Salon Beauty Kindle 10th Anniversary Hallo nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc $5 Albums PCB for Musical Instruments $69.99 Handmade Gift Shop hgg17 Save $30 on a Deep Cleaning Appointment The Walking Dead season 8 available to buy The Walking Dead season 8 available to buy The Walking Dead season 8 available to buy  Three new members of the Echo family Now shipping All-New Fire HD 10 with Alexa hands-free $149.99 Kindle Paperwhite Shop Now HTL17_gno

on April 27, 2007
UPDATE 8/2008: After 18 months, it stopped working, giving a series of software errors, a message says "turn off/on" but the errors return. So today i would rate it much lower. The very first one i got was dead-in-box and an instant return, and this second one went kaput after 18 months of ordinary use. Amazon lets me edit this text but Amazon does not change my five star rating.
We delayed several years buying a DVD-R because so many models had mixed good/bad reviews. Finally when our DVD player died we moved up to this DVD/VHS double recorder. It doesn't have a 'tuner' - it expects some form of cable/dish tv input - but we haven't used an antenna in 10-15 years, so that didn't matter to us at all.

1) Ease of use. There are multiple types of DVD (DVD+R, -R, -RW, +RW etc). There are extra steps with most, to "initialize" the disk and to "finalize" the disk. But the VR357 will do most of these steps automatically if you want to. It will also make automatic chapter titles every 5 minutes.

2) Works with hard disk recorder. We have a hard disk recorder with our cable system and I've heard some DVD-R are extremely finicky about recorder. This one seems to record anything so far that is on the hard disk recorder of the cable system.

3) Compatibility with older equipment. We've tried both DVD+R and -R and they have always played on our DVD-PC, and most have played on a four year old plain DVD player in the house. Apparently no recorder generates a home DVD disk that plays on every machine always. This one seems pretty good.

4. Advantages of DVD-R. Obviously, the DVDs are vastly smaller than VHS and you can use them in portable players, laptops on airplanes, etc. There are four record fidelities. 1 HR, 2 HR, 4 HR, and 6or8 HR. (Double each if you use more expensive double layer DVDs). We have a routine old TV set, and the 1 HR and 2 HR modes are visually the same. 4 HR is a little fuzzy, and 6/8 HR is noticeably fuzzy, but better than 6 hr VHS for sure. At best it's probably not quite as good as commercial DVDs but neither were home recorded VHS tapes. It does take a while to recognize any DVD (commercial or home-made, maybe 20-30 seconds; apparently it has more to "think" about than a regular old dvd player).

5. In/Out cables. It has a wide array of input/output cable types, including HD cable output (but it is *not* an HD recorder).

6. Bells and whistles. When you are finishing a disk, for example, it will have 2 one hour shows on it. The DVD will open with two little pictures of the first image of each show. You can get into a menu with 26 letters and scroll around and pick out a title for each track, if you want. Tedious but possible. There is one-button copy between DVD and VHS, assuming it is not a commercial and copy protected DVD or tape source.

7. Disappointment. The box says "plays MP4" and the manual "plays .AVI video." We could not get any home videos in these formats to play. Would be great to solidify this feature in a later model. Does play standard audio CDs and MP3s-on-CD.

7. Summary. The world of DVD-R is a little more complicated than VHS recording but this model automates most of the options if you want it to, like auto-initialize and auto-finalize. DVD-Rs are compact, take on airplane etc, and cost as little as a quarter for blanks if you buy a large spindle. We're quite happy with the visual quality but we have a routine old tv and routine cables, we are not video experts or HD people.
44 comments| 263 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 22, 2008
This is the first review I have written for Amazon in ages because I have spent ages reading reviews on here over the past year or so of DVD recorders, and I wanted to pass on my experience to help other people out who, like me, are just looking for a decent, quality one to record new shows from TV and transfer old videos to DVD.

As a disclaimer, I am not certain if this unit *in general* sucks, or if I just got a lemon unit in particular, but based on my experience...AVOID THIS ONE!

