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  #1  
07-03-2021, 02:34 PM
mbassiouny mbassiouny is offline
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Hi there,

We all know that VCRs are a bit sensible, buying them used from Ebay is a bit risky, as you might end up with one that needs to be repaired.

Are DVD players, specially like Panasonic DMR-ES10/15 sensible like VCRs? or should it be fine to buy any for use as passthrough in VHS captures as long as seller said it "works fine" (usually they just test by playing a DVD)

Thanks
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  #2  
07-06-2021, 07:42 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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DVD players are arguably less prone to problems than VCRs, thanks to fewer moving parts and newer circuits and components. Buying from an auction site will be driven by your tolerance for risk/uncertainty.

What you find on ebay (and other unvetted sites) is generally of uncertain provenance, and the competence of the seller to accurately describe the item is usually unknown. (Some reputable businesses/resellers do list on ebay.) Thus there will be risk, although perhaps not as much risk as buying a VCR. In any case if the unit fails to perform as listed you have some recourse to get a refund - you just will have wasted some time and effort in the process.
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  #3  
07-06-2021, 08:26 PM
Hushpower Hushpower is online now
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  #4  
07-06-2021, 09:59 PM
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One of the biggest risks with ES10/15 is coming from a smoking home, as smoke damages electronics. And since so many sellers are now recyclers, not the original owners, it can be hard to get accurate info. You'll often get BS like "I don't smell anything" (translation = their nose is broken, and they couldn't smell poop if their nose was covered brown in dung). Electronics damaged by smoke not only reek, but have a nasty tar-like film on the inside boards.

You mostly get that problem with consumer goods, like cheaper DVD recorders (ES10/15 was not premium priced), or budget camcorders.

A common tell-tale of ash-tray ES10/15 is the remote buttons turn yellow, the white RCA inputs on back are yellow. For whatever reason, smoker gear is also usually rougher, with scratches and dents.

eBay is a cesspool for VCRs, and now often even TBCs -- few sellers know how those should actually function. But a DVD recorder can be attainable there, with some careful inspection of photos, and the right pre-sales questions. A DVD recorder is somewhat binary, it either works (plays DVD, records DVD-R/+R) or doesn't.

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  #5  
07-07-2021, 04:02 AM
mbassiouny mbassiouny is offline
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Thanks guys for your input. I know ebay may have good and bad seller, and people who are just normal users selling what they own.

Quote:
A DVD recorder is somewhat binary, it either works (plays DVD, records DVD-R/+R) or doesn't.
another concern I have is blown capacitors, I know it is common issue for the Panasonic AG1980, but dunno how common it is for the dvd recorders. afaik, if you have blown caps it will still work but give bad colors

I just listened to hushpower and bough it, we will see how it goes. It comes from non-smoking env. and has no yellowish white RCA inputs. I hope it works.
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  #6  
07-07-2021, 05:38 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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The ES10/15 came out in around 2005 give or take. That was toward the end of the era of bad caps. By that time the problem had been discovered and hopefully corrective action taken by the better manufacturers. Early production may be more likely to have cap issues than late production if tht model has issues.

Note that any electrolytic cap may fail over time; however, the significant problem Panasonic had was mainly surface mounted electrolytics in the AG-1980 and perhaps other models from the same era, especially if they shared boards with it..
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  #7  
07-07-2021, 06:51 PM
mbassiouny mbassiouny is offline
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@dpalomaki, thanks for sharing the info. Seems like it might be really binary as LS said. If it works, it works, not just partially.
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  #8  
07-08-2021, 11:45 AM
Bogilein Bogilein is offline
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If you pay attention to a few details in the Ebay auctions, the probability is high that you will get a working device.
I would only buy a unit that comes with the original remote control (which is required) and the user manual. Preferably also the original packaging.
The unit should also start up when you switch it on, whether the TV tuner or the DVD drive is working is not really important. It should also come from a smoke-free household. Serious sellers will also provide information about this.
However, I would not spend more than 30 euros on a DVD recorder.
If there is no Panasonic ES-10 available, you should also look for older models such as the DMR-MH2 or E55 or from the same product line of the ES10 with a hard drive DMR EH52.
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  #9  
07-08-2021, 11:49 AM
mbassiouny mbassiouny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogilein View Post
, I would not spend more than 30 euros on a DVD recorder
this is not a realistic limit in my case, I use native NTSC in Europe. shipping alone for an NTSC DVD recorder from US is in the 40-60$ range without the price of the item itself, but I appreciate your other tips! Thanks a lot
I already got one. We will see how it goes.

