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DVD Recorder Shopping Guide

Back in the day, VHS was the epitome of technological advancement. You could watch your favorite Blockbuster movies or recorded events like weddings, birthday parties or your children's soccer game, whenever you wanted.

But alas, the golden age of VHS is now a distant memory.

In today's day and age, we have traded in clunky VCRs and tapes for DVDs, Blu-Ray discs and Internet TV. If you're in the market to finally trade in that old JVS of yours, Dealio is here to help you compare the features and prices of DVD recorders on the market. From Sony and Panasonic to Samsung and LG, browse our easy step-by-step guide to ensure that get the best deal on a DVD recorder for your home.

DVD Recorder Features

The first step is to understand the array of different feature options that are available, which will make shopping for the best DVD recorder much easier.

(1) Recordable formats

DVD recorders can record to different types of formats, including DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM. If you plan to record DVDs and play them back on the same machine, this feature has little importance. However, if you plan to record DVDs and use them on other DVD players, then this feature is extremely important. This is because DVD players have limitations in the types of formats they accept. Make sure that your DVD recorder records a compatible format with the other DVD players you plan to play them on.

DVD-R: You can record to it once. This format is compatible with all current DVD players.

DVD-RW: You can record to it multiple times. This format is compatible with most current DVD players.

DVD+R: You can record to it once. This format is compatible with almost all current DVD players.

DVD+RW: You can record to it multiple times. This format is compatible with most current DVD players.

DVD-RAM: You can record to it multiple times. This format is not compatible with most current DVD players, but will work with the players designed to support it.

(2) Hard drive

Some of the best DVD recorders include a hard drive, which dramatically enhances your editing capability by making it easier to delete scenes, commercials, or pieces of home video. Make sure your DVD recorder has a hard drive if you plan to transfer home video to DVD, or you want to store specific programs on your recorder before transferring them to DVD.

(3) VHS recording capability

The best DVD recorders also include the ability to transfer VHS videos to DVD, and visa versa. Think of this type of recorder as an all in one DVD, VHS, player AND recorder. This type of DVD recorder, combined with a hard drive, will include everything you need to watch, store, and record just about anything onto either DVD or VHS.

(4) Price

A straight DVD player without a hard drive or VHS recording capability is in the $400 to $500 range, while other DVD recorders in this category can be as expensive as $800. Models with hard drives are in the $800 to $1,500 range, while the lowest price DVD recorder players in this category can be as expensive as $2,000. Models with VHS recording capability are in the $400 to $600 range. If you add the hard drive component, they can increase in price up to $800, while the lowest price DVD recorders in this category can cost an average of $3,000.

DVD Player Features

Since all DVD recorders also play DVDs, we will focus this section on the important features pertaining to just to the DVD recorder component.

(1) Scan type

The scan type is an extremely important consideration because it determines how the picture is generated onto your TV. There are two types of scan types you should be aware of. Interlaced scan generates a picture onto your TV by making two separate passes, while Progressive scan draws a picture in one single pass. Without being technical, Progressive scan produces the better picture.

(2) Video outputs

DVD players can come in Composite, S-Video, and Component outputs. While most DVD players include Composite output, S-Video provides a higher resolution picture. The best DVD home player systems include Component output, which can deliver HFTV resolution and the best possible color reproduction possible.

(3) Supported formats

DVD players can play more than just DVDs. If you are interested in playing music too, most DVD players support CD, and CD-R formats. As you move up the ladder, some DVD players support MP3-encoded music on CD-R disks. The best DVD players are capable of playing back any of the following audio and video format discs, including CD-RW, CD, DVD+RW, DVD+R, VCD, SVCD, Picture CD, and DVD Video.

(4) Remote control

The remote control is the most important connection between you and your DVD player. Especially since you will be operating the remote in dark conditions, you may want to opt for a remote that includes a backlight. There are three types of available remotes that are offered with DVD recorders.

Basic
Basic remotes perform simple functions, such as power on/off, channel navigation, and volume control. Expect a basic remote to control only the elements of a DVD player that you can set up.

Advanced
Advanced remotes perform the same functions as a basic remote, but they also include the ability to control many devices of the same brand. For example, if you own a JVC DVD player, your remote control will also be able to control your JVC TV.

Universal
Some of the best DVD players come with a universal remote, which can perform the same functions as an advanced remote, but also include the ability to control devices of different brands through a "learning capability".

(5) Audio DAC

Audio DAC is the rate that your DVD player converts digital audio into analog signals. The higher the Audio DAC number, the better the sound quality will be. Any DVD player with a 24-bit rate will provide excellent sounding audio.

(6) Video DAC

Video DAC is the rate that your DVD player converts digital video into analog signals. The higher the Audio DAC number, the better the sound quality will be. Any DVD player with a 10-bit rate will provide an excellent picture.

(7) Parental control

Most DVD players have parental controls, which allow you to set a password to restrict access to certain types of programming. If this is an important consideration, make sure your DVD player has this feature.