Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 DVD Recorder Reviewed

Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 DVD Recorder Reviewed

Adding to their already impressive stable of high-end audio gear, Pioneer brings to the table the DVR-7000 DVD recorder. Featuring the "-" flavors of recordable DVD, the DVR-7000 has all the build quality and performance you'd expect from an Elite model Pioneer.

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While at the International Consumer Electronics Show (ICES) in Las Vegas, Nevada this past winter my eye caught something I just had to get my mitts on--the new Pioneer DVR-7000 recordable DVD player.

Additional Resources
• Read more Denon DVD-Audio and SACD player reviews here.
• Read audiophile source component reviews here including SACD and DVD-Audio players, turntables, DACs, CD transports and more.
• Learn more about Pioneer and Pioneer disc players here.

Understand the historical impact here DVD fans. The VHS VCR was the single biggest component introduction to the consumer electronics industry ever. I say, "was" because even in its heyday, the VCR did not produce the impressive growth
numbers the DVD player is producing today. All this, with the biggest obstacle for the DVD format being the delivery of Recordable in the DVD medium. (Yes, the idea here is that DVD-R will make the VCR obsolete.) And for those of you shouting "no way!" Please put down this magazine, go dust off your old issues of Audio and break out some vinyl records...oh, and while you're at it, make sure you use words like "warm" to describe the sound. . . (tap, tap, is this on?)

Learning to live with first generation components comes with the territory as a technology aficionado. When it comes to DVD-R first generation woes, expect there to be few, but nothing .more than those minor bumps that often inhibit learning any new process.

Effectively, DVD Recordable works just like your VCR. Record your favorite TV shows or transfer those old VHS home movies onto a more robust medium. Remember, you cannot expect that playback will offer DVD quality. It will only be as good as the source from which it was originally recorded from.

Like Recordable CDs, Recordable DVDs can be created in two different formats DVD-RW (rewriteable up to 1,000 times) and DVD-R (write once). While either format will allow you to record up to 4.7 gigabytes of information, each is used under their own primary functions. DVD-RW is primarily used for recording video and multiple cut editing. Whereas DVD-R is for recording data and final cut recordings (those that will not have any further changes.)

Unique Features - What more can I say about the Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 other than it's a full-featured DVD player that will also record onto DVD? For starters it
has an on-board video editing system that offers exceptional editing capabilities. These capabilities are further enhanced by cameras with a DV (digital video) output when connected to the Pioneer DVR-7000s frontal DV port via an MINK cable. (iLINK is a IEEE1394 "firewire.")

Users must first upload video onto a DVD-RW disc through a capture sequence of sorts. The Pioneer DVR-7000 then automatically detects the start and stop of each segment and displays them as thumbnails on the editing menu display. Editing down the length of each segment isn't exactly what I would call "intuitive." But it can get the job done with some practice and patience. Once the clips are in an agreeable order, you may input a project title overlay and finalize the new project. The only thing missing from the Discnavi editing function is the ability to add various fades between scenes. While I feel that this is a crucial function for being a "complete" video editing machine, I do not think that the Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 was designed with that intention. If video editing is your primary concern, then the Pioneer DVR-7000 will be a great tool for rendering your completed projects. And I recommend buying Adobe Premiere 6.0 or even Pinnacle Studio Version 7 or higher. Once the disc is rendered playback offers chapters at the start and stop of each clip just as any other DVD. If you're tired of having to fast forward to the "good parts" this is for you.

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The Pioneer Elite will quickly replace your old VCR. Record your favorite TV shows using the VCR Plus feature and ensure hassle-free recordings.

Installation/Setup - The Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 will install into your existing entertainment system much like a common VCR does. The back panel features a coaxial in and out to allow the unit to operate as a "slave" to the cable or satellite box. Progressive scan output must still be maintained through the component video output to the display just as any other progressive scan player would. If your set is not HD compatible (that is to say it does not offer component video inputs) then you would connect it using either S-Video or composite video cables.

I did not care for the on screen menu of the Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 at all. In fact, I cannot find anything that I liked about it. The text and graphic layers look much like that of an early Windows operating system. This leads to potential problems for first-time users because menu navigation is also not very intuitive. (Maybe the "Getting Started" chapter being 24 pages was my first clue to this.)

Moving right along, the remote control isn't much better. I like the idea behind the single "thumb" joystick, but it did not have a very solid feel to it. At times, when I would push left or right it would move the key up or down and vice versa. This may have been due to the fact that my review sample looked like it had been through a war when it arrived and had obviously been "reviewed" by others before me.
Though I understand products are reviewed a multitude of times, I don't feel as if coming from the manufacturer it should look as if it has been.

The upside to my woes is that once the player had been set-up it operated wonderfully. Both the DVD-R and -RW recordings I made were excellent. And the DVD-Rs that I recorded worked in other players including my computer without a single glitch.

Final Take - It is very difficult to be an opinionated technology writer today. I have had a wonderful working relationship with Pioneer and its people over the past several years and cannot remember the last time I said this many negative things about one of their components. I feel the need to remind myself that this is a first generation component and should be applauded as such. Yet, I can't help but feel that it does not live up to the same standards that their other Elite line of products do.

The bottom line is that the Pioneer Elite DVR-7000 delivers exactly what the company claims--nothing more, nothing less. The build quality of the player lives up to the Elite name as one would expect from a $2,000 player, but some features fall short. Maybe Pioneer has done too good a job producing their Elite line over the years to get away with any shortcuts today?

Nevertheless, a Recordable DVD recording can be twice as good as the best VHS recording, the medium itself is much more robust. VHS tapes will degrade over time, while Recordable DVDs will last an average of ten to twenty years depending on variable conditions.

The Recordable DVD is here to stay and I am confident that whether it's this generation of player or the next, Pioneer will be one of few leading the way.

Suggested Retail Price
Pioneer Elite DVR-7000
$2,000.00

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