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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive bit of kit...
After 12+ years with our old Sony VCR (still working well but relegated to playroom duties...) we decided it was time to upgrade to DVD. Extensive surfing of reviews revealed that this was a well thought of machine, and having used it for some 2 months now we can see why.
Delivery was swift, and initial set up to our 12 year old Sony Trinitron TV was straightforward,...
Published on 27 Jan 2006 by Frances

versus
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A little harsh but please read on
Ok, after reading the other reviews you will probably be thinking I must just be overly critical for giving this recorder a 1 star, however, there is a justifiable (in my mind)reason.

Firstly let me just say that I have owned this unit for about 1 month now and there are many aspects that I am very pleased with, namely:

It's easy to use...
Published on 1 Aug 2006 by Andy


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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive bit of kit..., 27 Jan 2006
By 
Frances (Fordingbridge, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
After 12+ years with our old Sony VCR (still working well but relegated to playroom duties...) we decided it was time to upgrade to DVD. Extensive surfing of reviews revealed that this was a well thought of machine, and having used it for some 2 months now we can see why.
Delivery was swift, and initial set up to our 12 year old Sony Trinitron TV was straightforward, although there were some issues with getting the DVD to talk to our Sky box. Careful reading of the instruction manual revealed where we were going wrong, and now everything is fine -as for other users, we have found that for someone brought up with VCR's it is essential to read and re-read the instructions to get the best from this impressive piece of kit.
When you take the time to do this the results are very good indeed. We haven't yet found a disc format that the machine can't sort out, the 80GB hard drive is big enough if you either watch the programmes you have recorded within a reasonable time, or dub those you want to keep for later (a straightforward process using the excellent on screen menus) The ability to watch a film whilst simultaneously recording another programme is also extremely useful.
If you are looking for a good quality machine, that promises a long life, with a sensible range of features, that will quickly become a trusted member of the family and all this at a good price, we recommend you take a good hard look at this.
Well done Sony!
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146 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased., 27 Sep 2005
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
I've had mine for almost two months now, and am very pleased with my new toy. However, I will not waste your time by repeating the glowing tributes of other reviewers, instead I'll concentrate on things not already said:
Yes, it has RGB on both in and out SCART sockets, which means that it can indeed record from an RGB source (eg. Sky or Freeview decoder box), and even in SP mode the quality of the recording is very close to the original - and believe me that I am very fussy about video quality, so I wouldn't say that if it wasn't true! In fact, this is the feature that most endears the Sony to me: at last I can make my own recordings comparable in quality to a retail DVD! (and the ability to edit out the ads is great too).
The machine is not completely flawless however.
The remote control needs to be pointed quite accurately to get any response, and the "field of view" of the remotes sensor seems to be quite restricted - so no more lazily waving the remote in the general direction of the TV! There is also a noticable lag between pressing (say) the pause button and playback actually pausing.
As a DVD player it's noticeably sluggish on menu transitions etc compared to the 5 year old Sony DVD player that it replaces. For example, it typically takes about four seconds after selecting a menu item before the selected item starts playing.
I also had one occasion where an HDD recording was encoded as widescreen when it was actually 4:3. I think it had something to do with an HDD timer recording starting while the machine was in DVD mode, with a widescreen DVD in the tray. I make sure now to always switch it back to HDD mode after watching a DVD, and I've never had the problem again.
These are all minor niggles and most of those would only be apparant to someone used to a really excellent dedicated DVD player, so this has not caused me to reduce the rating I give this machine.
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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation, 15 Aug 2005
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
I have owned this machine less than a week, but have experienced no problems what so ever. It is very user friendly by asking you what you want to do on screen. As an example, I have decided to compile a party music DVD from various music channels on sky. I set the HDD recording over an hour long period. I then reviewed the recording at high speed, noting which tracks I wanted to save. I then erased everything I didn't want (and this can be very accurate by selecting the cut point frame at a time). I selected a new thumbnail image and titled the track. Once I had enough tracks saved this way, I created a playlist and then burnt to DVD. I can not detect any loss in quality on the DVD from the original and it looks very professional. Amazon have not dropped their price yet (at the time of writing) to be competative with others, so shop around.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a beast, 24 Jan 2006
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
We have had this machine for the last 4 months and in many ways it is an excellent piece of kit. It was easy to install thanks to a menu option for a quick setup. This found the majority of the available channels in what is quite a poor reception area. After reading the manual (which is something I'm loathed to do), I discovered how to identify the channel and so I could re-order the found channels into the order that I wanted. Our television does have a SCART and I had invested in a expensive gold tinned connector which does seem to give a better picture than the cheap one I had.