Last edited by mbassiouny; 07-08-2021 at 12:17 PM.
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  #10  
07-08-2021, 12:17 PM
Bogilein Bogilein is offline
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I have just read the operating manual for the ES10. The ES10 can also process real NTSC and not just PAL-60. The important thing is that your player can play back real NTSC. There are only a few video recorders in Europe that can do this. Mainly Thomson video recorders. Your TV or capture card must also be able to record true NTSC. I see no reason why I should import a DVD recorder.
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  #11  
07-08-2021, 12:20 PM
mbassiouny mbassiouny is offline
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dammit, I should have read the manual... paid expensive shipping fees for nothing-_- I searched bit and saw folks on videohelp saying one should get the NA model for NTSC, but I did not think of reading the manual (which is ofc my mistake).

The extra money spent is not a huge difference, but at least I can use eu models without that huge annoying step-down transformer !

You sure it reads Native NTSC and output native NTSC? (it does not convert the output?)

Last edited by mbassiouny; 07-08-2021 at 12:32 PM.
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  #12  
07-08-2021, 05:23 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Fair market price for the ES10/15 is $75 to $150, depending on factors. If you try to overly low-ball, unrealistic budget, you'll either get nothing or broken non-working crap.

Yes, always get units with remotes. This also means that "tested" and "working" is complete BS when the remote is not included, as it's required for proper operation. Only the most basic of buttons is on the unit, and does not all for any testing or assertions of proper function.

The PAL ES10 natively does both PAL and NTSC, via remote/button codes. I forget the motions offhand, but it's documented online, and in this forum. It's full true NTSC, not a quasi. What I'm not sure about, however, is how accurate the luma and IRE are for NTSC on the PAL unit. I've never had time to test this. Note that I do own both the PAL and NTSC ES10 units. The PAL ES10 working as nicely as the NTSC ES10, in terms of anti-tearing.

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  #13  
07-08-2021, 07:22 PM
mbassiouny mbassiouny is offline
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Hey LS, Thanks for your reply. I got it for 100ish shipped (with original remote).
Quote:
how accurate the luma and IRE are for NTSC
That's another concern I had about getting the PAL unit, but I actually still have it since I am getting an NA device to use with JPN VCR. My black is 0 IRE but for the NA the Black Level is 7.5 so I am not sure how the ES10 will do in my case.

It will be great if you (or someone else who owns the PAL version) can test this
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  #14  
07-09-2021, 03:48 PM
Bogilein Bogilein is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Fair market price for the ES10/15 is $75 to $150, depending on factors. If you try to overly low-ball, unrealistic budget, you'll either get nothing or broken non-working crap.
Well, the realistic price is, of course, without postage and fees to anywhere in the world.
On the European market and especially the German market, 30 euros is realistic.
Of course, you have to watch the market. If you want the device immediately, you have to take what is currently available.
I wouldn't buy a device anyway where the buyer advertises that it is ideal for digitising videotapes. These devices often lack accessories. That's why I recommend looking for a device with an original remote control and operating instructions. There are plenty of these devices on the German market at the prices mentioned.
I own more than 10 DVD recorders of various brands (JVC, Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic, Philips, Toshiba) and I have not paid more than 30 euros for any of them, including rare devices such as a JVC-DR-MH300 (10 euros). None of my devices are defective.

