Since recordable HD DVDs are not yet commercially available, I am afraid the only way to store your HD videos is to keep them on your tape, move them onto your PC hard-drive, an use an external hard-drive. hopefully there will soon be online video storage services that support the HDV standard.
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You've got a Dish Network's HD DVR and a Toshiba 720P HDTV - so this part of the mix will maintain the HD pictures and high quality digital audio that you're used to seeing.
The trouble begins when you introduced the Magnavox VCR / DVD device. The highest quality video content that this device can record is the 480 type, regardless of the input or source quality - which in your case would be 720P via HDMI cables. 480 is considered "SD" or "standard definition". This is the weakest link in your setup and is responsible for your unsatisfactory results.
The Magnavox will "upconvert" to 1080 lines of resolution. The key here is the term "upconvert" True HD recordings are taken of a scene and capturing either 720 or 1080 lines of resolution in the image or video (such as a camera taking a photo or video); or recording the playback of a previously recorded 720 or 1080 lines of resolution source. Recording a 480 lines of resolution source with a an 720 or 1080 lines of resolution device will not make the image HD. The recording can not possibly be better than the original. In fact, due to losses, each generation of copy becomes worse and worse. Upconverting simply "fills in" the missing parts between the 480 source and 720 or 1080 output with what it "thinks" is missing data. The results are what you see on the screen. The original capture did not save more info that 480 lines of resolution so it is really impossible to improve it.
The recording can not ever exceed the quality of the original (the Dish Network DVR at 720 or more) and will only be as good as the weakest link (the Magnavox DVD / VCR at 480). Additionally, the moment you change from digital to analog, you lose quality instantly. Digital signals - both video and audio will always be faithfully reproduced do to error correcting technology, etc. that simply isn't available in the analog world.
You need to use a digital recorder capable of capturing and playing back of 720 or 1080 lines of resolution video and AC3 audio for optimum video and audio on a Blu Ray recorder or other device with hard drives or memory such as MP3 recorder. Otherwise you'll have to accept reduced quality of standard L & R analog audio and 480 lines of resolution of SD video. You can not expect HD audio and video if you try to save to equipment designed for SD / analog.
Hey! In your case, you need to convert your videos into DVDs so you can play it on you DVD player. Thus you need a DVD Converter tool to help you. I'd like to share you such a DVD Converter tool which can burn videos to DVDs for playback on DVD players. I think you can give it a shot.
Hope that helps.
I have to agree with XELIAM regarding finishing the disk, under the DVD "FUNCTIONS" selection from the remote. I also use the SLYSOFT products to transfer my videos to what ever other mode of video I wish to have, whether iPOD (MP4), or DIVX (AVI) or loads of other options. Slysoft makes a GREAT product
At this point, unless you have a blu-ray or HD-DVD burner in your computer (and equivalent player), then you can't save HD to a DVD and have it play back in a regular DVD player. You should be able to transfer the HD video through firewire to the computer, but you might have to wait for a while until you can burn them to HD compatible DVDs.
The only other option that I know of is to encode the HD video using a DivX codec (http://www.divx.com/) and just burn the file itself to the DVD, then if your DVD player can play DivX files, then you should be able to play it back on that.