The 80 Gig seemed quite generous when I bought it, but I soon found you can quickly fill it up e.g. with all of Bleak House. Transferring any program to DVD is also very simple, It's an option called 'dubbing' on the sub menu from the program list. One minor point is it doesn't actually give you a video feedback of how long it's going to take or what percentage of the process or even says "I've finished". Mostly I just leave it, do something else and when I remember either look at the smallish display or listen for the lack of the noise it produces as it does the writing.
It's also reasonably easy to segment programs. This means that you can delete the commercials from a film etc. A little tedious maybe, but it does save space.
One thing that I would like but it doesn't have is a USB connector. So there is no way of transferring data to my computer where editing would be so simple.
In reading the manual I also discovered that it was possible to control the TV from the same remote. This is possible even for TV's from other manufacturers, but this is the source of the one real negative. It's also why my partner believes it's possessed and tells anyone who cares to listen. You see when you program a recording, when that program starts it changes the channel on the TV and doesn't let you over-ride it. I've tried all the buttons on the DVD remote that are supposed to swap between the TV and DVD, and I've even turned the TV off and then used just the TV's remote to turn it on, but basically when its recording it want's you to watch it too. The only way round it is to pull out the SCART and revert to the TV's remote. So great bit of kit, shame it's a control freak.
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101 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, user-friendly machine, 5 Sep 2005
By 
Conor Hickey (Dublin 2, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
This machine is a joy to use. Setup was a matter of plugging it in and turning it on, all channels were downloaded and programmed on the same numbers as they are through the tv, couldn't be easier.
Recording to the hard disk or DVD is simple via clear and concise on screen menus. The timer works well and can easily be set to record individual programmes, daily, weekly etc. It can also update a program that you record and watch every week by automatically deleting the old one and recording the new one in it's place.
Playback on DVDs is as good as most players I've seen, from the hard disk at Standard quality or above it's excellent, you will see the odd few pixels in dark areas if you freeze frame the picture, but at normal motion it's un-noticeable. It's not multi-region for DVDs although this was a minor concern for me as I have a seperate player for import titles.
Other features like chasing playback where you can start watching a program while the machine records the rest of it, hi speed dubbing to DVD, automatic naming of recordings from teletext, and being able to watch a recording on the hard disk while the machine records another programme to the disk or on to a DVD are the icing on the cake.
Can't recommend it highly enough.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must-buy., 10 Jan 2006
By 
Mr. P. Dunphy "funderwhirl" (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
This is a very nice piece of kit indeed. I encouraged my dad to buy it after reading the reviews on this site.
You see, my dad's always been hopeless at setting videos to record stuff off TV. Well, the Videoplus on this DVD recorder is relatively painless and slick and already my dad has got the hang of it!
The cool thing about this DVD recorder, there is so much memory on the hard drive, you really don't ever have to burn anything onto DVD discs unless you REALLY want to keep it like some special documentary or foreign film or something.
My advice is to record the extra-special stuff like movies in the SP mode -- which when played back is clear-looking and clear-sounding as if it is being broadcast 'live' on TV. Amazing.
Any other programmes that aren't a massive priority for 'perfect' quality like sitcoms and documentaries and soaps or whatever, record in the LP (Longplay) mode, which is still far better picture and sound quality than VHS ever was! Happy days!
This way you'll find you never really need to burn any DVD discs!
I've knocked a star off my review for this product because the remote control pad is cumbersome -- just seems to have too many buttons! You'll get the hang of it eventually though.
In conclusion, this is a must-have for every home. Sad to say, but the VHS has officially had its day! Hope this was helpful.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent hardware, but ancillary problems!, 15 Jan 2006
By 
Martin Burgess "martincburgess" (Bicester, Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
Sony generally produce good quality and reliable products - and this is no exception. So lets get the grizzles out the way first.
Connecting the system to an old TV (with no scart - that how old) was a big problem. I also have poor terestrial reception, which requires a booster to assist. Several extra cables later (including a scart lead not included with the pack), the system was up and running. Which brings me on to the second grizzle, the handbook.
If you buy this equipment (or similar Sony DVD) ensure you take time out to sit down with the machine and run fully through all the instructions. At first read they are extremely difficult to comprehend, especially if you are not into the jargon used.
Recording a few "test" programmes has helped - along with the suggestion of someone elses review, some music video's, provided the opportunity to edit, cut, paste and copy from the hard disk to a DVD.
Having said all that, now it is up and running and I am familiar with the equipment, it has become relatively second nature to use and is already proving a good purchase. The features and quality of recording is very good and the facility to manipulate the media via the hard drive before copying to DVD provides a high degree of flexibility.
I would therefore recommend this product. However, be prepared to spend some time with your new purchase!
If you are considering Freeview as well, then go for the combined DVD and Freeview reciever as the Sony has further tricks up its sleeve which make recording even easier (NB It is also extremely easy to automatically record from a Sky box, using Sky as the means to trigger the recording via the player).
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but short-lived, 10 Jun 2006
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
I purchased this machine as a replacement for an earlier similar Sony (non-HD) model, which had developed an irreparable fault after only 7 months of use.

Amazon's customer services regarding my first machine were fantastic, Sony's was the polar opposite. Nevertheless, I have always thought Sony products to be superior, and opted to gamble on an upgrade to the machine's upgrade: the HX510.

