on October 8, 2011
When I bought this, I wanted something which would basically replace my old, dead VCR, but do it all with DVD media, not outdated VHS tapes, and that meant a DVD recorder. After doing my research and noting that this item seemed to fit my needs and wants, and while I can surely say that I had some early connection problems, after a short time of owning and using this, it is basically just about (but not completely) everything I wanted out of an old VCR replacement, but utilizing DVD discs, not VHS tape tech.
And that is a good thing, since of course, magnetic tapes deteriorate much faster than DVD discs ever will. As for "time-shifting" various programs for later viewing, this is even easier to program than my old VHS recorder. In other words, using a DVD-RW or DVD+RW disc, I can record a lot of stuff for later (at my convenience) viewing. And using DVDRW discs, erasing and recording over temporary stuff dozens of times seems easy, depending on the brand of RW media used. Most brand RW DVD disks will work, but some may not at all or quirky, so I'd recommend sticking to Memorex and Maxell DVD RW media. With other brands, and incompatible DVD - WRITE speed discs, problems can occur, so my advice is to stick to the two mentions. Sony and some other brands of DVDRW disks might have problems. Recommended brand RW disks are mentioned in the manual however, and are your best bet.
Aside from some early connection difficulties, and a few minor, easily solved problems here and there, this seems to do exactly what I wanted it to do, and does so on DVD discs. Programming this unit is easy, and with DVD's not VHS, there is no more need for searching via fast forward or reverse for what you recorded or want to play, just go to the DVD menu, find what you want, in chapters (10 min. long and other preset time periods), hit enter, and you're there, and then fast forward or backwards to get precisely where you want to. Various settings are endless. And this has so many, including zoom, frame by frame advance, various slow and fast motion speeds, and so many more.
This product records and mostly plays DVD's (DVD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD+R), and plays CD's (normal audio ones, and/or ones full of burned audio MP3's and/or JPEG picture files), but is also an "upconverting" player (up to 1080p Hi-Def). Which means this will make most modern, purchased non-HD DVD's look close to Blu-Ray upon playback. Assuming one has an HD TV and can play back HD. This is NOT a blu-ray recorder, and can only record standard resolution, but the upconverting feature looks great for most commercial disks. IMHO, most of your purchased DVD's will look great on this (and with an HDTV of course), so no need to scrap your standard DVD collection for now.
This has no tuner. Therefore, be aware you will NEED a cable and/or satellite service with multiple channels available, to use this fully, but if you're near a big city, and can pick up a lot of over-air stations with a simple antenna, that'll work. Hooking this up to cable (including on-demand) or satellite renders and engenders best and more numerous results however.
Do not place this on top of your TV and/or cable/dish box, as overheating of the unit can result in poor results and endless error messages. This needs space to breathe, so when setting it up, have this unit well-ventilated and away from the rest of your equipment.
The digital sound here is excellent, as is the quality of recorded media, even on an EP setting (where you can get 6 hours of stuff on one disc). There is also a front panel connection which you can use for gaming systems and/or digital cameras and videocameras (and even an old VCR if you have a working one and want to transfer VHS to DVD format). Overall, while I stumbled a bit along the way in setting all of this up to do what I wanted it to do, the simple fact is that this really is, as others have said, pretty much a perfect replacement for an old, outdated VHS recorder. It works much better with one-time use one time recordable DVD media than it does with RW disks, but the price of the former is so cheap these days, that shouldn't be a main concern.
I had some initial connection and overheating problems (simply solved by moving this away from nearness to a TV, cable/satellite box, game system, and/or other heat source), but since then, this has all worked really well. Old DVD's you might own (or had recorded on VHS/old TV's and/or had old VHS/DVD's transferred to DVD), might not playback in upconverted DVD but this is a bargain for now for what it does, and until actual blu-ray recorders become widely available and a lot cheaper, this is a very good buy. Comes with many available audio'visual inputs/outputs, in various formats. I'd suggest one have an HDMI cable for best connection to a HD display, but red, white, yellow connections are possible as well as RGB and "optical audio," so no matter what set up you might have/need, this will do the trick. Again, this does not create HD/Blu-Ray discs, but with upconversion, if you're trying to play in near HD most recently released standard definition DVD's, this works great. Actually, this unit does so many things and has so many great features, and settings, it would be near impossible to address them all here. Playing audio CD's and burned JPEG picture CD's are icing on the cake. Overall, this product offers much more than worth its price.
Finally, the manual included is very detailed and at over 100 pages, very complete AND easy to understand. Whatever your set up, I can't see anyone having any major problems with getting this to perform nicely. Plain one-time recording DVD's work best with this, re-recordable ones less so, but I have no major complaints. Why pay for nonthly DVR service on cable or satellite fees however, and not be able to save such to permanent or temporary hard DVD discs, when this will do the trick quite nicely?