Pros Dubbing, Importing and outputting Video for editing
Cons HD resolution, remote, No DL burner
Summary OK, I've had this system for 3 months now. I have set it up with HD signals coming in directly, looping through the TV, and from the cable box. As the article confirms, the Phillips tuner does not do full resolution HD. Other than having letterbox, there is no advantage having HD coming into the Phillips directly, because the output to the HDTV will be terrible. I have a splitter at the wall jack, one going to DTV in for pure HD (fantastic picture) and the other goes into the comcast box, which then goes to the Phillips, and then to the HDMI out to HDMI in on the HDTV.
Anyways, that's my setup, so now I can explain what I can do with this box that saves me hundreds of hours...
Other than recording tv shows, I can record old VHS, Mini-DV, Quicktime, On Demand movies onto the hard drive and export them to my Canon HD videocamera, and then edit them in Final Cut Pro or IMovie8. Phillips has inputs in the front panel for USB, and Video camera imports...Anything can be recorded to the Hard Drive, dubbed to the DVD burner, or exported back to a Video Camera for editing. Phillips also allows you to do minimal editing to videos on the 160 GB hard drive. I import/save/record everything in HQ mode, burn it off on DVD or Mini-DV, then erase the hard drive...then repeat the process.
When dubbing VHS, the quality is exactly the same, no loss of resolution. TV programming looks exactly like the orignial broadcast. Mini-DV tapes imported can be a little "soft", but still very nice visually.
The remote sucks for the most part, but the fast forward "commercial skip" is great. Also, when you fast forward, no matter the speed, you can see all the images, and when you hit "play", it stops immediately (no delay) and starts playing at that exact spot.
I can import FOUR-6 hour VHS tapes in HQ mode onto the hard drive, and edit them, export them, or burn them on the DVD. Later in Imovie I can edit out the footage not needed and save them in IDVD.
Does this do High Definition? NO, not gonna happen...
Does it help you upgrade your "old tapes" and record movies, programs, etc? OH YES.
Pros High Capacity
Cons Not reliable, Bad Customer Support, No timer event name, No HD recording
Summary Sept 12 2007. Philips seems to take 2 steps forward than 2 steps back.
I have previously owned a Philips HDRW 720/17 and a Philips DVDR3455H/37. Philips seems to advance in development of some features (HDMI and HD tuner) but goes backwards on others. The HDRW 720/17 had a build in TV guide and had title and summery info of all recordings (just like my Comcast and TIVO DVR). The DVDR3455H/37 took the TV guide feature away but allowed the user to input a short title for a recording while programming a timer event (Very helpful to find the right shows especially if you do 10 to 20 weekly recordings).
Yesterday I received my new DVDR3575H/37. You can't give any timer event a name until after it's done recording. I am wondering if the design engineers at Philips actually use their own products. Taking the ability to title shows away from the user is a huge step backwards in my eyes. Does Philips expect the user to sit down every day (or week), go thru the recorded shows and title them after the fact? What a waste of time. Why would any designer take such an important feature away? Also while the HD tuner is a nice feature (FCC making it mandatory that all manufacturers as of July 1, 2007 must have ATSC DTV tuner (VCR, DVD player/recorder, DVR)) one must wonder why we can not record in HD (my Comcast DVR records in HD).
This is my take on other DVR's out there:
6 stars total for TIVO; 9 stars for features on TIVO but deduct 3 stars for the fees (Big upfront cost for HD box, I will not get one again until they lower the monthly fees substantially)
7 stars total for Scientific Atlanta 8300HD (Comcast); 6 stars for the Scientific Atlanta 8300HD DVR features, + 1 star for no upfront cost but a monthly fee, for the fee you get the name and summery of every show including a weeklong TV guide and HD recording.
6 stars total for the Philips DVDR3575H/37; 6 stars for the features on the DVDR3575H/37, +1 star for low upfront cost and no monthly fee, -1 star no titles and no TV guide, -1 star no HD recording, +1 star for DVD recorder).
The bottom line is that if you do not want to pay a monthly fee, do not want to record HD programming, do not record to many programs or do not mind spending the time to rename the title after recording and you do want the ability to move your shows to DVD, than this DVR is for you.
November 13 2007. Adding to my Sept 12 2007 review after using DVDR3575H/37 for 2 month. The unit locks up frequently. This happens more often when you watch a previously recorded show while another show is recording. At the end of the recording it tries to save the show to the hard drive and a System Error is displayed. You loose the recording. Also sometime the recorded show stops 1/2 way thru playback, while other recordings have no sound.
