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DVD Recorders buying guide

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DVD Recorders Guide - An Introduction

DVD Recorders are machines which play, store, edit and record media such as films, TV shows, video, photos and music in a digital format. They replace the older Betamax, VHS and VCR machines and offer a much improved picture and sound quality. This guide will look at the best deals in town and review the most popular DVD Recorders.

The swift evolution of the Video Dvd Recorder now means there are models available at low prices which are capable of performing all the tasks you could wish for, such as recording and playing TV shows, movies, storing hours of entertainment on their hard disc drives, transferring photos and video from a camera or camcorder, burning video and music to DVD discs and also offer some nifty extra features such as splice and dice editing and noise reduction options which improve the quality of older video footage.

Keeping copies of all your favourite videos, TV shows and music with a modern Digital DVD Recorder means you have the capability to transfer media from many different forms of files such as, CDs, MP3s, MP4s and all kinds of memory cards which carry your favourite material. They can be safely backed up or burned and shared to new discs, for posterity.

The best kinds of DVD Recorders are those which play the widest variety of media types, such as DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW, +R, +R DL, and +RW discs, MP3, MP4 music files and JPG photo files.

A new Digital recorder can also store vast amounts of files on a hard drive the size of an average laptop computer. 160G of memory is not an unusual amount, which holds hundreds of movies. Varieties of the Dvd Recorder Player come in models with the codes DVD –RW, DVD-RWVR, DVD-R, DVD+R and DVD+RW. We recommend models with the DVD+RW code since it supports the largest number of formats and gives the widest options for playing files.

We understand all these abbreviations, codes and are terms are new to many customers, so our Jargon Buster section explains all you need to know to make an informed choice on that new Dvd Player Recorder.

 Types of DVD Recorders and Disks

A look at common types of DVD Recorders

  • A Dual Layer DVD recorder is one which is capable of storing more information on a single disc. Picture quality should be assessed when buying this type to ensure it is sufficient for your needs, since the more data you put on a disc, the lower the quality may become.
  • The Dvd Hard Drive Recorder will allow you record significantly larger amounts of files like movies, music and TV shows and store them in the same manner as a computer hard drive uses.
  • A Dvd Recorder Freeview has a built-in Freeview tuner, eliminating the need to buy a separate unit.
  • The Dvd Hdd Freeview recorder adds High definition quality to the built in Freeview tuner.
  •  If you choose a Dvd Hdd Recorder, the built-in hard drive allows you much more space for storage and usually supports multiple simultaneous functions, such as playing while also recording.
  •  A Dvd Vcr Combi recorder replaces two machines, allowing for archiving older VCR tapes to the DVD format for better long term storage options.

  • The Dvd Recorder with Usb connects up to any device that has memory, in the same way a computer USB port does, to transfer files. Examples are phones, cameras and music players.
  • Buying a Dvd Vhs Recorder Combi gives you the option of playing older VHS format media and the newer DVD format discs.

A Guide to Blank Discs for DVD Recorders

  • DVD-Ram is a reusable disc format.
  • DVD-RWVR are a reusable format.
  • DVD-R discs can be used only once.
  • DVD+R discs are reusable, and double layered, or DL. These are considered the best value for money discs currently available.
  • Double-layered (DL) discs use both sides without the need to turning them over when the first side is full.

A Guide to Playback of Pre-recorded Discs

DVD Recorders play back discs that are made to be used in their respective countries. This is due to copyright law and pricing issues. To determine which region your DVD can be plated in see the cover for an icon listing a code between 0 and 6.

  • Region 0: Disc plays in all DVD recorders manufactured anywhere in the world.
  •  Region 1: Disc plays in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Region 2: Disc plays in the UK.
  • Region 3: Disc plays in Asia, S.E and E areas.
  • Region 4: Disc plays in South and Central America Australia, Mexico and the Caribbean.
  •  Region 5: Disc Plays in Africa, North Korea, India and the former Soviet Union.
  • Region 6 China

Brands of DVD Recorders

Recommended Brands

The most reliable brands of DVD Recorders presently on the market are Toshiba, PhillipsSony SamsungPanasonic and JVC, all of which are featured in the top 10 consumer’s picks for home DVD Recorders.

