead-level best for a solid MONTH to like this machine. The happiest day for me was two nights ago when I discovered that I still had the receipt, and could take this worthless thing back to the store!

The first problem I encountered was the DVD brand issue. I had gotten a really good deal on a certain brand of DVD+R discs, and was going to use them with this unit. Unfortunately, the recorder didn't like the DVDs (well, it would work with I think two of them, but not the rest). "What brand of blank DVD+R did you try?" you ask. The brand name was (drum roll, please) ILO. Hello? The ILO DVD recorder won't work with ILO DVD+R discs?

Well, then I discovered that the TV tuner had a high-pitched tone whenever I tried to watch a TV signal from the coaxial cable connector on the back of the machine. To solve this problem and the problem with the unit not wanting to take my discs, I did my online research and downloaded the firmware upgrade. Yes, not having the proper CD burning software was a problem, but I solved it.

The firmware upgrade did NOTHING!!! The discs were still unusable and the unit still whistled at me (and I'm really not all that nice-looking).

The very first time I tried to record, I used the timer and one of the discs that would work. I had formatted the disc and set the timer to tape something I was going to have to miss. When time came for recording to begin, the recorder ejected the disc and gave my wife the message that a more acceptable disc needed to be inserted. I missed the first 20 minutes of what I wanted to record.

The last straw was two nights ago when I tried to record the final episode of M*A*S*H. I missed the first five minutes because the unit not only refused to format the disc, but took forever to give me the "Unknown disc" error message. I unplugged and plugged the unit back in, as I had done so many times in the past, and then, the next day, told the machine, "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen," and took it back to the store.

I'm now using the RCA DVD+R recorder and VCR combo unit, and LOVING it! It uses all of the discs I bought to try in the ILO recorder (two different brands). It was about $120.00 more than the ILO, but you get what you pay for. The reviewer who wrote that the reason all of these units are malfunctioning is because we're not reading the manuals must have gotten one of the few machines that doesn't have problems. I read both the English and Spanish versions of the manual, and still nada.

Save your money. You'll have to pay a little more, but there are much better DVD recorders out there. To be fair, this ILO DVD recorder really doesn't deserve a rating of 1 star, but I couldn't figure out how to give it no stars.
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on November 11, 2005
I just bought this yesterday at Wally World. It replaced a Liteon 5101 piece of [censored] that worked when I first got it, but gradually stopped recognizing even the "starter" DVD+RW that came with the unit! For $98, I decided it was worth the risk.

So far I've been satisfied with the unit - it records and plays back on media the Liteon simply found unacceptable. My main reason for owning a DVD recorder is to be able to move old TV programs recorded 25-30 years ago (or so) onto a more durable medium; the iLo seems a bit more tolerant of video quality than the Liteon, which would too often stop altogether on a jumpy signal. Unfortunately, I've noticed a tendency for the video to lag behind the audio when I record, which is unacceptable to me.

One nice feature, which is unadvertised on the box or manual - this unit will play back DivX-encoded video files, just like the Philips DVP642. In fact, its DivX playback is much nicer than the Philips, being rather more forgiving of badly-encoded files and allowing you to search freely through the file (the Philips generally won't let you reverse).

On the complete other hand, the remote control is one of the worst I've ever seen, and I've seen many. About the size of a giveaway pocket calculator, the buttons are not arranged intuitively and cannot be seen in the dark. Worse, its tiny size is very uncomfortable to use for those with larger than child-size fingers. The range of the unit is also suspect.

Editing features are a mixture of good and bad. On the good side, it allows for editing of commercials and such after recording, something most recorders on the low end of the price range don't let you do. However, two features my Liteon had that I consider essential - manually inserting your own chapter breaks and changing the index thumbnail of your recorded file - are absent. You're stuck with the automatic chapter stops the unit can put on while recording (every 5, 10, or 20 minutes), and the index picture is always the first frame of the file.

The negative review below is hardly the first I've seen of this unit, though. I'm worried that my good experiences (well, reasonably good at least) with the DVDR05 so far will lead to frustration later on down the road. At present, I'm trying to decide if it's best if I just take the unit back as a pre-emptive strike, or if it's better to take the chance that I have a good unit that won't go sour on me in a month's time like the Liteon did, and like other iLo recorders have.

You do get what you pay for, though...


* You can't beat the price for an entry-level unit.

* Unadvertised bonus feature: Will play DivX/AVI files.

* Small size.

* Menu system is easy to use and navigate; there's even an integrated help system.


* One of the worst remotes on the market today - too small, cannot navigate by touch, and powered by a button battery.

* Cannot edit chapters or thumbnails.

* Video occassionally noticeably lags behind sound.

* Cannot set default source, and doesn't remember last source after playback or recording.
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on December 28, 2005
I just bought this unit last night at Wally World. I brought it home and in no time had it hooked up and was watching a movie with all the clarity as the $600 unit I have in the family room! Afterwards, I decided I wanted to see how the recording feature was. I hooked up my digital camcorder and it recorded effortlessly. The menu is very easy to navigate and even gives on-screen directions so well that I didn't have to refer to the manual. I used Sony's DVDR+ brand and like I said, it worked great... I've already got my Christmas videos preserved!

