DVD/HDD recorders review

A DVD recorder with a 160GB hard drive gives you hundreds of hours of recording capacity.
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Please note: this information was current as of November 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.

Chris Ruggles sheds some light on the benefits of DVRs, the
digital take on the old VHS recorder.

Test results for four DVD/hard disc recorders, 160GB capacity, priced from $440 to $659

You can record TV programs onto the hard disc, and copy the ones you want to keep onto DVD.  Or you could flop onto the sofa and enjoy a cornucopia of pre-recorded HDD entertainment at the touch (or two) of a button – no need to fiddle around with DVDs.

These models have an analogue tuner only, if you want to enjoy digital TV you will need to purchase a separate High Defiinition HD set-top box or Standard Definition SD set top box.

We tested them for:

  • Picture quality
  • Ease of setup and use
  • Faulty disk handling
  • Standby energy use


  • The 160GB hard drives of the four models we tested give you a maximum recording time of up to 477 hours (varying according to the model).
  • Playback quality of each would be improved with an HDMI (around $60) or component ($30) cable.
  • Only one model could handle a damaged disc well.

Models tested

  • LG RH277H
  • Panasonic DMR-EH57-K
  • Pioneer DVR-550H-S
  • Samsung DVD-HR753

Prices and availability checked April 2008.



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