The Philips DVDR3400/37 ~ Testing / Review / Opinion

by Lyberty, March 2007 (see bottom for last updated date)


Philips DVDR3390
Automatic Settings Used by this recorder
NTSC DVD
Video
------
24 bits, 720x480, 4:3
29.97 frames/sec
Date rate= 9,000 kbps
  (9 megabits-per-second)
Audio
------
Dolby Digital Audio
48 kHz
384 kbps

Product Sheet from Philips (The Netherlands): http://www.p4c.philips.com/files/d/dvdr3400_37b/dvdr3400_37b_pss_aen.pdf

THE BASICS:
Just routing the S-Video connection through the box from Satellite seems to show a picture improvement, at least as far as color goes (?)

[Update (2007-04-06): Actually, I've been seeing some degredation! It appears that watching standard Satellite TV through the recorder will introduce compression artifacts not seen if you just hook the cable directly to the tv... even if you aren't recording something. This might even be variable, based on whatever quality setting you currently have. I'm assuming it's processing and compressing the video in real time constantly.. It's hard to tell if this is the DVD Recorder or my DVR. The only way I'd really be able to tell is if I played a stream on two tvs simultaneously, one stream from the DVR to the tv, the other through the Panasonic DVD Recorder..]

First test: After setup, Record to 2 hr (SP) mode and 1 hr (HQ, "High Quality") mode - VERY pleased with results. DVD media used: "8x" Memorex DVD-R. >> Plays fine in multiple DVD players, KEEPS CC (closed captioning)!!, standard DVD format with AC3 audio, can be opened/explored/played from PC's DVD drive...
The only odd thing is that if you play it as standard DVD on PC, it looks like the CC signal has to be in lock step with the video, so (unlike normal DVDs) seeking forward/backward through content is, apparently, disabled.
If you open the VOBs directly though, no such problem (though you then lose the Closed Captioning). This _could_ be just a peculiarity of Nero Showtime though.

Here's the question of the day:
what's the difference between
the DVDR3400/37 and the DVDR3400/37B ?

Second test: Throw a DIVX file on a USB key, plug it into the Philips and... Success!
(okay, technically, it was a XviD 1.1.0 with MP3 48000Hz 128 kb/s tot , Joint Stereo LAME3.90, and it was put on an old Sony DSC camera with a 512 "MB" magic gate, then plugged that into the USB port on the DVD player, but you get the idea...)

Per the manual, the USB input should support only MP3, Windows Media Audio, JPG, and Divx, and then only

Notes:
* "the recorder does not support MP3PRO audio format" (MP3's encoded using the MP3Pro codec).
* the USB drive has to use FAT32; it doesn't support NTFS.

Other tests:

 
My Firmware:
DVDR3400_NAFTA_V08_08 , Region: 1 , Drive: 45.04.05.09.
Build: 0107_PHILIPS_V17 Jul 19 2006, 12:47:02   Stroke: 37
 
Latest Firmware (as of July 2007) :
DVDR3400_,,,,,,,,,, _V09_10
  How to tell your firmware version:
turn on player, open tray, make sure there is no disk, close tray. On your remote (hold the remote very close to the machine), press (slowly and deliberately):
"0 0 0 9" (that's three zeros, followed by a nine), then press the "OK" button.

plays a nero encoded .mp4 file on a USB key NO
plays a nero encoded .mp4 renamed as .avi: NO (fail)
> plays an old (very old) CD-R with a bunch of jpgs in folders and some XviD 3 (DIV3 = "DivX v3 ;-) MPEG-4 Low-Motion"), DivX 3 , and wma files: YES
Note: playing JPEGs is annoying and pointless: resizing is odd, controls are clunky and unresponsive, the "wipe" effect is lame, you can't control the time each pic is displayed, not at all clear how you would add music....
if you don't want to wait for the autotimer to advance to the next picture, and you press the NEXT button, an annoying 'Display Info' Window pops up over photo , which ruins the slideshow effect, you have to hit "display" again twice to remove it each time, etc. etc.
A poorly implemented gimic.
try recoding an .avi file (xvid) as wma (using windows movie maker) [first five minutes of a sopranos epsiode, from .avi]: NO
plays .avi (XviD ISO MPEG-4, encoded from MEncoder/MPlayer) from USB: OK!
plays .exe file encoded from jpegs using IrfanView:
NO

> plays .m4v file: NO

>:> plays .m4v file renamed as .avi: NO
>:> plays .m4v file renamed as .divx: NO

 

