Sanyo DVR H200 Reviews

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★★★★☆

“I bought the Sanyo DVR H200 at the end of July in...”

Written on: 25/10/2005 by DavidTW1 (1 review written)

I bought the Sanyo DVR H200 at the end of July in order to record all the shows that I would otherwise have missed while on holiday. VHS on long play still wouldn't have offered enough room, so this 160GB HD recorder seemed the perfect choice, offering us the ability to record up to 66 hours or so in SP mode (about half that in HQ mode). And it was a great choice. My wife and I enjoyed many hours that we would otherwise have missed while away, and we then went on to record loads of cool shows, concerts etc in gorgeous, just-like-the-telly quality. The ability to "pause live TV" has also been a much-used function, and one of the major reasons for choosing this model over certain others (if memory serves). Perfect for when you really fancy a little snack and there's no ad break on the horizon because you're watching BBC!

However, after a couple of weeks of use the first glitch appeared: a disc error that left me having to unplug the machine to turn it off since no other option worked. No matter; no damage appeared to have been done. Then, a few weeks later still, while Splitting and Merging a few shows to remove ads, another disc error occurred, again forcing me to pull the plug. This time the file I was working on became inaccessible, but strangely it remained in the menu, albeit without a thumbnail image. The next day on turn on, I realised that everything had in fact been lost -- nine pages of TV, approx 40 hours' worth. And no, of course, I hadn't backed anything up! A further problem I found was when trying to timer record direct to DVD-RW. For some reason it failed to either record or switch itself off properly on the two occasions I tried it. Again, causing me to reach for the plug. (Surely, all this unplugging can't be good for it?) Anyway, as I type this, I have just received a replacement, so fingers crossed that all these problems will now be gone.

What you ought to know if you are considering purchasing this machine (apart from the above, which we can all hope was an unfortunate one-off) is that, despite being easily "multiregionable", this is rendered all but useless by the fact that the machine will only output a PAL signal, meaning you will want to keep an additional MR DVD to play all your US discs. Not a very smart choice on Sanyo's part. I also think, although I have no frame of reference, that it seems a little slow backing up to DVD: about 10 mins for an hour, I'd guess.

All in all, working on the assumption that my woes are now over, I still think this is a good machine, if perhaps a touch pricey (it was £449 when I bought it). But that PAL-only output is a huge oversight, probably the worst thing about the unit.

My ratings are based to some extent on the hope that all the horrors we experienced were down to one faulty machine. And although I would recommend the machine to a friend, it would not be without some trepidation...

In the meantime, remember this: always back up those precious recordings! I know I will in future.

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