After ages and ages of reading reviews of tons of models on here and everywhere else, it seemed like this was the best value for the price and would give me just what I was looking for, so I ordered it from here in June 2007. For the first few months, everything seemed great and I was happily recording shows and transferring old videos right and left. Eventually I hit on the notion of DVD-RWs...if I was recording a show from my DVR box, they were great because I could just let it record while I was at work or doing something else, and then edit the commercials out of the finished product. Awesome! I started using these for almost all my TV show recordings.

Around September 2007, just 3 months in, the unit started losing its ability to read first blank DVD-RWs, and then eventually all blank discs of any format. It was under the original Samsung warranty, so I sent it in for repair and it came back working as good as new. OK, fine. Things happen, and now everything was back to normal.

The same problem started happening again in May 2008, just 8 months later...started losing its ability to read blank discs of various brands and formats, although it would still PLAY recorded discs, both storebought prerecorded ones and ones recorded on it in any format. This time I had to call NEW as I had purchased their extended warranty through here. They were very nice, said it was ridiculous I would have to deal with this again so soon, and gave me the directions to send it back so they could give me a refund of the purchase price.

Something told me to get the replacement first and make sure all was well before sending it in, and man, am I glad I decided to do that, because I had a series of misadventures before hitting on the right solution that made me want to pull my hair out!

First, again, based on reviews on here, I decided to get the Panasonic DMR-EZ48VK. Brought it home from Circuit City only to discover that it did not record to DVD-RWs in VR format, which meant you couldn't edit out commercials and have them permanently delete, which...then what's the point?

I also discovered that my DVD-RWs recorded on this model did not play on that, nor on my Philips DVD player. So I did some more investigating, decided to return the Panasonic, and get the new model of this, the Samsung DVD-VR375, along with a Sony DVD player capable of playing discs recorded in VR format. Back I trudged from Circuit City. Keep in mind that I live in NYC without a car, so all this is either involving lugging these boxes on the subway or paying for taxis, to add to my joy.

These two machines would at least read the DVD-RWs to a point, but eventually they both had the same problem...they would freeze and start stuttering about halfway in with any disc I tried. Furthermore, while I forget exactly what the problem was, the DVD-VR375 I had just bought couldn't even make ONE decent new recording.

So, here was my dilemma. I now had about a hundred discs I had recorded over the past year on DVD-RWs in DVD-VR format that would ONLY PLAY ON THIS MACHINE THAT WAS BREAKING DOWN. Wonderful. Returned the 2 new units I had gotten to Circuit City AGAIN and rethought my options.

Finally, I hit upon the idea to get a DVD Recorder with a hard drive. This way, not only could I just transfer these discs right away, but in the future, I could record programs to the new unit's hard drive, do any editing on there, and then burn them to regular old DVD-R discs in DVD-V format so they could play on any player so I would avoid this possibility in the future.

So I ordered the Philips DVDR3575H/37 off here and have never been happier! It is way easier to edit on a hard drive than on a rewritable disc. I am currently playing beat the clock hoping this unit does not conk out completely before I have transferred all the old DVD-RWs, but when it finally does, I can just replace it with any old DVD/VCR combo...doesn't even have to be a recorder.

So anyway, that's my advice. Avoid this unit as it broke down twice within a year, and discs recorded in VR format are useless on any other machine. Instead, get the Philips DVDR3575H/37...or in general, any unit with a hard drive rather than a DVD/VCR combo. Honestly, there is really nothing THAT special a DVD/VCR combo will do for you in terms of transferring tapes, and a hard drive model (at least the aforementioned Philips) will give you more flexibility because you can record the entire tape onto the hard drive, then subdivide it however and wherever you want to download to DVDs (because unfortunately while you CAN make a 6-8 hour DVD, the picture quality sucks too much to be watchable, so you will have to split up any of your old EP tapes to multiple DVDs). Plus again, it is far easier to edit out commercials, etc., on a hard drive and then download to a regular DVD-R...not only is it cheaper, but then you are assured your discs will play on virtually anything.

Hope this helped and wasn't too confusing!
22 comments| 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 25, 2008
Here's how you copy a VCR tape to DVD -R.

