How to buy a DVD recorder
A DVD recorder buying guide
While many people are well served by DVD players, DVD recorders open up a whole new world of entertainment possibilities for you and your family. DVD recorders allow you to record and save movies, edit out commercials from your favorite TV shows, record TV to a DVD and even convert VHS to DVD. It is important to know how to buy a DVD recorder that is right for you.
>> How will you use the DVD recorder?
When choosing the best DVD recorder to buy, the key consideration is how you will use it and what you want to get out of it. Powerful DVD recorders can do everything from act as a digital video recorder (DVR) to simply record and burn DVDs. If you are interested in a unit that functions like a DVR, VCR and media player, look at advanced models that include hard drives. If you are interested in making copies of movies and TV shows, a simple model will get the job done.
Some people want to choose a DVD recorder with features such as conversion of VHS tapes to DVD. These units act as a VCR and DVD recorder combo, playing both types of media to your television as well as recording the VHS to DVD. DVD and VHS combo players are perfect for you if your intention is to convert your video library.
A DVD recorder can also function as your hub for home audio and theater, replacing receivers, CD players and other media. If you envision your DVD recorder doing this, shop for advanced models.
>> Do you want you it all?
Some models have it all. You can play and record DVDs, enjoy the convenience of a DVR and watch broadcast HD TV with a built-in digital tuner. Units with a hard drive offer you flexibility to watch, save and record programs as you wish. These models tend to be top-rated DVD recorders and are some of the best in DVD recorders to buy in terms of value.
>> Do you want to re-use discs?
DVDs come in many formats. Part of learning how to buy a DVD recorder is understanding the various DVD formats. If you want to reuse discs, then you need your recorder to be able to handle DVD-RW, DVD+RW or DVD-RAM discs.
Like the older VHS tape technology, DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs have a finite lifespan, so keep in mind that you will occasionally have to restock your supply of discs.
>> What other types of formats will you use?
When you're deciding on the best DVD recorder to buy, you'll notice that any unit's documentation lists compatible DVD and other media formats. The most common formats are DVD-R, DVD + R, DVD- RAM and DVD-DL. If you see "RW," then the model is compatible with rewritable discs.
DVD-DL indicates that high-capacity discs, which can contain up to twice the amount of data as a regular DVD, are compatible. You'll be able to record twice as many programs as a regular DVD or make a recording at twice the quality
DVD-R is the format of choice for commercial DVDs, but there is little difference between DVD+R and DVD-R formats. Both DVD recorder formats store the same amount of data and playback quality is similar. All DVD recorders should play DVD-R.
>> Discs and formats: DVD recorder comparison
All of these formats matter, but they sound remarkably similar. The DVD recorder comparison chart below focuses on the different formats and key features of each. Formats are a critical consideration when learning how to buy a DVD recorder.
DVD recorders are a powerful piece of home video technology that can let you record your favorite shows and family videos for posterity. These devices' capabilities range from simple copying to transferring VHS recordings to a longer-lasting digital format. Advanced units with hard drives expand the capabilities of DVD recorders further. With this DVD recorder buying guide, you'll be on your way to finding the perfect model for you.