DVD Recorder Comparison Chart

Summary: We wanted to understand which DVD recorder to buy for ourselves. After looking at many sites and spec sheets, we decided that DVD format was the important component. We eventually bought the Sony RDR-GX7 at Amazon. It supports writing DVD+RW, DVD-RW, and DVD-R. We have found the interface easy to use and it generally works nicely. We tried several formats and decided the DVD-R format disks were best because they play in our other DVD players. The only bad thing is that when we record concerts (even through a digial out) it switches the signal with a D/A chip and makes it surround sount. Many people found the manual and interface of this machine easy to use. This is the hands down favorite of the reviews we've read. This machine often costs about $750. Amazon's "used" sale area sometimes has it for around $650.

The machine we almost bought was the Philips DVDR75 Progressive Scan DVD Player/Recorder from Amazon. Both DVD+RW and DVD+ R are supported. It usually sells for about $400. The DVD+RW allows you to continue to use the same media and share it with other DVD players by not finalizing the disk. Many people found the documentation hard to follow.

One secondary concern was support for iLink. iLink support is helpful for recording from your video camera. If you take home movies, we would recommend this feature. Both the Sony and Philips support this, but it's not commonly supported.

There are many features that are important, but almost all recorders we considered have them. They are: Component out, progressive scan, and digital audio output for HD-TV type applications. Check which type of digital output your home theater system supports (if any). There is optical or coax digital out. Make sure the recorder you buy has that support. We didn't find any machine that writes 1080i images, they all seem to write 480i. With the progressive scan feature you can view commerical DVD's in 1080i, but if you record HDTV, it'll be the lower 480i resolution. Also, we'd also prefer to buy a machine that supports all the DVD formats, but those aren't available.

Many people are now buying dvd recorders with hard drives. This seems like a good idea going forward. It's nice to have, but consider that the read writable nature of some DVD media may make the hard drive redundant.

Prices are approximate. We chose the places where the prices are consistently the lowest, and delivery reliable. DVD recoders feature many bells and whistles. We highlight the keypoints of difference between each DVD recoder to make decisions easier. Always double check features before buying. Now the dvd recorder comparisons:
Exp. Cost Description/Where to Buy Key Features
$399.84 At Amazon

$459 at Tech Depot
Go to Tech Depot for the Philips DVDR75 icon . This is a good basic recorder at a low price. The big feature is that the DVD+RW can play in many home DVD players. That means you can re-use the media and share with friends and other DVD players. This works even if you don't finalize the DVD, which is the key to re-using the DVD media. Like all DVD recorders, you do have to check that its recordings play back in the DVD players you are interested in.

We like this DVD recorder the best because of the combination of the DVD+RW feature and good price. Many people find the manual poorly written and tech support poor. If this is a concern, many people found the Sony product fine in this regard.

  • Records DVD+R, DVD+RW
  • iLink Digital connection
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"Used" at Amazon
You can get the Sony RDR-GX7 at Amazon This recorder stands out from the others as it supports recording in 2 of the 3 major DVD recording formats. The benefit of this is therefore that you are less likely to be purchasing a recorder that will be obselete in the near future, as no one can be sure whether DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/+RW will be the winning format of the future

We really like the support for DVD audio, but we're not sure how many other people need that type of audiophile support.

We like the deals available in the Amazon "used" section for this product. Very good prices.

  • Records DVD-R, DVD-RW DVD+RW,
  • Plays DVD Audio
  • iLink
  • DVD/CD Text
$429 at Tech-Depot

$494 at Wal-Mart
Check out Tech-Depot for the DMR-E50S icon and all dvd recorders at Wal-Mart .

The widely available Panasonic DMR-E50 series comes in two colors. The DMR-E50K is the black version, the DMR-E50S is the sliver version. This unit is not suitable for backing up copy protected DVDs or VHS tapes. The Panasonic boxes have two key feaures:
  • DVD-RAM media supports about 100 re-recordings on the same disk.
  • Simultaneous recording and playback on DVD-RAM. (Like a TiVO).

  • DVD-R
$521.25 at Tech-Depot

Tech-Depot DMR-E80S icon Tech-Depot DMR-E80HS icon The Panasonic DMR-E80 series adds an 80 Gig hard drive for recording. This Panasonic boxes has three key feaures: Despite the high price many people are purchasing this recorder now.
  • 80 Gig hard drive
  • DVD-RAM media supports about 100 re-recordings on the same disk.
  • Simultaneous recording and playback on DVD-RAM. (Like a TiVO).

  • Records DVD-R, DVD+RAM
  • 80 Gig hard drive