Here is a small selection of interesting devices that I could buy today at this price:
Panasonic DMR-ES10: 30 euros
Panasonic DMR-ES15: 20 Euros
Panasonic DMR-E55: 11 Euros
Panasonic DMR-HS2: 30 Euros
Panasonic DMR-EH52: 17 Euro
one of the last Sony's RDR AT-105: 15 Euro
various Pioneer DVR 530,540,550: 20 Euros
JVC DR-MH20: 13 Euros

When I look at it like this, 30 euros is almost too much as a realistic price.

As for the Panasonic DMR-ES10, it has to be said that there are other Panasonic DVD recorders that deliver the same performance and that this one was only hyped by various video forums and the devices are actually too expensive. It was very popular in 2005 because it was the cheapest device (without a hard drive). Here on Digitalfaq, too, the passthrough function is reduced to the Panasonic DMR-ES10, ES15. This is also a way to keep prices high.
Just as a note, my statements only apply to PAL devices.
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  #15  
07-13-2021, 05:17 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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There's several NTSC recorders that also have passthrough, but it's weaker than the JVC S-VHS VCR line TBCs. And that's really a baseline minimum of acceptability. Where do those other PAL units fall? Most are surely as effective as the ES10/15 units.

The conversion about passthrough is not about price, but quality. The term "best bang for the buck" is what people say to make themselves feel better for buying inferior items. Sometimes quality costs more, sometimes less. Price isn't quality. Yes, quality items will get more costly on used/second-markets as supply runs low. But it's generally not outrageous, and often not even more than the MSRP.

I bought a DMR-ES10 when it was new, for about $250. Now the average price is exactly half of that, and doesn't even include inflation (2021 dollars vs. 2005 dollars). So the "it's expensive" doesn't really come into play here. Sure, I guess it's "expensive" when compared to other random DVD recorders. But my car is expensive compared to random used cars, or even used bicycles. It's not apples-to-apples comparisons, but seems to be a randomly argumentative pricing conversation.

Now if you have multiple samples (not same VCR, tape, source type), showing 1:1 performances to the ES10/15, then you're on to something. And I do believe you've done that, found some PAL-only units worth noting. Some are worse, some are similar, and that Sony may be better? (Not better anti-tear/line TBC, but no Panasonic artifacts. Jury is still out on that one.)

The bigger problem here, with your exact experience, is geography. Germany is probably one of the most xenophobic countries in the world, when it comes to shipping. Most Germans refuse to ship outside the German borders. So what happens is that pricing gets wonky. Some stuff is overpriced, some underpriced. For example, in past years, I'd seen amazingly cheap Smurfs collectibles that I'd loved to have, but the seller refused to ship. I'd have to get shipping proxies in Europe, to re-ship to me.

BTW, I was the person that made the discovery about anti-tearing, and the unique line TBC (then termed as TBC-like) passthrough of the ES10. I wasn't looking for it, but noticed it while doing a DVD recorder review, and threw some harsh tests at it to verify. I published my findings in a blog here (lost in the 2006 site crash), and referenced it heavily at VH and multiple other sites 15+ years ago. While somebody else may have eventually discovered this, I have doubts as to how quickly they would have noticed. Passthrough was unusual, not expected, and most people didn't have the library of ugly test tapes like I did (and still do have, plus more now). I'd wager that everybody that looked for passthrough ability only did so because of my original finding all those years ago. This is one of my "claims to fame", but has been forgotten over time. I'd go so far as to wager that Panasonic engineers never intended this to happen, but it was a happy accident. And an accident that was "fixed" (passthrough weakened, or removed) with later models. The ES15 was surely already in the pipeline when ES10 was released, hence closely matched ability.

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  #16  
07-13-2021, 06:35 AM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Certain power supply capacitors going bad is a common issue on the PAL models of panasonic DVRs including the ES10 (seems less common on NTSC ones), it can cause noise or failure to start at all, so that can be a risk when buying. Thankfully it's not too difficult to repair with just a simple soldering iron and some replacement caps if one wants, as they are quite accessible.

Another less common thing is the video switching chip going bad causing some inputs/outputs to not work. Ideally the seller would test multiple inputs but most probably don't. It's not easily fixable. (This was the case with the ES10 I have)

The DVD drives can go bad as well but that only matters if you actually want to record on it. I don't know if the HDD going bad will cause issues on the models that have hard drives.