NO
> play simple .mov file (quicktime, not mp4): NO
NO
> plays .wmv (encoded from Windows Movie Maker): NO  
 

RELEASE NOTES for the Firmware Updates

Notes for the US version:

Notes for the UK Version:

A note about upgrading the firmware:

There are two files in the firware upgrade package
because one is [RECORDER FIRMWARE]
and the other is [LOADER FIRMWARE].
Like many other things on this unit, you have to do the upgrade TWICE;
that is, it may look like it's done after the first part of the upgrade,
but it's not. So don't select the [Cancel] button; when you see the
screen for 'continue with upgrade' the second time, select [OK]
to begin the second part of the firmware update (the "loader" part).
(You should be able to tell you're done when the disk tray ejects by itself.)

More Info on Updating Firmware and General Troubleshooting: " DVDR 3400 FAQ "


New (Date first available at Amazon.com: June 1, 2007): (the 3575) :

Philips DVDR3575H/37 1080p Upscaling DVDR with Built-In Tuner
and 152 GB Hard Drive (152 GB = 160 Billion Bytes)
($300)


see also

| Philips DVDR 3400 ($200) | DVDR 3505 ($170) | DVDR 3575 ($300) | Philips DVDR 3390 |

 


From a Finalized DVD-R disk : THE VIDEO_RM Folder:
- The File VIDEO_RM.IFO (and the duplicate back up file, VIDEO_RM.BUP) shows:

DVDVRMANAGER
/<whatever-you-named-the-dvd>|| LSI LOGIC SH@SZ || DMN8600mk* || version 1.0
- File VIDEO_TS.IFO shows: DVDVIDEO VMG || DVD-VR01
- As for the VIDEO_RM.DAT file, in a Hex Editor, it's just row after row of NULLs ..........

*This is the processor ( do a google search for [ DMN-8600 ] or [ dmn8600/mk ]).
Shared in other DVD recorders. View the details at LSI Logic
Full name: "DiMeNsion 8600" a.k.a. "DoMiNo 8600" (guess they couldn't make up their minds what it stood for).
Desciption: single-chip DVD recorder system. current as of: 2006; newer (?) LSI chip is the DMN-8633 (link).
LSI's current product lineup:
DMN-8633 (ATSC DVD Recorder , i.e. North America broadcast TV)
DMN-8602 (Analog DVD Recorder)
DMN-8603 (Analog DVD Recorder)
DMN-8604 (Analog DVD Recorder)
DMN-8623 (DVB , i.e. Digital Video Broadcast, DVD Recorder)

 


 

Amazon: Item model number: Philips DVDR3400/37 : $150 (from J&R Music World); see also the DVDR3355/37 (older model, more expensive, fewer media capabilities) [pricerunner]


 

3rd Test: FAILED

I got overconfidend with the first couple of tests, I guess. For this one, I started and stopped the recording a bunch of times, and recorded small chunks (music videos). Then I used the built-in DVD menu editing feature to set the preview pictures and change the Chapter titles (chapter names). Also changed the DVD title. After finalizing the disk, two major problems:

1. The video freezes at certain points during playback (this especially sucks for music videos).
2. When put into my standard use DVD player, only the first "chapter" will play. Something went terribly wrong with the finalization of the menu by the Philips recorder, because all the content except the very first recording is now impossible to access (either by menu selection, entering chapter numbers, using fast forward, etc.)

In other words, this disk will ONLY play in the Philips deck that recorded it, and even then it's got video problems.

Analysis: seems to have been a one time thing - presumedly cause because I tried to use the DVD menu editing features provided by the box. All other DVDs I recorded, where I left the menu as is (didn't change autochapters) seem to play fine.


How To...

~ See also ~

specs & discussion for DVDR3390 (videohelp.com)
DVDR3400 @ videohelp.com
download manual (from retrevo.com)
View other DVD Recorders: http://www.lsi.com/insight_center/lsi_and_you/product_showcase/index.html

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(*2) - Googlism for "Graveurs de salon DVD-R"
dvdr3400_37b_rtf_.jpg
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This page first published: March 8th 2007
Updates: April 2007 ; August 2007 ; January 2008 ; April 2008

Date first available at Amazon.com: June 1, 2007
http://cgi.ebay.com/Philips-DVDR3400-DVD-Recorder_W0QQitemZ250130734552QQcmdZViewItem