Musings of a PC

Thoughts about Windows, TV and technology in general

First thoughts about the Samsung DVD-VR336

I recently wrote about deciding to go out and get a combi VHS/DVD recorder, and how I’d settled on the Samsung DVD-VR336. Well, I’ve now installed it, simply swapping it for the previous VHS video recorder I had. In this iteration of my living room equipment, I’m sticking with two SCART cables for connectivity – one between the Samsung and the amplifier, and one betwen the Samsung and the Sky+ box.
 
As I had previously mentioned, my personal primary uses for this device are to archive Sky+ recordings for a friend, and to copy personal DVD material onto VHS tape. As a result, I’m not too concerned about aiming for a higher quality picture. There doesn’t seem to be much point going to the trouble of a component video connection when my TV doesn’t have one – the best I can currently manage is S-Video.
 
So what was it like when I had it all working?
 
So far, I’ve only done some simple tests and transfers onto a DVD-RW from the Sky+ box. I’ve tried the different compression rates and it seems to me that the system does a pretty good job. The picture gets gradually softer the harder you compress it, but the harshest compression rate is good enough for sharing programmes with a friend.
 
One thing that did worry me initially was that after performing a couple of recordings on a disc, the unit ejected it, complaining of a problem with it. This was a previously unused Sony DVD-RW. I’ve now moved onto a second disc and it seems to be working – I’m now recording the third programme onto it.
 
That the system may decide, part-way through recording, it doesn’t like my media is a bit of a worry. Only time will tell. If I continue to have problems, I’ll have to try a different brand. I just happened to have a box of these sitting around.
 
I’m also currently trying VR mode on the DVD-RW. The unit supports two writing modes – V and VR. The former is more restrictive but, when finalised, should play on any DVD. The latter seems to be common to domestic DVD recorders and supports more editing features.
 
Once you’ve made a recording, you can edit the title against it, which I like. It also starts to play that title back in a small window on the screen if you are trying to decide which title you want to play or delete. There are many more useful features but I haven’t tried them yet … maybe for a later blog.
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