I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 only because I agree that the remote is too small and hard to read, but other than that, it is well worth the money.

Update: July 17, 2006 - still working great... no problems.
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on January 21, 2006
Since most of the other reviews are pretty bad, I will keep this short and to the point.


Price. Under $100.00


Remote is confusing.

The layout of menu system is confusing.

If you are wanting to record from TV, every time you burn a disk, take one out or do a manual record you have to go into the menu and chose the coax(TV) input because the machine resets to some default input like input 1; which for most setups is blue screen that has no video signal.

Overall: If you know what you are doing, have time to devote towards setting it up each and every time you want to record something, then for $100 you might be satisfied, or at least you won't feel 100% cheated. If---on the other hand, you are looking for something to replace your VCR for recording your favorite TV show on a regular basis or on the fly, you will be very disappointed. If you are not 100% tech savvy, then you will want to steer clear of this product.

Recommendation: Decide why you really want a DVR recorder. Do you think you are going to record DVDs with it? Because you won't! Do you want it to record your favorite shows? It might be ok. The reason I purchased a DVR was to record shows to play on portable DVD player when I travel. I have a good understanding of electronics so I can wade through the confusing menu system. If you have more money than tech savvy, spend the extra money for a name brand system.

Note: If you are going to use this product to replace your VCR, then you are probably thinking of using DVD RW discs. Most, but not all modern DVD players will play DVD R, but only a select few will play DVR RW so beware.

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on December 24, 2005
saw this in the pawn shop today, christmas is the DVDR05ZU model they only wanted 49.00. I had to find the manual online and while getting that I noticed on some of the forums people mentioning recording problems LUCKILY I also noticed one post stating that it uses R- media not the R+ as the manual states well the only media I had from my other recorder is R- and it recorded like a champ played back fine on my Apex so 1 success out of 1!!!!! Gonna give this to my son who lives out of town
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on March 24, 2006
I am taking mine back too. I find the audio output has a "buzz" sound that is very distracting. This is during recording and playback from the tuner. Too bad I liked it other wise....

Yes, you get what you pay for.....
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on June 8, 2006
I've had mine for about six months now, and there have been no problems with this at all. I've been using it to record off our DVD camera, off video inputs from our DirecTV DVR and from my laptop, and it's done just fine. The only issue I've encountered is that on two discs, when it got close to the maximum capacity of the disc it returned an error when finalizing the disc, but the disc was still playable on our other players. It even took a DVD+VR format disc I made with Nero and offered to adapt it to its format so I could make edits with this player. It also plays back Mini-DVD (DVD format on CD-ROM) and DIVX movies.

For the benefit of others, I've been using Memorex DVD+R media, Verbatim DVD+RW media, and even the cheap Staples DVD+RW media. Have yet to have a problem.

The only other problem I've encountered is that my in-laws have a DVD player that is a few years old, and they complain that the DVDs recorded on this player don't have any audio when played back on theirs, even though they play fine on this recorder and a portable DVD player I have.
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on June 25, 2006
It works "sometimes". I had to take my first one back. Don't think I can with this one. If you spend an extra 50-100 dollars we might get one that lasts because in a few months after having this one you'll have to purchase another one anyway. Number one, it doesn't play half of my regular dvds. One time I was watching a movie the thing paused, I had to unplug it to turn it off. Some of my dvd's i've recorded I've noticed that they pause and or jump during the recording. Also, I noticed my local WalMart no longer has these on display. They are jammed in the back, not on main display.
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on September 15, 2006
I have owned this Ilo DVD Recorder for about six months and it has been very frustrating. The unit sometimes completed a recording, sometimes didn't. Now it will not recognize a DVD at all, showing "no disc", have tried several types of discs to no avail. My advice is - don't buy it, it is a waste of your $100.
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on February 26, 2006
A piece of crap! I've been working with ILO tech support for almost 3 months to get this piece of sh*t to work. First, anytime I put in a DVD-R or RW I would receive an error message. Tech support sent me to their site to download an upgrade! Why should I have to upgrade it when I purchased it to do what it says it does in the first place??? Anyway, I had to have Nero software on my pc to download the update, which I didn't have. Finally, ILO sent me the updated firmware after many weeks of not responding to emails. But it still didn't work. Then I was sent an email suggesting that I switch the brand of DVDs I was trying to record with because ILO is only compatible with certain brands. Finally, I found a brand to work (after spending close to $100 on different brands). But the recording is choppy. It plays, then freezes, skips frames, then plays again, then freezes, etc...I finally decided to simply use it as a DVD player. Now movies freeze while watching them and you have to unplug it because it doesn't respond to any buttons and then start the movie from the beginning. What a total waste of money. I'm waiting on an authorization number to return it. Don't waste your time or money; it'll only frustrate you.
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