BD Burner, Poor Vision, Ambient Light

Burning Desire
I have a pretty fancy home-theater system, and I use DirecTV as my broadcast source. I would love to be able to burn widescreen HDTV shows to a DVD. My first choice is to burn DVDs in widescreen high def. My second choice would be to burn DVDs in widescreen, even if not high def. At this time, is there a good high-def DVD burner I could buy? Price is not an issue.


Unfortunately, there are currently no standalone high-def disc (i.e., Blu-ray) recorders available in the US, though JVC just announced two models at the recent CEDIA Expo. However, they cannot record over-the-air, cable, or satellite content, nor can they be used to duplicate copyrighted material. Instead, they are intended to record camcorder footage on recordable Blu-ray media.

Blu-ray recorders are available in Japan, but I very much doubt they would work with DirecTV. You can get a Blu-ray burner for a computer, but I'm not sure how you would use that to record DirecTV programs, especially since DirecTV undoubtedly goes to great lengths to prevent just such activity. You might try connecting the S-video or composite out from the DirecTV DVR to the corresponding input on a DVD recorder, but the picture quality would be pretty poor.

Sight Unseen
I have an older 42-inch Sony 720p LCD TV, but with my poor vision, I need a much larger TV. I have an 8-foot-wide-by-2-foot-deep alcove in the front of my entertainment room, and I sit 10-15 feet back. I cannot afford a large LCD or plasma TV. Are there any current or future problems with DLP TV? I am considering the Mitsubishi WD-65737 65-inch DLP RPTV, which I can get for around $1500.

Neil Nicely

I think a DLP TV is an excellent choice for your situation. The main problems with DLP TVs are "hot-spotting" (the picture is brighter in one area of the screen compared with other areas), degrading picture quality as you move off axis, and having to replace the lamp every couple of years or so at a cost of several hundred dollars. Also, DLP TV is a dying breed, but it does offer the most bang for the buck in terms of picture size. And for people with impaired sight and a tight budget, I think it's a great idea.

Tom Norton just reviewed the WD-73837, one step up from the model you are considering, and he liked it quite a bit. We can't say anything for sure about the 737 based on this, but I would guess it's probably pretty good.

Big Screen, Lotsa Light
I have a 34x23 room in my basement that is soon to be a home theater/rec room with pool table, etc. It is laid out so that I can go with a 120-inch screen, which currently limits me to a projection system. However, if any of the manufacturers are building an affordable (under $10,000) LED or LCD around 100 inches, that would help me deal with the ambient light in the room when watching sports and playing pool. Is there such an animal out there, or do I concentrate on a projector?

Steve Vittum

I know of no flat panels that big for less than $10,000. Runco makes two rear-projection TVs that are built into a wall—the VideoWall VW-100HD (100 inches diagonal, 16:9, $40,000) and the CineWall CW-95DHD (95 inches diagonal, 2.35:1, $50,000), but these clearly cost more than you want to spend. Optoma used to make such a rear-pro as well, but it's been discontinued, and it was also well over $10,000.

If you want to watch a front projector with some ambient light, you need a bright one, which can get pretty expensive. Also, an ambient-light-rejecting screen, such as the Stewart FireHawk or SI Black Diamond, is helpful in this regard.

If you have a home-theater question, please send it to

Gregor Samsa's picture

Replacement bulbs for Mitsubishi DLPs are only $99.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Wow, that's a lot less expensive than they used to be. Thanks for the info!

Robert Lenzi's picture

You could use a Hauppauge 1212 Hd PVR to capture the output from your Directv box. It uses the component & optical outputs and sends up to 1080i video and DD audio via USB to your computer. There you can burn it to a standard DVD that is playable in a Blu-ray player. It's probably not the most convenient setup but from what I've read,you will end up with a disk that looks as good as the original source.

Harry Brener's picture

Unfortunately, regrdless of the source, DVD recoreing is limited in resolution. A Blu-ray recorder in in computer would, likely, give 1080i resolution, looking as good as a 1080i source. The DVD solution above would look good, but you know that old adage about a sow's ear...

dale reeser's picture

how do i post a new topic.thanks

Paul's picture

If you can capture 1080i to a PC via the PVR, then it shouldn't be too hard to get a BD burner and burn at 1080i. The LG BD burner is well under $200.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Dale, we don't have a forum on which you can post new topics. You can send me an e-mail at, and I might include it in this blog.

Robert Lenzi's picture

It's true that video formatted and stored as a DVD is limited in resolution but that's not what the Hauppauge 1212 HD PVR does. It contains a H.264 AVCHD encoder that allows you to burn a Blu-ray DVD at any resolution up to 1080i--whatever your set top box or camcorder puts out. The disc is playable only in Blu-ray players. What determines your ultimate resolution is how data is encoded and stored, not what it is stored on. Using the component outputs gets you through the analog copy protection loophole. It's not a perfect device but, at this point in time, there aren't too many options for capturing and storing high def to either a computer hard drive or a disc.

John Violette's picture

Well I tell you what, I figure your answers and questions are made up, because I've fucking emailed you 2 or 3 times and not had one response. And they were intelligent questions. Been a subscriber for over 11 years now. What does it take to get an answer from a loyal subscriber? Look me up on your subscriber list. John Violette 9800 Pagewood Ln. #3306 Houston, Tx. 77042 I don't care if it is emailed or in the magazine. I emailed a question to Scott Wilkinson 2 months ago. Hey, if real people cant get an answer to their question either in the magazine or online, don't bother us with the hope of actually getting an answer with your bullshit. Let me know if I'm wrong.

Gary B's picture

I read the review of the Mits WD-73837, with extreme interest. I fell in love with DLP years ago and purchased a 52" 1080i Mits almost 4 years ago. I'm on my 3rd bulb and will probably buy more until I can afford a new 1080p set. I've introduced a few friends to the sony 1080p XBR line and was surprised to see your review of the Mits in such good company as the XBR9. With the price and durablility of DLP technology on the positive side it makes me reconsider my next purchase. Still seems like a good bang for the buck for medium to light movie viewing and heavy on DirectTV content (which has a LONG way to go!). However, I cannot imagine Blu-Ray looking any(much) better that on a properly tuned XBR9.