Dealing with Philips customer support is a nightmare. Instead of repairing the unit or solving the problem with a software update, Philips kept sending me defective new models.
Now Philips told me that I have only fee based options to get the 2 month old unit fixed since the original DVR was out of warranty.
After countless (over 20) calls and emails to Philips, one in-store exchange and two mail-in exchanges over the past 2 years, I still have a unit that does not work properly.
I am reducing my 6 stars to 2 star.
Pros Up to 160 hours of recording, easy editing
Cons No battery backup, small buttons
Summary I like this unit. It does EXACTLY what I wanted it to do and, best of all it's almost impossible to miss recording a show. Choose to burn a show direct to DVD and run out of room it will continue it to the hard drive. Set it to record to DVD and you have a movie DVD in there it will detect that and record to the hard drive instead. There are some broadcast shows/movies that have protection that prevent recording them to a DVD. This unit will detect them and burn them to the hard drive. I've even been watching a DVD when it came time to record a show. Up pops a message it's going to start recording a show in 1 minute to the hard drive... and it let me continue watching the DVD while it recorded the show I wanted to the hard drive simultaneously. That is cool. Doesn't matter if you have the unit on or off either way it'll record the scheduled program. If it's on it will pop up a message a minute before recording starts telling you the channel will be changing in a minute for a recording. Otherwise, it will power on, record the show, then power itself off.
I LOVE its editing feature, it's very easy to remove commercials off the HDD. Simply choose "scene delete", then it asks you to press the okay button when you want to start, and again when you want to end. I click to start at the beginning of commercials, and again at the end of them. It then asks me if I want to preview or delete them, I delete. If you screw up you can preview, cancel, rewind and fast forward to make sure you got the exact points. Afterward I can burn it to DVD, commercial free! It upscales to whatever setting you want through the HDMI (480, 720, 1080). It plays CD's, MP3's, you can even pause live TV!
I was particularly happy its antenna out is a pass-through. I use a rooftop antenna only (no cable), I plug my antenna into the antenna in port, and hook up an HDMI and coax cable to their respective out ports to my TV. That lets me set my TV to HDMI input when I want to use this unit for viewing or I can set my TV to antenna and it bypasses this unit as if I had my roof antenna directly plugged into the unit. Sort of like an AB switch without the switch.
It would be better if the unit had a guide, it can only tell you the current show playing whereas my TV has a guide button that lets me see a list of shows for hours ahead. It did detect all the digital stations my TV did, but oddly you can add/remove analog stations at will but can't add digital stations, only remove. Also, it doesn't store your recordings in some kind of permanent memory. If you lose power, you'll need to re-enter all your scheduled recordings.
When you set up a time to record, you have to say, record every thursday from 8:00 to 9:00 PM channel 04 at SLP setting (or you can choose a date as well). It doesn't record the info of that show or its title. When you recorded a bunch you'll get a preview of 6 shows per screen and it lists them like 12/25/2007 8:00 9:00 PM 25.1 if you highlight the show it will start playing the show in a little preview box to give you an idea what it was. You can also choose to edit and name it. Would've been nice if it embedded the title of the show.
It does what I want. I can play my music on it, watch my DVD's, record and watch shows with no intention of burning them to a DVD, don't have to worry about running out of room, and not concerned that I can't record in HD even if it's a HD show. Thanks to the big wigs out there every DVR has to downgrade the signal and record in standard definition and not restricted to just this unit or manufacture but all(except Tivo if you pay their subscription service). Most likely if you're looking at this unit, it's because you wanted something a little more than a DVR but didn't want monthly Tivo fee's. I give it an 8.5 but had to round up to a 9. Really would've liked it to have a TV guide feature and that it didn't lose my shows when the power fails but, it has literally changed the way I watch TV (being able to pause, store 160 hours, easily remove commercials before burning to DVD, play DVDs upconverted to HD) and now would never think about ever getting a regular DVR.
Pros only HDD/dvd recorder in US market
Cons lacks convenient features
Summary For starters, this is the only dvr left on the market in the USA, although there is also a similar and slightly cheaper model from Polaroid. For some reason all the manufactures stopped making them here. From about 2004-2006 every major electronics manufacturer, had Hard Disk recorder models for sale. What the hell happened? In Europe you can still have numerous brand models to choose from including multiple models from Phillips.
Previous to this I was still using vcr's to record something. The dvr is a huge step up from that. No more looking for tapes, and trying to figure out whats on the tape or how much room is left, etc. This model holds about 30 hours at the best quality. I only record shows once awhile and I'm already aware when they are coming on. Its hooked up to an old Samsung crt tv and the picture playback quality is indisguisable from the original at the highest setting. I have not recorded with the lower settings. I don't know how the difference would appear on an hdtv screen. One bad thing about this model is it does not record or upconvert to 1080p like it claims, which you can read about on cnet.