Buying a brand made by a reputable electronics company means a warranty is more likely to cover repairs, should the DVD Recorder malfunction. A DVD Recorder made in Korea, China and such places may not offer the same level of support for their products, unless a well known brand name is involved. This will cost a little more at the time of purchase, but may well work out to be the most economical option over time.

The Future of Next Gen Recorders is still uncertain

While Blu-ray recorders are still in their early days, the technology is not expected to replace DVD recorders for many years to come. The problems they have with HD TVs with regard to which format is still dragging on with no end in sight. Those consumers without the latest HD TVs will find a good quality DVD Recorder serves them well for the next decade, while the new technology becomes more stable. Even after this dispute is resolved, the issue with high prices for Blu-ray discs, when compared to DVD discs, will mean the format is a long way from becoming universally adopted for recording and viewing media files.

Since in the DVD Recorder market, you tend to get what you pay for, the sound and picture quality of machines will be better on brand name recorders, and all the appliances you need to hook up will be more likely to fit without adaptors. This can be an issue with some less well known brands. Within this framework there are still some very good value deals around, the best of which we will review in the next section giving our top picks for value and versatility.

Best Buys in DVD Recorders

Our personal top pick is the Samsung DVDSH895 DVD Recorder HDD (250Gb) with Freeview, good value for money with a huge 250G hard drive which easily replaces all those disks, built in Freeview tuner, USB port, multiple supported file types and simultaneous play and record functions. These were the most popular features consumers looked for in a DVD Recorder, according to top 10 lists. Along with the security of buying a brand name that guarantees its products, Samsung offers nice extra features like upscaling, which will significantly improve the quality of pictures, without expensive HD TVs and appliances. The Samsung is a great do-it-all DVD Recorder option, more expensive than lesser machines, but well worth it.

For a nifty lightweight DVD Recorder with a built in TV tuner, the Panasonic DMREZ28 DVD Recorder with Freeview offers a very sharp and beautifully coloured picture due to its 1080p up-conversion and noise reduction features. It supports all varieties of media files, giving a wide choice of viewing options. The Freeview digital built-in tuner gives access to hundreds of hours of recordable programming, and is easily operated via a remote that was built with the simplest navigation system we have seen. If you already have enough storage space, then this is the best buy for DVD Recorders that do not have a hard drive.

The Toshiba RD99DT 250GB HDD DVD Freeview Recorder. Has much to recommend it, a large and very quiet and cool running hard drive, for storage of media files, great pictures with enhanced 1080P quality. It copies VHS tapes in a flash to keep your precious memories safe, then transfers them to DVD discs, a more durable format.

Our best pick for a budget DVD Recorder is the LG DRT389 DVD Recorder with Freeview, which offers some functions seen on DVD Recorders twice its price. These include USB ports to transfer music, photos and movies from phones, cameras, camcorders and PCs, multiple file support which lets you play all your re-recorded DVDs as well as home videos and an eight day programming guide.

