02.What to buy
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Type DVD recorder with hard drive
This is the best overall performer by a clear margin. It cannot play Blu-ray discs and scores poorly for DVD upscaling (see What is Upscaling?), but this won't be an issue if your TV or AV receiver upscales well. Being able to access internet sites such as YouTube, Picasa albums, Weather window and Bloomberg TV stocks will appeal to some, as will the ability to change the thumbnail for programs you've recorded (it can be quite off-putting to have an image from an ad as the thumbnail for a program). Its informative and easy-to-read front panel display makes navigation easier, but the lack of ability to limit channels to your “favourites" is an unfortunate omission.
The Panasonic DMR-XW380 ($699) has a smaller 250GB hard drive, but is otherwise technically the same.