1. Put the VCR tape in and get it (stopped) at your starting position.
2. Put a blank DVD in the machine.
3. Press the "View DVD" button (at top of remote)
4. Select "Rec Speed" button at bottom of remote (1hr, 2hrs, 4hrs or 6hrs)
5. IMPORTANT: Press "View VCR" button (at top of remote)
6. Press the red "To DVD" button
7. VCR starts to play and DVD recording begins - (Note: You will not see any record light).
8. When you get to ending point Press STOP
9. Wait a few seconds for processing to end (see on screen Wait message)
10. Press the "View DVD" button (at top of remote)
11. Press Remote's "MENU" button

That's it - you're done!

The S Video Input must be set in the settings menu if you want to use it.

Contrary to other reports here, the Auto Chapter option DOES work - it creates "Chapters" every 5 minutes. However, it does not create any kind of Chapter Menu - the DVD simply responds to the Next/Previous Chapter buttons on any DVD player's remote.

I bought one of the Reconditioned units here on Amazon for less than 85 bucks and it looked brand new.

DVD results look even better than the original tape - don't ask me how they do it(!)

Highly recommended!
11 comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 11, 2008
The problems with this Samsung DVD/VCR recorder have been manifold and progressive. It started to really go downhill after I had the unit about 16 months, or 4-months after the warrantee expired. Similar to other dissatisfied owners of this unit who have posted here, I've had similar problems with it recognizing a disc. I'm fed up with the opening door and message I get: "This disc cannot be played. Please check disc." This now occurs when trying to record on a new disc (every disc format its supposed to accept), record on a disc previously burned on this unit (not finalized), play a disc previously recorded and finalized on this unit, or now, even play a prerecorded one I purchased. The error messages sometimes occur so fast I don't have a chance to read them before they disappear.

The details of the progressive nature of this failure, over several months time, are well detailed here by others and I won't repeat them. From day one I was not satisfied with the excessive time it took to load and finalize discs and should have returned it then. My bad. I now have a big pile of ruined discs (I believe they're called coasters).

I called Samsung support tonight and spoke with a representative, detailing what the problems were with the DVD recorder. After she had me reset the unit (press forward and reverse search/skip buttons on the unit at the same time for 5 seconds), to no avail, I was told that I'd had to return the unit to Samsung for a flat rate repair charge of $80.00, more than half the price of a new unit. Actually, I was going to do it until I found out that the repaired unit would only be guaranteed for one month. How's that for confidence in their repair job?

The bottom line is that I'm throwing in the towel rather than spend good money after bad. This Samsung DVD/VCR is going into the dumpster, cutting my losses. I just ordered a Toshiba unit from Amazon that I hope will give better service. I would have originally given this unit, when it worked, only 3 stars because of it's "clunky" behavior but now would give it zero stars if I could. A word to the wise should be sufficient.
33 comments| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 25, 2008
I bought this with much trepidation after reading about all the troubles people have had with DVD recorders. Maybe it helped that we're using this with a Samsung 4669 46" LCD TV, but I found it a snap to set up and start recording with it. I've only gotten one coaster, and while I can't recreate the circumstances that produced it, I have a hunch it was my fault--that I tried to make it do two things at once that I shouldn't have. Other than that one time it's just worked. I have an older, low end DVD player that couldn't read the disks, but all the newer DVD players I've tried do fine. Even my cheapo $500 Toshiba laptop recognizes the DVDs and plays them as well as it plays any DVDs (it lacks dedicated Video RAM so it can't play movies smoothly).

I've read complaints about the manual, but it worked well enough for me. However, I'm a computer journalist who's been using/building/troublshooting computer systems since 1981, so what seems easy and obvious to me might be more opaque to a civilian.

It also makes it easier if you have a DVR. We have one from Comcast that came with the digital TV service. So 99% of the time we're recording from that and not from the TV directly. Normally I blip ads by just fast-forwarding through them while the Samsung continues to record, but you can stop/restart the recording at each juncture to eliminate the ads. This creates a lot of files but they play in sequence automatically.