The PAL ES10 NTSC support is only "true"/native NTSC 3.58 and not NTSC 4.43 or PAL60, so it will only work on VCRs outputting native NTSC, like a native NTSC VCR or a multi-system one, not NTSC on PAL TV stuff that many PAL VCRs did.

The NEC-based dvd-recorders (newer Sony, newer Pioneer, some Toshiba), also has jitter/anti-tearing stuff as noted, and not the artifacts or white blowout of the panasonics, though on the flip side the jitter correction can't deal with quite as wide errors, and they are a more prone to frame drop/inserts when there's problems at the top of the image, so it's a trade-off really. (Really need to make a comparison video at some point.) The PAL Sony/Pioneer ones also support NTSC 3.58, 4.43 and PAL60 which means they work NTSC playback on PAL decks.

As for other panasonics, I can only personally speak for the EH57, it's not 1:1 with the ES10, but I've only noticed a difference on some very extreme cases.

EDIT:
This video shows a comparison between a PAL ES10, ES15 and EX77 from a decent VCR (HS800 which is HS1000 without the TBC). The latter two do seem be maybe tad more wiggly, all are a massive improvement over the raw capture (hauppauge usb live2 according to comments.) I don''t know if NR is enabled or not on all of them, which could also mask small jitter a tad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbassiouny View Post
Hey LS, Thanks for your reply. I got it for 100ish shipped (with original remote).

That's another concern I had about getting the PAL unit, but I actually still have it since I am getting an NA device to use with JPN VCR. My black is 0 IRE but for the NA the Black Level is 7.5 so I am not sure how the ES10 will do in my case.

It will be great if you (or someone else who owns the PAL version) can test this
I'm not sure when it comes to IRE specifically, but in my experience the PAL models do have the problem of the agc setting the brightness too high and blowing out whites if there are very bright areas. That did happen in NTSC mode as well on my ES10 and EH57. It can be worked around to an extent by manually lowering the video input level (e.g using a passive volume control or a potentiometer or some resistance to ground), though balancing it just right is a bit fiddly.

Last edited by hodgey; 07-13-2021 at 06:49 AM.
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  #17  
07-13-2021, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
Certain power supply capacitors going bad is a common issue on the PAL models of panasonic DVRs including the ES10 (seems less common on NTSC ones), it can cause noise or failure to start at all,
It's somewhat common with all ES10.

Most NTSC models go into a "000000" error mode. Mine failed way back in 2007, didn't turn on at all, 4 bad caps (that I recall), and a coworker did the recap job for me (and I bought him lunch, or did him a favor, don't remember exactly).

You used to see 000000 "for parts" units on eBay all the time in the 2010s. Not so much anymore, so those were either trashed, or flipped by somebody skilled at soldering (though profit would be tiny, both then and now).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgey View Post
all are a massive improvement over the raw capture (hauppauge usb live2 according to comments.) I don''t know if NR is enabled or not on all of them, which could also mask small jitter a tad..
You have to be careful here. That card has known quality defects.

This is supposed to be science. That means to truly test line TBC, you need to run multiple tests. Different decks, different capture cards, different sources (and already knowing the defects present). A wonky card that overly chokes on a source can easily give a false impression of improvement where none actually exists.

For example, it's why Easycap is such as super-crappy card. It amplifies issues. Those issues are not actually present. So ES10/15 would probably make a stark improvement on that workflow as well. Of course, the net result still sucks, it's an Easycap after all. Something like Live2 isn't horrid, but it's not really regarded as quality, either. I'm currently neutral on it, not good/suggested, not bad/avoided.

Again, science. Never assume, or be quick to judge. It takes time, patience, and lots of repetition.

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  #18  
07-13-2021, 10:47 PM
cbehr91 cbehr91 is offline
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I've bought two ES10s on eBay and had to have them recapped, but other than that I don't see a problem buying one on eBay. Caps going bad/needing recapped aren't eBay's fault, or the seller's. Just go with your gut on how reputable the seller/listing is.
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