DVD recorders with DVR review

At last, the replacement for the venerable VCR has finally gone HD.
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Please note: this information was current as of October 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.

Test results for four DVD recorders with DVR, priced from $599 to $1979

CHOICE looked at the latest selection of digital solutions that not only record TV programs to an internal hard drive, but also play DVDs and record to a DVD. Unlike a standard digital video recorder (DVR), where programs are recorded onto an internal hard drive, watched and then erased, the DVD digital video recorder (DVD-DVR) allows you to move a program off the hard drive and onto a recordable DVD. This disc can be played on most standard DVD players.

Until recently these DVD-DVRs were not available with an HD tuner, and even now Panasonic is the only company producing them for the Australian market. In fact, Panasonic is the only company to produce a hard-drive recorder that’s able to record to either DVD or Blu-ray discs, as well as play DVD and Blu-ray movie discs.

Even though it seems inevitable that Blu-ray will replace DVD as the standard optical disc for watching movies at home, as it provides much higher resolution and storage capacity, for now DVD remains the most popular option.

Models tested

  • Panasonic DMR-BW850
  • Panasonic DMR-EX79
  • Panasonic DMR-XW450
  • LG RH399D

TV with built-in DVR

  • LG Time Machine 50PS80ED


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