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Anyone have a Pioneer DVR-220-S

Discussion in 'DVD recorders' started by javykorg, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. javykorg

    javykorg Guest

    I want to buy this recorder Pioneer DVR-220-S from Wal Mart, but I wanna know if there are any issues with this model, is it compatible with 8X dvd-r media? picture quality? audio/video sync? compatibility?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. p5yco

    p5yco Guest

    from what i have read this player ca hold its own, however it is neither bad or excellent just average. if you can pick it up for a fair price then go for it, but ther are better models for the same cash. if you can get a panasonic, these are fantastic recorders.
  3. adorable

    adorable Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    Bought the DVR-220-S from Walmart for the usual $200 or so it sells for today.

    Took it home, hooked it up - you'll have to feed the video output into a RF converter if you have an old TV that only has 300/75 ohm connectors. The DVR-220-S doesn't output video through the antenna hookups in the back.

    Also, noticed that while I have a roof antenna, it didn't pick up on the strong ch.2-6 broadcasts if the antenna feed first went through my VCR deck, then routed into the DVD recorder. I had to route it first into the DVD recorder, then through the VCR and finally into my TV.

    Believe the tuner in the DVR-220-S is a little picky with the lower channels if you have another device ahead of it in the antenna hookup path.

    However, that said, both units now have crystal clear channels from 2 through 68, so there you go.


    The unit will simply black out the screen and there will be no audio if the tuner signal strength isn't strong enough for it to display a signal -- here, I wish all of the latest devices simply displayed static and the audio -- you can usually still see something even though it will look really bad.


    Hook ups to another DVD player, Philips DVP642, another walmart purchase, with m.vision and region unlocked still reveals that the DVR-220-S is sensitive to whatever CP signal is still left, and refuses to dupe directly.


    The recorder sets up pretty quickly - you simply let it auto-tune the channels, then set the auto time to a local PBS channel, and in minutes, it'll have the correct time and channels setup.

    It is interesting to note that it won't auto-find a channel that has the time-broadcasts - you have to set it manually to one of the local PBS channels that broadcast this info. (here in Los Angeles, ch.28 for me)

    The rest of the settings can be ignored -- but you may want to turn the auto-fit function on. This automatically changes the compression ratio on a recording to fit a timed recording to the current disc if there isn't enough space for your original quality setting (eg. if it's on SP 2 hr mode and you're recording to a disc that is half full, it'll automatically drop down to LP 4 hr mode to fit a 2 hour TV show recording to the disc). Why this isn't on in the first place is beyond me!

    Other settings are pretty much the usual - if you have a 4:3 or 16:9 screen, progressive or not, audio output type, etc.


    The remote control is a bit crowded, with two stop buttons and a variety of buttons here and there. You will think it's a bit crowded, and you may want to consider other models if you're not the type to learn every button on the control. (They could have put quite a bit into a nice menu button on-screen.)

    But, once you do pick up where the record, play and basic buttons are, it's not that bad, and okay.

    Some buttons are very tiny - eg. channel up/down; tv channel and volume, and why they did that is beyond me once again. Fat, big, easy-to-find buttons are my thing.

    That said, it's not a remote that you'll easily pick up operating blind. You do have to look at it to find most things.


    The front panel on the DVD is far easier -- they should have made the remote like this. Simply press play, stop, record, or channel up/down and you get 90% of what you need everyday. At least it's pretty easy to use.


    Downside is that they have two stop buttons! Why? For chase play mode where you can play a live recording. But it does make you confused at first which one you press to stop a recording! (Just pick the red one!)


    Timed recordings made by the easy-recording mode is that easy - just visually scroll through a timeline to pick the start and stop times, channel, record speed mode and you're done!

    Can't be easier, will hardly ever make a mistake, and it's easy to use.

    Menus overall are colorful, iconic, and pretty - can't say much more than they look nice, and I prefer this vs. other recorders that have text only menus.

    They're easy to navigate for the most part, so it's easy to find what you want most of the time. Some of the descriptors can be confusing until you learn by memory where certain things are. eg. is Time Jump located in Disc History or Disc Navigator? Thankfully, like learning to get somewhere based on the sights, you can learn the DVR-220-S the same.