Tips to consider before you buy a DVD Recorder

  • Downloading the manual from the manufacturer’s website, for any DVD Recorder you are considering buying gives a good idea of its functions.
  • A DVD Recorder capable of recording one program while another is viewed is a valuable option; for example, it allows parents to record their programs for later viewing while children watch their own.
  • Buying a DVD Recorder with a hard drive gives large amounts of space for storage of media, which can be later selectively transferred to discs.
  • A DVD Recorder with the most options for inputs and outputs, files supported and a hard drive suits customers who want to do it all on one machine.
  • A Multi-region DVD Recorder which plays discs from all regions of the world (See Jargon Buster for detailed Info)is the best choice for customers with large collections of DVDs from many sources, or who plan to take the player with them on travels or when relocating to another country.
  • The variety of machines is vast since the prices have fallen on DVD Recorders, but not all are created equal, so using our research will ensure all the features you need are present.
  • Ensure the DVD Recorder you choose fits safely in the space you will be using it in, with plenty of room for air circulation. Those with a built-in hard drives particularly need room to breathe and cool off.
  •  A DVD Recorder with a slot for plugging in multimedia cards from cameras, phones, PCs, and camcorders allows users to transfer files direct for viewing and editing.
  • It is important the DVD Recorder you choose will play the kinds of discs you want to use. For more information, see the section on, “Types of DVD Recorders and Discs.”
  • Hard Drives present on a Hard Drive Dvd Recorder will eliminate the issue of discs running out of space while recording media, a useful option.
  •  A Dvd Vcr Combination recorder, which plays VCR and DVD media can replace two machines, freeing up space in your entertainment system.

Jargon Explained

Definitions of common terms and abbreviations used when talking about DVD Recorders.

AV Connectors AV = Audio Video. It denotes the connection to a TV from a DVD Recorder. AV cables have three connectors that are typically red, yellow and white.
Discs Blank DVD discs for recording media.
DTT DTT stands for Digital Terrestrial Television. A DTT station is any digital TV station that can be received by an ordinary TV aerial. In the UK, a Digital Freeview recorder can use Freeview DTT services
DVRStands for Digital Video Recorder.
DVD-VRstands for Video Recording, the format for editing or recording video on DVD discs
Dvd Vcr Combination recorderA recorder which plays VCR and DVD media, ideal for transferring one to the other.
Dvd Hard Drive Recorder A DVD Recorder that stores media on a hard drive.
DivX DVD recorder:
Digital Freeview recorder Records from DTT Freeview stations
EPGStands for NetGem EPG Electronic Programme Guide. It is used to choose programs for recordings based on the next few days’ schedule.
Hd Dvd Recorder One which records high definition media, such as TV programs from a HD TV.
HDMI High Definition Media Interface. A connection between high definition appliances, such as HD TVs and DVD Recorders
HDTV A new type of TV with high quality pictures.
IDTVStands for a Integrated Digital TV, one which contains a built in digital TV receiver for stations such as Freeview.
Media All types of files such as photos JPG music MP3 and MP4 and various Video formats.
Format The kind of file which contains the data of music, films, video and pictures.
MP3A format for music files.
MP4 A format for music and video files
Noise Reductionthis is an option for editing video, offered by some DVD recorders, used mostly for home videos where the picture quality is less than wonderful, or where tapes have deteriorated over the years. It “cleans up” the fuzziness of a picture and can be a very useful addition to save older videos and burn them to discs.
Padding A practice of adding a few minutes to the start and finish of recording a TV program, just in case it does not start or finish on time.
PVR Personal Video Recorder.
DVR Digital Video Recorder, interchangeable with PVR.
Dual Receivers DVRs that let you record two shows at the same time.
Multi-region DVD Recorder Plays discs from all regions of the world.
SCART Stands for Syndicat Français des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radio et Télévision connector. It hooks up multiple media appliances such as DVD recorders, TVs and sound systems. The 21 pins in their cable sockets resemble those used on a computer and carry sound, pictures and commands between appliances.
EURO Connector Another name for the French invented SCART system.
PAL A format for video files
AVI A format for video files.
RW Discs with this designation are reusable rewritable in DVD Recorders
RW+ DiscsThese discs go a step further and can be automatically”Finalized,” to play in standard DVD recorders and players
Simultaneous Record and Play A DVD Recorder which performs both tasks at the same time.
VCR Stands for Video Cassette Recorder, or Vcr recorder, a media viewing device in the process of being replaced by DVD recorders. 

Buying Guide to DVD Recorders
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