Here's how you record a program off a DVR like Comcast's box:
1. stick a disk in the Samsung. If it's new a dialog box will pop up asking if you want to initialize the disk. Hit Enter on your remote. Initializing takes a few seconds.
1. pick your recording speed (it's the button on the remote labeled "rec speed"). As you toggle through the speeds, an onscreen display tells you how many minutes you have available at each speed. I generally use SP for standard programs, XP for HD ones (though I'm still not sure XP is necesssary), LP for longer shows I want to fit on one disk, and EP for talking heads programs (CSPAN, PBS etc.) where the lower resolution isn't a problem).
2. push the red "rec" button to start recording. If you push it again, it times the recording for 30 minutes, then stops. Hit this button again and it records for 60 minutes, and so forth.
3. If you aren't doing a timed recording, hit the "Stop" button to stop the recording. If you want to stop a timed recording, hit the "stop" button twice.
4. Label the track you just recorded by hitting the "title list disc menu" button. You can label tracks by highlighting the track you want to label, using the up/down arrow buttons, hit "Enter," then choose "Rename." You'll get an onscreen keyboard on which you can move the cursor around to select letters/symbols. If you move past the edge of the keyboard the cursor reappears on the opposite side. This makes typing labels a lot faster. Hit the onscreen button "Save" to save your entry. You can erase any/all of what you wrote, now or even after you've saved it.
5. When you've recorded everything you want on this disk, hit the "Menu" button, then choose "finalize." After a minute or so the disk is done and ready to be played on other DVD players.

That doesn't sound hard, does it?

Then for playback, you have various menu options to experiment with to get the best image on the screen you have. With the right options a DVD movie looks amazingly good on a good monitor like our Samsung 46" 120Hz TV--you can wait to get a Blu-Ray player until the prices come down (assuming they do). We've watched the BBC "Planet Earth" series this way--and that's used as a demo disk in its Blu Ray version--and it looks fantastic.

So. All in all this DVD recorder is easy to use, easy to set up, relatively cheap, and integrates well with Samsung TVs especially. And even when you do get an HD player it won't be able to record DVDs, so you'll still need this.

And if you do get one, please don't write a review griping that it doesn't have a tuner. It's clearly labeled as such, and anyway you don't need one if your have a TV with a tuner--and nearly everyone does--and/or cable/satellite.

Thus far I really have no complaints. It works, the remote works--and it's clear to me--and I don't get coasters. I haven't tried the VCR part yet but expect the same there.

And Amazon had about a $40 lower price than local stores (figuring in tax)--and I live in Silicon Valley, where stores are forced to compete a bit more than out in the boonies. And the Amazon shipment arrived in a timely manner.

I also ordered a 100-disk stack of Verbatim DVD+R disks with the recorder. They arrived in good shape and worked perfectly, as have a stack of Fuji DVD+R disks I've also burned. As I recall this machine requires +R disks, which if fine with me because they're superior anyway.


UPDATE August 5 2008

I've now successfully burned 250 DVDs with this recorder--including the new recorder they shipped me after I sent in the first recorder because I thought it was broken (it wasn't--I'd just pushed the wrong button on the remote without realizing it).

Today, as I was recording a program, the screen suddenly froze and I got a loud buzzing noise through the speakers and a "system error" error message on the screen that told me to turn off the recorder. I did, and when I turned it back on again the disc wouldn't load--it had turned the recording into a coaster. This is the first time this has happened. I've had the replacement recorder for several months.

Other than this glitch, the recorder has also turned half a dozen disks into coasters when I had too many chapters on the disk. Sometimes it just wouldn't finalize the disks. Then, at least, I can play them on this recorder, if not on other makes. Other times the recorder coasterized the disk. The number of chapters that trigger this varies, but on my machine at least, you're safe with 6 chapters or less. The user's manual hints at this--it says every time you put a disk in this recorder (before it's finalized), the recorder optimizes the disk for recording--and if it does this too many times it won't finalize the disk. But it doesn't specify just how many times "too many" represents. I'm guessing six, as I've said.

At this point I think I'd give it three stars. When it works, it works fine, and it works most of the time. But you'd better not delete something from your DVR until you finalize the disk.

And the firmware is buggy. It often freezes when you fast forward to the end of the disk. The system freezes and you have to eject the disk, then reload it, to make it work. Sometimes you even have to physically unplug it to get it going again.