The menu is pretty basic and mostly black and white, but is easy to use for the most part. Its easy to record and delete selections and you can view thumbnails of your recording which play with sound too when you scroll on them. The dvd, player also works fine, but I have yet to try and burn a dvd from a hard drive recording. However, it doesn't appear difficult. You cannot copy a dvd to the hard drive on this model.
The remote is normal size but some of the most important buttons are too small and oddly placed, making it difficult to operate this remote by feel.
Overall, if you want a device to replace your vhs, and don't want monthly fees, this is your best and currently only real option. If you only record shows once in awhile and are not concerned about the lack of tv menus, and other features found on tivo devices, you should be happy with this. If you record numerous hours of tv a week, and don't know when shows come on, or want to record more then one program at a time, then you need to get a tivo
Pros DVR and DVD record to multiple DVD formats, Analog and Digital Tuners, Good picture quality for non-HD
Cons DVR buffer recording is not automatic, small remote buttons, no TV Guide
Summary I originally owned the Philips HDRW720 DVD Recorder with 120 GB Hard Drive. I loved the way this unit worked, but its timer settings were always messing up, along with the TV Guide listings. After 3.5 years, it finally got to the point where it was resetting and not recording shows even when the timer settings were set. Since it was out of warranty, and I needed one with a digital tuner for 2009, I decided to purchase the Philips DVDR3575H/37.
The primary reason I chose the Philips, even when I had problems with my last model, was because I could not find any other good choice out there besides TIVO, cable boxes, and PC-based systems. I also wanted to be able to record on DVD, as with my previous one. I have had no problems with my Panasonic DVD recorder, so if Panasonic still made a DVR, I probably would have bought it instead.
This new unit seems so different from my last, that it must have been totally re-engineered by Philips. The strangest thing about it is that it does not automatically record the current channel in the buffer, as my previous one did. So if you think you want to record a show that you are watching, you better hit the record button or set the timer ahead. Using the unit's "Pause Live TV" function is a waste if you want to keep what you are watching, because as soon as you hit the stop button, the buffer is erased. I also don't like the small buttons on the remote. It will take time to get used to. There also is no TV Guide, just date/time/channel settings, like a VCR. That's ok by me if the timer settings don't mess up like my old one.
Unfortunately, the first unit that I bought totally died after less than 2 days of having it. This was not a good sign. I exchanged it for a new one, and it has been working well for a week now.
It does what I need it to do, but wish that it was more like my old unit in design, but with the new unit's digital tuner and recording to all DVD formats, which the old unit could only record to +R/+RW. I will never understand why companies just don't improve on their old models instead of totally redesigning them.
In the end, I recommend this product if you do not want to deal with TIVO (subscription fee), cable boxes (monthly fee), and PC-based systems (long boot time and Windows issues). It stands alone, tunes analog and digital channels, and will record to DVD, either directly or from the DVR hard drive.Updated
I owned an older Philips DVR, and really liked it, except that it had issues with the built in TV Guide, that caused it to crash and erase timer settings. This newer product does not use TV Guide, but rather just regular date/time/channel settings. This is fine, and has had not timer resets or crashes in the 3 months that I have had this unit. So that is a plus. This unit also will record directly to DVD, as well as the built-in hard drive, with both +R/RW and -R/RW (the old unit recorded only +R/RW). Dubbing from HD to DVD is fairly quick. And the LP mode has decent quality recording. At EP, you can start to see some blockiness in the picture quality though. Another thing I like about this over my old unit, is that this one can commercial skip on both the DVR and DVDs. Also, this unit has a digital tuner, whereas the old unit only had an analog tuner.
Some things that I don't like about this newer DVR, is that you cannot pause the live TV while it is recording. You have 2 options, to press a "LIVE TV" button, but this is only for viewing. The program will not record. You can also press the PLAY button during an actual recording, and this will allow the "Live TV" playback, but it always starts at the beginning of the recording, not at the point where you press the PLAY button. This is good if you want to watch a show from the beginning that you started recording earlier. My older Philips DVR also recorded automatically into a 3 hour buffer, anything that was on the current television channel. This allowed you to record what was already in the buffer. With the new unit, you must press the record button to start recording, and it only starts at that point.
Overall, though, I am very pleased with this DVR/DVD Recorder, and would recommend it to my best friend. I did not give it 5 stars, primarily due to the things that I did not like.