Top critical review
22 people found this helpful
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!