And as others have said, tech support is iffy. For example, they claimed it won't record DVD+R disks--and that's all I've ever used, and the manual allows you to use both + & - R disks.

Problems notwithstanding, I'd say this is probably a decent buy at what I paid for it in March: $169. It has never shown the problem that ruled out Sony and others for me: refusing to record content from a TV set for copyright protection reasons--even when it was a regular show on TV. No problem there.

But for its current $500 price--I'd look long and hard for alternatives.
22 comments| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 3, 2010
I purchased this Samsung DVD-vr357 as a gift for my brother, and since his B-day was awhile off the system was stored until I could give it to him..... to my suprise the machine was DOA - dead on arrival. Many attempts to contact the Seller failed, and buy the time I got arround to calling Samsung the unit was discontinued.... no support or firmware available. Yes perhaps if I had not waited so long to give it to him things may have been better. But the fact that Samsung pulled this unit off the market speaks volumes to the quality... a hunk a junk!
I then went and purchased Samsungs newer machine the DVD VR-375, this seemed to work fine for about 8 months and then it too died. I called Samsung by passing Amazon as I refused to deal with there customer support and received a replament within two weeks and so far so good. Firmware is available and customer support is great!
All I have to say is 'Buyer Beware' when purchasing electronics from Amazon's Sellers, not all of them are up to snuff. And Amazon just has way too many of them to weed out the few that are not professional in there buisness.

I have since purchased other high end Video Equiptment from Amazon with little or no problems, but this above issue is always in the back of my mind.And while I can't fault them 100% there is alot of blame to go around.

BTW:I purchased the DVD-VR357 back in 2008-suggestion: buy from the company that makes the equiptment at least one isn't dealing with a screen name and who knows what else!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 5, 2008
This product is great and the refurbed unit purchased was perfect. No cosmetic problems, worked 100%. Seller was outstanding as well. $100 delivered is an outstanding deal. Up-convert and optical sound connections to a 1080P plasma and 7.1 sound system make SD DVDs work very very well. I purchased this unit to archive old camcorder VHS and 8mm tapes. This process is flawless and simple. Insert media, push one button, finalize disk and do the next one. Use DVD-R disks for the easiest approach. Some reviewers have left negative comments regarding the title creation capabilities of this machine. They need to be reminded that this is not a full-up editing program for a Mac or PC. It has no keyboard! IF you want to do serious editing, buy an analog converter ($150), a burner and the right software for your computer. If you want to save those old camcorder tapes to DVD for your grand kids, this is your choice. It will also do dual layer DVDs as a bonus. Others have commented on the remote. Give me a break. It's the same remote that comes with Samsung's high end Plasmas. If you want a great up-convert DVD player/burner with every known interface that also plays and records VHS tapes and dubs tape to DVD (or the DVD to Tape) with a single button push, buy this unit now - before the referbed units are all gone.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 11, 2008
I purchased one of these DVD recorders in December, then received another as a Christmas gift.

In less than a month, BOTH had developed the same problem - they would reject ANY type of disc I tried to use.

I called Samsung, who actually argued with me about the types of discs the unit could read. They went so far as having me fax them a copy of the User's Manual, to prove that the recorder would record on DVD+RW discs (my choice of recording media).

I took it a step further, and also faxed them copies of the recorder specs that were currently, and still are, on their own web page, showing that the recorder would record on, among others, DVD+RW discs. (Note to Samsung Support - if you are going to support your products, at least know the basics of how they work!!!)

They finally decided to fix the units. I shipped both to their NJ repair center and waited...and waited...and waited...because "parts were on order". I finally called and asking exactly when the units would be repaired. They then told me that the parts, required to fix the units, were no longer in stock (my guess....I was not the only person with this problem).

They decided to ship me replacements, from their REFURBISHED stock, to replace the NEW recorders I had purchased in December. In essence, they replaced my NEW units with USED ones.

I am not holding out hope that these USED units will work any better than the NEW ones I shipped in for repair.

So, my suggestion....find another recorder, and skip the headaches with this one.

Within 3 months of using the units, BOTH have developed problems. One has the SAME problem as the first two units I bought, and returned - it is kicking out any disk I insert. The other will not divide titles, so if I record more than I intended, I can not divide the title, and delete the extra I don't need.

