DVD (“Digital Versatile Disk”) players and recorders have all but replaced the VCR (“Video Cassette Recorder”) and its associated analogue technology, at the heart of home entertainment systems. A DVD recorder, for example, allows you to record from standard definition, analogue television, as well as digital cable, satellite and “Freeview”, and you can, of course, also copy – copy protection allowing – existing DVD and VHS tape content. Recordable DVD media offers high quality pictures, and sound, time after time, with no deterioration. Content can be accessed via a system of on-screen menus, rather than by the constant winding to and fro often associated with video tape.
Recordable DVD Formats
Aside from Blu Ray and DVD-RAM, the common standard DVD formats that you are likely to encounter are DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW and DVD-RW. Disks designated DVD+R, or DVD-R can only be written once, and may therefore provide an inexpensive method of preserving treasured recordings, or your favourite films of all time. DVD+RW, or DVD-RW, formats, on the other hand, can be written, and rewritten, many hundreds – potentially thousands – of times. They are slightly more expensive than DVD+R, or DVD-R, but obviously more suitable for everyday recording. The important thing to remember is that you cannot use DVD+R, or DVD+RW disks with a –R DVD recorder, and vice versa; DVD recorders that can record to +R/RW and –R/RW disks are, however, becoming increasing available.
Remember also, that in the same way as so-called “Macrovision” copy protection prevents you from copying commercial VHS content from tape to tape, so it prevents you from copying from tape to DVD. Similar copy protection applies to DVD films, and other content, available commercially. You can, of course, copy any material that is not copy protected – including camcorder footage, and tapes or DVDs created from television broadcasting – and record television programming directly to DVD, via the integral tuner on your DVD recorder.
Is a DVD Recorder Really Worth It?
The decision to purchase a DVD recorder, or not, obviously depends on your recording needs. If you are looking for pictures, and sound, of the highest quality, recorded onto a medium that is compact, and durable, then perhaps a DVD recorder is something that you should consider. VHS video tape footage of important family events, for example, can also be transferred to DVD, and kept for posterity. Most DVD recorders are supplied with a full, 12-month warranty, so if anything does go wrong, you will be offered a repair, replacement or refund, depending on the nature of the fault. Some faults are obviously more serious than others – a loose, or damaged, cable, or incorrect configuration settings, for example, can cause DVD players & DVD recorders to behave erratically – so many retailers, and manufacturers have a team of skilled, trained technicians who can talk you through any problem, to a satisfactory conclusion.