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DVD Recorders - Top Picks

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DVD recorders are an alternative to the VCR. With affordable prices, DVD Recorders are within reach of most pocketbooks. Check out some current suggestions DVD recorders and DVD Recorder/Hard Drive combo units. If you are looking for a DVD Recorder that also includes a VCR, check out my list of suggested DVD Recorder/VCR Combinations.

NOTE: Many manufacturers are no longer making new DVD recorders for the U.S. market. Some that still do are selling the same models that they introduced two, or more, years ago. Also, some of the following units listed may be officially discontinued, but may still be available at local retailers, or from third party sources, such as eBay. For further details, refer to my article: Why DVD Recorders Are Getting Harder To Find.

1. Toshiba DR430 DVD Recorder with HDMI Output

Here is a budget-priced DVD recorder with very practical features. For less than $120, the Toshiba DR430 offers DVD-R/-RW and +R/+RW format recording with Auto Finalization, a front panel DV-input for connecting digital camcorders, and an HDMI output with 1080p upscaling. In addition, the DR430 can also play back MP3-CDs, as well as standard audio CDs. However, the DR-430 does not have a built-in tuner, so it is necessary to use an external cable or satellite box to record television programs. If you subscribe to cable or satellite and use a box, and have an HDTV to access the 430's 1080p upscaling video output capability, then this DVD recorder might be a good match for your entertainment setup.
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2. Magnavox MDR-537H DVD Hard Drive Combination Recorder

DVD Recorder/Hard Drive combos are now an endangered species in the U.S., so if you are looking for one, the Magnavox MDR-537H is one of only few choices left. This unit has a built-in ATSC/QAM tuner for reception of digital over-the-air broadcast TV signals and select unscrambled cable signals. The MDR537H also features a huge 1TB hard drive for temporary video storage, DVD+R/+RW/-R/-RW format recording, DVD/Hard Drive cross dubbing, iLink (DV) input for copying video from compatible digital camcorders, and video upscaling to 1080p on playback via HDMI output. If you are looking DVD recorder/Hard Drive combination, definitely check out the Magnavox MDR-537H.
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Also available from Magnavox/Funai:
MDR-535H - features a 500GB Hard Drive - Manufacturer's Site
MDR-533H - features a 320GB Hard Drive - Compare Prices

3. Sony DVDirect VRD-MC6 Hybrid DVD Recorder

If you want the the abilities of a PC-DVD drive, without the hassle of the PC, then consider the Sony VRD-MC6. This device is a complete standalone DVD recorder that accepts video directly from Camcorders, VCRs, and still photos from digital camera memory cards. The VRD-MC6 records in a variety of formats, including AVCHD. AVCHD alllows high definition video recording on a standard DVD (Note: AVCHD recordings can only be played in a Blu-ray Disc player). Its built-in 2.7-inch LCD screen allows you to monitor your recording. One drawback: this unit does not have its own built-in tuner for recording TV programs, however, using its AV inputs, you can connect a cable or satellite box that has either RCA or S-Video outputs to perform this task.
Official Product Page

4. Panasonic DMR-EZ28K DVD Recorder With ATSC Tuner

The Panasonic DMR-EZ28K is a great entry-level new generation DVD recorder that includes an ATSC Tuner. This allows the reception and recording of over-the-air digital TV signals, which replaced analog signals, effective June 12, 2009. In addition to an ATSC tuner, the DMR-EZ28K also includes other great features, such as compatibility with most DVD recording formats, a DV input for recording from digital camcorders, and 1080p upscaling via HDMI output. Another bonus, is Panasonic's enhanced playback quality on discs recorded using the four hour LP mode. When comparing the LP mode playback on Panasonic DVD recorders and most other brands, you can tell the difference. For more details, check out the DMR-EZ28K User Manual.
Official Product Page

NOTE: This DVD recorder has been officially discontinued but may still be available via clearance outlets or third parties.

5. Panasonic DMR-EA18K DVD Recorder

The Panasonic DMR-EA18K is one of a growing number of entry-level DVD recorders that require an external tuner, such as a cable box, satellite box, or DTV converter box, to receive and record television programming. However, the DMR-EA18K does include compatibility with most DVD recording formats, a DV input for recording from digital camcorders, USB and SD card slot for digital still image playback, both progressive scan component video outputs, and 1080p upscaling via its HDMI output. Another bonus is Panasonic's enhanced playback quality on discs recorded using the four hour LP mode. The EA18K can also play Divx files. When comparing the LP mode playback on Panasonic DVD recorders and most other brands, you can tell the difference.
Official Product Page

NOTE: This DVD recorder has been officially discontinued but may still be available via clearance outlets or third parties.

6. Magnavox ZC320MW8B

The Magnavox ZC320MW8B is a basic DVD recorder from Magnavox that may right for your needs. Some of its features include, DVD-R/-RW and +R/+RW disc format compatibility, both front and rear mounted AV inputs for connecting camcorders or VCR (non-copy-protected videos only), and Composite, S-Video, and Component video outputs. Also MP3-CDs, as well as standard audio CDs can be played, in addition to DVDs. However, it is important to note that the ZC320MW8B does not have a built-in tuner. To record TV programs you need to connect external cable or satellite box to the ZC320MW8B its provided AV inputs. Another thing to point out is that for DVD playback, this unit does not provide video upscaling and does not have an HDMI output.
Official Product Page
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