From the outset, it was a dream. Technically challenging? Well yes, I suppose it's not a simple piece of kit, but if you take the time to sit down with the manual and have a play about with a few test recordings, you can get the hang of the majority of features in a relatively short amount of time.

This was my first experience of recording to hard disk. I'd always used direct recordings to DVD before, and in the case of timed recordings, recorded to re-writable DVDs and played them back on a separate player to dub them onto DVD on the Sony machine in order to manually pause-edit unwanted sections (hours of tedious adverts). An OK system, but restrictive in that all dubbing had to be done in real-time playback, which was a pain.

By contrast, this machine was like a dream come true. Programmes recorded to the hard drive could be edited (almost) to perfection on the HD, before being dubbed at lightning speed onto disk, to be watched at a later time of my choosing. Amazing.

The only quibbles I had were as follows:

THE REMOTE: This was not designed for humans. It took me only three months to develop RSI in both thumbs from the clunky positioning of the buttons. I don't know WHY they can't supply a basic keyboard to hook up with the unit, for the purpose of titling disks. All that flicking back and forth - just insane...not to mention extremely painful! I feel like a teenage Play Station junkie!

EDITING: when using the A-B erase editing feature to delete small sections, such as ad breaks, you could easily position the edit points using the pause and slow back and forward buttons to locate PRECISELY the right pause point...which the machine then ignored and selected a close, but not perfect approximation of the position, leaving you with fragments of the scenes you were trying to omit. Annoying, but on the whole, a fairly minor gripe, I suppose.

These things said, overall I was absolutely delighted with the unit. As another reviewer mentioned, the 'pausing' of live TV was a very useful tool if you don't want to waste 15 minutes of every hour of TV being subjected to crass advertising. Also very useful if your phone rings just as your favourite show starts.

Recording quality was superb in the top three settings, and even LSP was extremely impressive, only really showing slight flaws (pixilation) on high speed action scenes. Even the LP setting was pretty good - fine for shows you didn't want to keep.

So, I was pretty frustrated when, after only five months, the unit packed in. I mean completely packed in. No warnings. No small intermittent fault. It just gave a sigh and turned up its toes.

One day I was happily scrolling through my titles list on the hard drive when the screen froze. Nothing I could do would free it. I couldn't even operate the power off button. I had to unplug the machine at the mains. The the unit went into recovery mode. It finally seemed to sort itself out...for about 30 seconds, then did the same thing all over again. Repeated attempts to revive it were to no avail, although the DVD drive remained operational. The hard drive however crashed every time I tried to access any of the titles recorded on it.

I rang Sony (and after 45 minutes on hold) was told that this was a 'hardware fault,' and I'd need to take it to my nearest Sony service centre, which she told me was Liverpool. As I live 40 miles away in Manchester, (without my own transport) this wasn't really an option! Luckily the machine was still well within guarantee, so I could return it to Amazon. If the guarantee had expired I would have been stuffed. How come a big manufacturer like Sony has no service centre in a major city like Manchester?

Thank goodness for Amazon is all I can say. Both times I have dealt with them regarding faulty goods they have been speedy in their response, helpful, polite and accommodating.

It leaves me in a quandry now. I have to admit that I absolutely LOVED the Sony machine, but its unreliability, combined with the firm's atrocious customer support and non-existent repair service make me very reuluctant to purchase the brand again. Maybe if I moved to Liverpool...?
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well work a look, 2 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
I purchased this dvd recorder a few days ago , having previously owned two panasonic dvd recorders. The picture quality both for recording and playback is CLEARLY superior on the sony machine. I have a large plasma screen and previously thought those digital aftefacts were normal. Not so with the sony, the picture is simply breathtaking. The recordings on SP mode are also clearly better than the SP mode on the panasonic.The player is easy to use and setup. Don't take my word for it, go to a local retailer and judge the picture quality for yourself. Highly recommended.
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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Resign your video recorder to the scrapheap !, 29 Nov 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Sony RDR-HX510 DVD Recorder with 80GB Hard Drive (Electronics)
Bought this lovely piece of kit from Amazon last week and have not been disapppointed! So much more convenient than a video recorder as everything you record is displayed in a list along with the title of the programme you record, channel recorded, amount of space on the hard drive used and a small thumbnail of the programme too. No more searching around on a tape trying to find what you recorded a few weeks ago! It will take a while to fill the hard drive as I find that I delete a recording as soon as I've watched it, so this frees up any space used. Ignore the reviewers who say that this is a lot more complicated to use than a video...OK so it does have quite a few more functions than a video, but if you can program your video then this should pose few problems, as the menu system is well laid out. I found it almost impossible to tell the difference between a programme recorded using the default SP setting and watching live TV, such is the quality of the images. I have used the chasing playback numerous times so far, and being able to watch something recorded previously while recording something else at the same time is an absolute godsend. I haven't tried burning a recording to a DVD yet, so can't comment on that. Buy one now...you won't regret it !
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