- Good at making DVD-videos, good remote, timeshifting
- No DVD+R support, analog tuner
It's a little raw in places, but the JVC hard disk DVD player covers all the bases.
Price$ 1,299.00 (AUD)
Although it could still use a little spit and polish, JVC's 160GB DR-MH30S is a fun PVR and DVD recorder. It sometimes took a little longer than it should have to perform some tasks, but it can do quite a lot, and it includes some very nice touches, including a live help system accessible at the touch of a button on the remote.
You, can, in fact, do a lot of things at the touch of a button on the remote. It's well designed and comfortable, providing quick access to most of the functions you'll want to access on a day-to-day basis.
Using the settings menu, you can turn timeshifting on, and specify the buffer duration (up to 3 hours). Timeshifting allows you to pause and rewind live TV. It's extremely smooth on the JVC, with nary a glitch or stutter in sight, but it has one flaw--having timeshifting switched on makes changing channels very slow. We're talking four or five seconds slow, which is way too much for compulsive channel surfers.
If you're recording a show live to the hard disk, you can also go back and watch it from any point earlier. Recording bit-rates can be set as low as 1.6Mbps (EP mode) and as high as 10Mbps (XP) mode. The JVC has a high-quality encoder. SP mode--5Mbps--is the one that you'll likely be using most often, and in our testing free-to-air TV recorded at SP produced video of high enough quality to be indistinguishable from the original, even for fast motion sequences. We also tested EP mode, which produced recordings at roughly VHS quality.
At SP mode, the 160GB hard disk can store roughly 68 hours; a DVD can hold about two hours. The recorder also boasts a Free Rate mode, which automatically adjusts the bit-rate of a scheduled program to fit in the amount of space left on the recorded media. Theoretically you can get up to 272 hours on the hard disk at the lowest Free Rate mode, although we wouldn't recommend it.
The management interface for the stored video was quite good, although it was a little slow to respond at times. It allows you to manage your recordings--giving them names, performing simple edits and splits, setting up playlists and categories. Here you can also dub recorded shows from the HD to the DVD, or vice versa, and the JVC includes a high-speed dubbing option (that is, it will copy the show as fast as possible, rather than doing it live). The dubbing interface is pretty good, allowing you to batch dubs very quickly, but you can't watch TV while it's doing a high-speed dub. You also can't dub commercial DVDs to the hard disk, although you can dub clips from DVDs you've finalised in the JVC.
Finalising DVD-R and DVD -RW discs (the JVC does not support +R/RW)--an option buried deep in the setup menu-- turns them into DVD video discs that are playable on regular DVD players. The JVC has some pretty cool options for this, even giving you a choice of pre-set DVD menu visuals. It generates thumbnails for the videos and creates decent-looking menus from them.
The JVC has a decent array of inputs and outputs. Two SCART ports on the back (one for output, one for in) give you a lot of options, including S-Video and progressive scan component output. There's also an RF loop-through, digital audio out, and S-Video and RCA input ports on the front.
During our tests, we found it was a decent DVD player with good picture quality, but it did have an annoying practice of not allowing us to skip--or even press stop--when the preliminary menu videos and copyright notices are being forced upon us in commercial DVDs. Its handling of JPG and MP3 discs was unimpressive but serviceable. As with most products in this category, the handling of such discs feels like a tacked-on feature.
Join the newsletter!
Ballistix Sport AT
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Apple iMac Pro
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Toys for Boys
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Tivoli PAL BT
ESET Internet Security
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
ESET Smart Security Premium
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Moto G6 review: A solid mid-tier effort with few compromises
- 5 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
Latest News Articles
- Telstra customers can now add the Kayo app to their account
- Streaming service delivers over 50 sports live and on demand for Aussie fans
- JBL introduces JRPOP Ultra Portable Speaker
- Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro 2 + SuperAmp is now available
- Hisense's first OLED TV finally gets Australian pricing and availability
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies