Philips' previous DVD/Hard Disk recorder, the DVDR560H, was our all time favourite in this category. So we were eager to see what Philips had done with the updated model, the 3360H. While the DVDR3360H is still just as good as its predecessor, the rest of the industry has now caught up and we can't really justify giving it five out of five. Having said that, for a first time buyer the DVDR3360H makes an excellent purchase and gets a four out of five rating.
- Easy to use, sleek
- Slightly cumbersome when copying to DVD, limited connectivity
A basic HDD/DVD recorder that will appeal to those seeking a simplistic system
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
With similar styling to previous Philips models, the 3360H is a very sleek offering. Attractive curves combined with plenty of reflective surfaces mean the player can be shown off without cause for concern. The 3360H is incredibly easy to use with a simple remote control and large glowing dials to indicate whenever the unit is recording. As with all HDD recorders, the integration of a DVD player and digital set top box means you can also clear away several old boxes from under your television. Setting up the 3360H is as simple as can be; simply plug the aerial into the back and let the player tune in the TV stations. As a set top box it provides all the basic functionality we would expect, though admittedly not much else.
One of our few complaints with the old 560H was that the recording buffer had to be initiated manually. Not so with the 3360H. From the second the player is switched on the 3360H starts recording, meaning that everything for the last three hours is stored in a time buffer. This is reset when the channel is changed, but it's a great feature nonetheless. As with all similar products this means that live television can be paused and rewound to your heart's content. Especially useful should you need to answer the doorbell or with disputes during the football. The 3360H also supports G-code, making recording future programs especially easy.
With a 160GB hard disk the 3360H can record up to 34 hours of video in high quality. Six levels of picture quality are provided and these offer up to 204 hours of recording. We'd recommend sticking with the highest quality as distortion and pixilation is evident on the default settings. Even at the higher settings a few minor image degradations creep in and this is the unfortunate side effect of video compression; though it isn't so noticeable as to be a problem.
Copying to DVD
While 160GB sounds like it's a lot to play with, this will all get eaten up in no time so the next step is to make use of the DVD recording capabilities. Both of the primary DVD formats are supported (DVD+R/DVD-R) so there should be no issues with compatibility. One minor complaint is that dual layered discs aren't supported, so there's a maximum of 4.7GB per DVD, giving about an hour of recording time. Philips has implemented a thoroughly straight forward interface, so copying data over is no problem. While the player is copying data over the 3360H reverts to TV mode, so there's no need to sit there watching a blank screen while waiting. Frustratingly the 3360H doesn't give any indication of how much longer it will take to finish, nor does it provide an option to finalise the disk at the same time as copying. This means that before finalising the disc it can only be played on the 3360H itself. Finalising is a separate process that takes a few minutes and is accessed through the on-screen menu.
When the disc is played back on a regular DVD player each of the separate recordings can be browsed through an on-screen track selection. Unfortunately, there's no way of providing chapter selection within these individual recordings as would be seen on a regular DVD, unless you make the effort to manually split up the videos before copying. This is a time consuming task.
In addition to these standard features the 3360H also offers the ability to record from DV cameras or a VCR. Most of the usual connectivity options are provided, including Component and Coaxial. Optical digital and HDMI are notable exclusions, though these are available on the 3360H's big brother, the DVDR7300H. Basic editing is also offered, allowing videos to be split, hidden or renamed.
While the 3360H may not stand out from the crowd in the same way the 560H used to, it's nonetheless a very decent machine. With a relatively small amount of disk space and the lack of digital connections, advanced users will want to look elsewhere but for those who are new to the HDD recording scene the 3360H makes an ideal first step.
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