    Timed recordings do lock the machine two minutes before the recording starts to spin up the disc, make it ready for recording (if necessary). Thus, you won't be able to watch the last two minutes of another channel using the DVD tuner - it'll automatically switch over to the channel you'll be recording two minutes from now.

    Once the recording starts, it does a pretty good job starting close or on the dot (assuming you're local auto-time broadcast is accurate).


    What's nice about the recording is that it automatically picks up the TV show title from the antenna broadcasts, and it'll auto-title each recording with the show's name.

    eg. 24 will be titled 24, The Simpsons will be titled the same, etc.

    Makes it very easy to figure out what each icon on the recorded DVD menu is.

    also, very nice!, when you have the icon for a recorded show on your DVD selected, it'll autoplay the show live in that icon so you can preview what it is - no need to play it, FF, and see if you've got the right show selected for playback.


    Record modes are the usual - Fine 1hr, SP 2hr, LP 4 hr, EP 6HR, and manually adjustable in 32 or so steps. (or was it 34?)

    Basically, everything above EP will be in standard MPEG-2 DVD format; EP and lower will be in MPEG-1 (think VCD) format.

    Quality on a regular TV looks fine down to EP if you're sitting a few feet away on the couch. EP looks like VHS EP mode if you're sitting a foot or two in front of the TV. The other modes look fine.

    Take the same disc and play it on a PC, and you'll notice the difference even more -- Fine is the sharpest and least blocky - like a very good PC conversion of video to DVD; SP is good, like a fast 1-pass conversion, but still decent; LP is similar to a live ATI All-In-Wonder or WinTV recording to the PC - more blocky, noticable artifacts, etc.; EP is well, like a VCD.

    Obviously the DVR-220-S has a decent block&noise reduction filter on playback of recordings, so that's why it looks better to play recordings on it than the PC.


    Noise, which shows up like grainy particles of sand in recordings, is quite well controlled even in LP/EP mode vs. some yucky PC MPEG-2 live recorders which simply go super-blocky or rectangular blocky when there's noise.

    The noise appearance is a lot less annoying than what you'd normally see on a live MEPG-2 recording on a PC TV tuner card.

    Keep in mind that you can manually adjust the noise reduction level on the deck.


    Startup takes a few dozen seconds; insert of disc to playback takes a few more seconds. It's not as fast as a DVD player simply because it has to figure out if the disc is recordable or not, and to spin up the cooling fan in back.
    Shutdown is quick.

    The cooling fan is very quiet, and silent in all cases I've used and tested the deck. Definitely not a noise problem at all IMO.


    So far, at least on cheap 1x DVD-R media (CMC MAG) and included samples of FujiFilm DVD-R for Video DVD-R and DVD-RW discs, the recorder works perfectly! Absolutely no glitches, pauses, stutters, or any other problems in the recordings.

    (I'm happy because I have a good use for all of those slow, old 1x DVD-R Optimum discs I have bought cheap.)

    Here, don't bother feeding it faster than 2x discs -- why? It won't record faster than that live, and when finalizing, etc., I don't think the drive runs much faster.

    The drive is quiet - again, like the fan, not a problem when recording or playing in a quiet room. You just don't hear it.

    Same with drive eject/close noise - very quiet, you can hear it, but it's very muted and soft.


    Front panel display is nice - when you change the record speed, it'll tell you right away how much time is left on the disc inserted for another recording. Nice feature!


    The drive remembers the last 50+ discs you've recorded to. It'll remember the title along with how much empty space is left, so you can easily and quickly pick a disc you've recorded to to fit a new recording onto. Here, simply press the menu, bring up the disc history icon, and there's the whole list on-screen.


    Some things are buried farther than I'd prefer. Here, jumping ahead by exact timecode takes a few menu presses -- Main Menu -> Disc Navigator -> Jump -> by Time -> enter time and enter. Wish this one feature was on a remote control menu button!


    Watch out if you've got an old TV! The DVD player menus come right up to the edges and beyond on an old TV like mine, and overscans to the point where most left hand menus are partially cut off. Not a problem with the newer TVs, but something to keep in mind. Wish they thought it out more and put the menus in the center like any thought-out deck should.


    AV sync over 2 hours is perfect - no problems, no out-of-syncs, just perfects sync.


