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Pioneer DVR-533H-S DVD Recorder/Hard Drive Combination - Product Review

DVD Recorder/Hard Drive Combo Combines Performance and Style

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User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)


Pioneer DVR-533H-S DVD Recorder/Hard Drive Combination - Front View

Pioneer DVR-533H-S DVD Recorder/Hard Drive Combination - Front View

Pioneer Electronics
DVD recorders have come down in price and matured in performance over the past year. Starting with a foundation in Laserdisc, and jumping into both DVD playback/recording technology early, Pioneer has had extensive experience with optical disc video formats. The DVR-533H, Pioneer's stylish entry-level DVD Recorder/Hard Drive combo, carries on this tradition as a reasonably priced unit that provides performance and flexibility for those entering the world of DVD recording.

Quick DVD Recording Overview

A DVD recorder refers to a standalone unit that resembles and functions very much like a VCR. All DVD recorders can record from any analog video source (most can also record video from digital camcorders via firewire). Like a VCR, DVD recorders all have AV inputs as well as an onboard TV tuner for recording TV shows. DVD Recorders come in several configurations: Standalone, DVD Recorder/VCR Combo, or DVD Recorder/Hard Drive combo units.

A DVD recorder can be used to copy any homemade videos, such as camcorder videos and videos made from TV shows, and can also copy Laserdiscs, and other non-copygaurded video material.

However, just as you can't copy commercially made video tapes to another VCR due to Macrovision anti-copy encoding, the same applies to making copies to DVD. DVD recorders cannot bypass the anti-copy signal on commercial VHS tapes or DVDs. If a DVD recorder detects the anti-copy encoding on a commercial DVD it will not start the recording and display some sort of message either on screen or on its LED front panel display that it detects the anti-copy code or that it is detecting an unusable signal.

If you need more info about DVD recording, check out my DVD Recorder FAQs before continuing on with this review.

DVR-533H Product Overview

The DVR-533H is a DVD Recorder/Hard Drive Combination featuring DVD-R, DVD-R LD, DVD-RW (Video Mode), and DVD-RW (VR Mode) recording capability in tandem with an 80GB Hard Disk Drive.

Additional Features Include:

1. Playback Format: DVD video/-R/-R DL/-RW, DVD+RW, CD/C-R/RW/MP3/WMA/JPEG, and VCD.

2. AV Inputs: 3 composite video/S-Video, 1 RF, and 1 IEEE 1394 (FireWire/iLink/DV) input, Stereo audio.

3. AV Outputs: 2 S-video, 2 component video, 2 composite video, 2 stereo, one optical Digital Audio output.

4. Progressive scan with 3:2 pulldown supported via component video outputs.

5. Dolby Digital and DTS pass through via the digital audio outputs.

6. TV Guide Channel listings/Programming system built-in - works with over-the-air and cable TV systems.

7. Real time dubbing from DVD to Hard Drive, High Speed Dubbing from Hard Drive To DVD of non-copyprotected material.

8. Chase Play (Simultaneous Recording and Playback) supported when recording in DVD-RW VR mode.

9. Disk Backup feature allows dubbing home made DVD back to hard drive to allow high speed dubbing to additional DVDs.

10. On-screen Disc and Hard Drive Nagivation and TV Guide listing and programming systems accessed via wireless remote control.

Setup - Hardware

Setting up the 533H with other components is very much like setting up a VHS HiFi VCR, with addition of digital audio and component video connection options. Also, since the 533H has two sets of composite/S-Video/stereo audio outputs, you can connect it to two separate televisions or use one set of connections to connect to the line inputs of a VCR.

Additional components used in this review included a Yamaha HTR-5490 6.1 Channel AV receiver, Syntax LT-32HV LCD television and an Optoma H56 DLP video projector.

A variety of loudspeakers, including Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-3, Optimus LX-5IIs, a Yamaha YST-SW205 Powered Subwoofer, and additional speakers, in both matched and mismatched setups were used.

Comparison DVD players included a KISS DP-470, Samsung DVD-HD931, JVC XV-NP10S, OPPO OPDV971H, and an older Pioneer DV-525.

Comparison DVD Recorders used: Sony RDR-HX900, Philips DVDR985, and Pioneer DVR-7000.

A non-cable box cable TV connection was made to the RF input on the DVR-533H for the recording of television programming.

A Pansonic PV-GS35 mini-DV camcorder used to test DV-input recording functions.

All connections, except cable TV connections, between components were made with Accell and Cobalt Interconnect cables.

Setup - DVD Software

Pioneer DVR-533H-S DVD Recorder/Hard Drive Combination - Rear Panel View

Pioneer DVR-533H-S DVD Recorder/Hard Drive Combination - Rear Panel View

Pioneer Electronics
Blank recordable DVD media included Sony-branded standard 4.7GB DVD-R discs and supplied TDK DVD-RW disc.

Pre-recorded DVDs for additional playback tests included scenes from the following: Kill Bill - Vol1, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Chicago, Valley Of Gwangi, Underworld, Passionada, Moulin Rouge, ED Wood, and The Mummy, as well as video content on DVD-R and DVD+RW discs recorded on other DVD recorders.

For audio only, various CDs included: HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones: Come Away With Me, Lisa Loeb: Firecracker, Blue Man Group The Complex, Telarc: 1812 Overture. DTS discs included: Queen: Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles: Hotel California, Sheila Nicholls: Wake, Alan Parsons: On Air. Also included: The Corrs: In Blue (Dolby Digital). In addition, music content on CD-R/RWs were also used.

Proceed to Page 2 - Testing and Conclusion

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
this thing is a pig, Member worms2u

This was a useful piece of technology 5+ years ago, but even then it was a programming pig. You need to reprogram the entire system (about 10 minute exercise) to reset the clock, which loses several minutes every few months. Comcast has blocked its tvguide function and automatic time-keeping. Now it's just an antiquated DVR.

6 out of 12 people found this helpful.

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