Summary: I have a DVR-420H which is why I strongly advise against the DVR-533-S, which I also own. Especially if you are familiar with the 420 or 520. The 420 is easier to use and does so much more. Perhaps that is why it cost much more. I won't go into the details, but would gladly trade my 533 for a 420 or 520 - with a reasonable financial addition for the 420.
Summary: This is my 5th DVR (all Pioneer) and the first with TV Guide. I would NOT buy this unit again! ISSUES: 1. The automatic TV Guide feature causes my unit to be on about 18 hours a day. I can hear it thrashing the hard disk constantly. Why does it take so long to get programming??? 2. It is very difficult to find the manual timed programming mode, or to make changes to the TV Guide programming.
Summary: I got this for a gift at Christmas. It's a very good DVR, but I have never had one before, so I have nothing to compare it to. The menus are *fairly* easy to navigate, but can be confusing at times. The quality of recordings is very good, although the one time that I've pushed a HDD recording to a DVD-RW, the volume was very low; so low that you needed to almost max your speakers to hear what was playing. The remote control is very well laid out.
Summary: Clock constantly resets itself but does not seem to do so when a recording is programmed. I manually reset it through initial setup. Following a recommendation by another amazon reviewer, I entered a canadian zip code in the set up procedure to avoid all the downloading problems amply covered in other amazon customer reviews of this product. It works. Otherwise no problems. It has revolutionized the way I watch t.v.
Which is better? I own both the Panasonic DMR-EH50S and Pioneer DVR-533H-S
2 March 2006
Summary: Using to record TV shows - I have not recorded any shows. I don't know why anyone would want to use either of these to record TV shows, when Tivo and other DVRs have been around for the last few years. I have a Dish 942 high definition DVR now, but I have also owned Direct TV Tivo, and Comcast DVR for about 2 years. The Comcast DVR is the best DVR that I have used.
Five Star rating if the TV Guide function was reliable!
Eee Tee, Amazon
1 March 2006
Summary: First the good news: Recording, editing, copying is great. Sound and Vision mag gave the Pioneer DVR-633H (identical to the DVR-533H except 160GB drive) their nod for the best overall hard-drive DVR last year. They said Pioneer editing function is the best short of a computer. I agree, as I love the ease and accuracy of edits. Now the bad news: As others have pointed out, the TV Guide function is the real Achilles heel on this dvr.
Summary: Have had this for 2 months... The GOOD... Easy to navigate through recorded programs using the navigator Thumbnail of each recorded program Very easy to record, stop record, play, stop play, delete recordings etc. Makes a VCR seem like an antique. Commercial skip... 30 seconds 1, 2, or 5 minutes.. great for breezing through commercials Quick copy time from Hard Drive to DVD The BAD... No previous channel button Display is hard to read The UGLY... The TV Guide feature.
Summary: I have to agree about the TV guide. That's the weakest point of this machine. We bought ours last Saturday and it took until Wednesday to get the TV guide working properly. At first, it was finding 2 other guide services that weren't even related to our system. I did recognize the name on one which was actually from another cable system close by. After a complete reset and starting over and about 24 hours, it found ONLY the proper service.
Summary: Purchased this unit 3 months ago, almost immediately had trouble with the TV Guide, it worked fine for a week then came up with a message that said that I had changed some settings (which I had not!) and it had to update. Well the update never happened and my saga with Pioneer customer service started. During the past two months I have called, sent emails, even pictures of the problems with the TV Guide and reset my recorder many times.
Summary: I bought this machine even after reading negative review after negative review about the TV Guide On Screen or the endless chirping sound it makes. And I haven't had a single problem with it. The machine is connected to the TV in my bedroom and even though I'm a light sleeper, the "chirping" has never bothered me to the point of anger. It does sound like a computer's hard drive, but it's nothing horrendous. The TV Guide On Screen feature worked perfectly.