    Forget PAL discs - this baby will play them, but only in B&W! It won't internally convert from PAL to NTSC timing for output like the Philips DVP642.


    Forget any foreign discs. No region unlocks yet that I know of.


    DVD recording from the front panel SVHS jack from a cheap Sharp VL-Z3U camcorder works fine. Quality is so-so due to the so-so quality of the camcorder and use of the SVHS jack, but otherwise, okay for what it is. Really easy Camcorder to DVD copies, even though this model doesn't have the DV input jack of the $300 DVR-320-S, and it works fine.

    Just keep in mind to keep the deck in Fine or SP mode for this purpose and you won't really miss the DV input at all for most consumer level DV camcorders under $500 (which can't even get past 350 lines of resolution due to poor quality single CCD sensors).


    Plays DVD-R and DVD+R video discs from a PC just fine.


    Like any recorder, finalize does take a few minutes (menu says 4min) here, so you know the drive inside isn't faster than 2-4x. You need to do this on recordings you'll take to a PC or most other players. Once done, they play fine on other recorders, laptop, pc, etc here.


    NO HOLES in the TOP of the unit! YEAH!! You can stack it up with more decks on top w/o fear of overheating! Hate the ones where you can only put it on the top of a deck stack due to vent holes.


    In the end, after a LOT of research for a cheap DVD recorder, it came down to a handful - the iLo for $139 at walmart (has pluses of DV input jack, m.vision and region unlock, cheaper, easier-to-navi menu and remote; has minuses of skipping, shutting down w/o warning, louder fan, green tint in video recording problem, tv tuner lack of sensitivity in lower channels problem, etc), a few on-sale decks - Philips, Panasonic for $199, and this one.
    Pioneer DVR-220-S does have a stereo tuner for stereo recordings; iLo doesn't.

    The manual is comprehensive and does explain just about everything clearly.

    I didn't see any real negatives for the DVR-220-S, so I tried this unit out first. Although the remote and menuing could be simpler designed, it's easy enough for me to use that after 3-4 recordings, I've got it down pat. The best thing about this deck vs. the iLo - no problems! Although it would have been nice to have rgn & mvsn free, I do have the Philips DVP642 for that. Also, DVD recorders will improve significantly over the years (add dupe capability, Divx recording, etc.), so I'm not itching to spend $$$$ on a recorder knowing this. (ie. might as well go cheap and upgrade next year)

    videohelp.com had a long thread on this model vs. the other cheapies for recorded image quality from video input, and the DVR-220-S was the best -- maintaining the best image quality and colors. This is another HUGE reason I picked the Pioneer first - no point spending a few dollars less on a recorder that got crappy recordings (keep in mind, this IS important - poorer input = poor quality recordings even at FINE mode).

    That said, I had the same itch to return & try out the iLo for the heck of it after getting the DVR-220-S, but after two weeks of use, I've kept it because it's so easy to use, has nice & colorful menus, auto-plays each recording as a preview in the disc menu selection, auto-sets the time quickly (a minute or so), and auto-titles each recording with the show's name (really, really like this feature!) without any problems at all. It's really one of those no-brainer recorders that simply does it's job whether from the TV antenna or camcorder, and does it right w/o fussing. Oh, and also love the fact that the front display tells you how much recording time you've got left on the disc when you change recording speeds!

    I'd much rather stick with the Pioneer than have to deal with crashes, shutdowns, failed recordings, green tinted video, etc. of the iLo, and for the small/insignificant difference between the $200 Pioneer and $140-180 other Walmart and cheap DVD recorders out there, I'd much rather keep this one! (and I've read the reviews on the other cheapies - yuck!) Above all, image quality is the best of those tested!

    Happy here =)
  4. Gtrman

    Gtrman Regular member

    Jan 13, 2005
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    I have the DVR-420 (220 w/ HDD) and it is awesome. I also own the ILO HD04 (w/HDD) and, for the price, it does a good job. The ILO has been known for its little bugs but they are slowly getting fixed with firmware updates. Plus, with the ILO, there is available hacked firmware to disable MacroVision and allow you to copy protected VHS movies. A nice plus!!

    The Pioneer is, by far, the better choice for good quality recordings and tons of features and the ILO is better for its ability to be hacked and copy protected movies.

    I hope this helps in your decision

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