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Sony DVD Recorder

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Hi everyone! Although this is my first post, I've been lurking for many moons, and have enjoyed immensly reading posts on the wide variety of topics that surface here.


Over this long weekend, I decided to take the plunge and buy a DVD Recorder. After doing a bit of research, I've bought a Sony HX900. I bought it in the full knowledge that (a) its editing capabilities are somewhat "limited" (on the HDD, it's simply A-B Erase -- no title splitting or combining), (b) it only has 8 timer settings, and © it can't record NTSC (hence my LD collection still lives! ;) ) ... however, what got me was the quality of recordings -- I'm blown away by what I can record (mainly off Sky movies). And at least it DOES have A-B Erase!


As far as I can tell, the recording quality settings (HQ, SP, LP etc) simply set a fixed bit-rate for encoding -- 10.08 Mbps for HQ, 5.04 Mbps for SP and so on (data from Sony's Asia-Pacific help desk website). So I can record a movie to the HDD at a very high quality. Of course, when I want to "dub" (using Sony's terminology) the movie to DVD-R for posterity, I need to reduce the quality so it fits onto the 4.7Gb disc.


Here's my question: when talking about "dubbing", the manual says that down-converting from HQ/HQ+ quality to a lesser one, it uses "variable bit rate", thus "retaining the picture quality as much as possible". Does this mean that I get a better picture if I record in HQ then down-convert to fit it onto a DVD-R, than if I simply record in (say) SP to start with?


The reason I ask is that it basically takes the time to play the movie to down-convert ... whereas if I can simply record in a quality mode to fit on a DVD-R, it takes a lot less time to physically write the DVD.


I've done a few comparisons over the course of the last couple of days, and can see little difference between the two methods ... just wondered if anyone else had any ideas on this. :D

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