I will NEVER purchase a Sansuck, I mean Sansung, product again. Nothing but JUNK!!!!
11 comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 22, 2008
This device has worked for me pretty much as expected. I have recorded only onto DVD-R media, from programs recorded by a DirecTivo and from VHS tapes. I purchased a movie (Ratatouille) from DirecTv and recorded it from the Tivo onto DVD. The machine did this correctly, no DRM problems. When recording normal programs from Tivo, you can use the pause/play button on the recorder's remote to effectively edit out commercials or other material. I have checked the finalized DVDs by playing them back in a different DVD player (Denon) and in a Macbook laptop.

If you buy this machine here are a couple of usage hints. Buried in the manual is the fact that you can adjust the VHS tracking using the remote. Look very carefully for a tiny gray label "tracking." This can make a huge difference in the quality of recording from VHS. Each time you are recording and press Stop, the DVR creates a video segment it calls a "title." When you finalize the DVD, it creates a DVD "Top Menu" which lists each Title in sequence, with a thumbnail made from its opening frame. You can turn on a "chapter creator" and when you end a long (15+ minute) Title, the DVR creates chapter markers at equal 5-minute intervals through that segment. When you finalize the DVD, it creates a Menu (not the Top) menu listing each chapter with a thumbnail.

I am only giving 3 stars because of two shortcomings. First is the cheesy remote, which has rubber keys that you have to mash unmercifully to get a result. This is made worse in that sometimes the DVR responds slowly, or if it is in the wrong "mode," not at all, to a remote command. So you mash and grind on the flimsy rubber button until you get a response or give up.

The second problem is an awkward, poorly designed user interface that shows up in two places: recording from VHS and editing names of Titles. To record from VHS you are given a "copy list" menu that shows the VHS tape in a small window. You use the VHS play/ff/stop/rew controls (the pause doesn't work for some reason) to cue up the start of the segment you want, and press Enter. The starting tape position is noted. Then you have to locate the end point and press enter. When you tell it to copy this segment, the DVR rewinds (slowly) to the start point, plays and records one Title, and exits the menu completely.

The stupid thing is that the copy list menu has positions for up to 6 start/stop segments. I thought, "Great, a job-list!" However, you can only use one of them. As soon as you tell it to copy one segment, it does and completely forgets any other start/stop points you have tediously entered. It looks as if the interface was shipped half-finished, or they cut back on device memory at the last minute, or something.

The other interface issue is in renaming the Disk or any of the Titles. You do this with an on-screen virtual keyboard that is horrible to use, especially when the remote is so balky and uncomfortable. But if you don't name the Titles, they have default names of the date and time, meaningless. You can name the Disk as well. However this name only appears on the Top Menu. If you put the finalized disk in a PC, its volume name is generic, not the disk name you tediously entered.

In short, this device works but the remote and on-screen interface make it somewhat painful to use.

Later: after more use I have found that the main problem with the remote is a very weak and directional IR emitter. It needs to be close to, and pointed directly at, the machine. When you point it carefully, the buttons are responsive, you don't have to "mash" them as I described. The other issues remain annoying.
11 comment| 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 23, 2007
I work in media and have found this a useful device. Like many people, I use it to transfer old VHS tapes to DVD, as well as to record television programs and commercials. I also use it as a quick way to dub other tape formats (such as MiniDV via the firewire input) to preserve the footage in another format. Before this, if I wanted an entire MiniDV tape on DVD, I'd have to capture the entire thing, compress it, and author the DVD. It might take the entire day. Now a one-hour tape takes... one hour. And the highest quality compression looks very nice.

My primary complaint with the device is that the menus are so ugly. Usually I just turn the menu feature off (so the video plays immediately on insertion), but if I have multiple items I will usually create the DVD then transfer the files to my Mac laptop, do some converting (from .VOB to .M2V and .AC3) and then re-author the DVD (with decent menus this time) in a separate DVD-Authoring application. Still, for any media that originates anywhere other than on a DVD (VHS, MiniDV, Beta) this is a quick and inexpensive solution for getting it onto DVD.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse