Sony RDR-HX980 Reviews

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“I speak here as a user, not a technical fanatic... ”


written by ampmaestro on 19/03/2009

I speak here as a user, not a technical fanatic...

I first started using DVD recorders about 3 years ago with a Sony RDR-HX910, which is an earlier evolution of the HX980. It was a good recorder and was quite easy to use, even for a novice like me. I bought and used a Panasonic EH-60 recorder alongside the HX910 and noticed quite a few differences between the two. Well, I now have the Sony HX980 and also another Panasonic recorder alongsice it, the EH-58, and guess what... Both models have obviously moved on since their earlier grand parents but the differences between the older rivals are almost the exact same as the new ones.

Back then I thought the Sony had the better looking picture but the Panasonic had superior editing. Well, now the Sony HX980 has a lot better editing than HX910 and is equal to or even better than the Panasonic EH-58's. The picture from the HX980 is,, like the previous rivals,, better than the EH-58. The Panasonic has Composite, S-Video and Scart inputs while the Sony now only has Composite and S-Video (no scart this time). I can only guess at why - With HDMI and high end video resolution from Blu-ray and HDTV floating about all over the place, maybe Sony don't like to give any more copying capabilities than is necessary. S-Video will only allow standard TV to be input into the unit.

I love Sony's new editing layout, except for ONE thing.. It's no longer full screen, instead, a video box about one quarter of the screen with the rest of the screen taken up by start/end and timing layouts for neat accurate editing. A vast overall improvement indeed. Setup menu, timer and most of the other features can be viewed upon as a natural update over previous models but almost identical to navigate,, very neat, very easy. It also has (just like the Panasonic EH-58) HDMI 1080P output to give an impressive pictured indeed, marginally but noticably better than the Panasonic EH-58 which, like its older ancestor, seems to suffer from noise levels in the video, most noticable where there are clean contasts between straight edges e.g when you bring up the satellite receivers programme guide which has yellow text against a blue background. The lines and borders show noise which can not be taken care of by either the EH-58 or the Sony 1080P LCD TV I have. In normal viewing, it's not too noticable though... Both units have 250Gb HDD's and burning DVD's is about as equally easy in either unit.

Between the two rivals, the Sony would win by a nose, as they appear to have updated where needed slightly better than the Panasonic...

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