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I have had this DVD player / recorder for a year mow and I love it. It makes it quick and easy to record programs off the tv. As I have freesat on my television it means I don't have to miss my programs when I am not there to watch them and I don't have to pay a monthly fee for a tv box like sky +.
The DVD player was easy to set up and although I wasn't sure how it all worked straight away I soon got the hang of it. At first I struggled to open the DVD draw but all I had to do was read the instructions as the first thing it said was that it would be locked. After this issue I learnt pretty quickly.
I can record up to 157gb and can set the DVD player to record on certain times and days each week, e.g. Mon-fri or every Mon. If you don't set up the recorder in advance you can start and stop recording quickly when pressing record button which is great if you want to record something you are watching. After recording a programme you will see it in the title list and can rename, erase, lock so it can't be erased and dub onto a DVD. The A-B erase is particularly helpful if you want to keep something as you can use it to delete any adverts.
It is quick and easy to switch between HDD and DVD modes. I couldn't live without this DVD player as it helps me to keep up to date with the tv I have missed.
I hate having lots of boxes connected to my TV, so anything that combines a DVD/CD recorder/player, Freeview tuner and HDD recorder is bound to grab my interest.
Unfortunately, this box feels far too glitchy and awkward to use - and that's coming from myself, a self-confessed gadget freak.
For example, press eject, and you'd reasonably expect the DVD to be released within 5 seconds, right? Not on this machine. Sometimes this is the case - but there appears to be no rhyme or reason to how or when it does this. Also, the remote control is cluttered and poorly thought out.
If you want to erase programmes from the Hard Drive, it takes forever, and sometimes, the box won't power up at all - requiring a mains reset.
The Freeview EPG works fine and is easy to use, but otherwise I'm afraid, I found this box so awkward and frustrating that I no longer use it other than as a DVD player (an unreliable one at that), and use the BBC iPlayer via Apple TV/iphone to watch things instead.
I purchased my first DVD recorder approximately seven years ago and whilst it was manufactured by one of the leaders of electronics, namely Philips, it packed in within just one day of purchase. Consequently, it was returned to our local Argos store for a replacement only for the same thing to happen again within a matter of days. The third exchange lasted a little longer than its' predecessors, but during its' lifetime it gave us nothing but a headache, as it persistently failed. My parents had purchased the identical model following my recommendation (something which I now totally regret) and they too experienced similar problems whereby the machine would regularly stop recording for no apparent reason. Their recorder packed in approximately thirteen months after purchase and ours followed suit by deciding to cease working within just one day of the expiry of the guarantee! Consequently, hubby and I carried out extensive research for a replacement model, as we were determined that a further £400 wasn't going to subsequently end up down the drain and we eventually decided on one manufactured by Sony, Model Number RDR-DC100, particularly as it had been highly recommended to us by my father. He had purchased this model three weeks' prior and couldn't fault it, particularly after the disastrous Philips machine!
Our reasons for purchasing the DVD recorder is that although we subscribe to Sky+, we are continually finding we do not have the time to watch many of the programmes. Consequently, we transfer those that we wish to keep onto the DVD hard drive and subsequently onto disc to watch again in the future. Unfortunately, I have no technical experience whatsoever and I initially thought the recorder would be beyond my limited expertise. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I am capable of operating it myself due to the easy to use instruction booklet that accompanied the product. Normally, the operation of any electrical equipment, other than the kettle, toaster and TV is left to hubby and that includes the iron, as I haven't picked up an iron in 20+ years, particularly as I hate the task and hubby loves it! What more could I ask for? Unfortunately, as this is such a complicated piece of equipment and provides a huge variety of features, the instruction booklet is rather lengthy with its' 119 pages! Whilst I have not read its' entire contents and have absolutely no intention of doing so, particularly as I will not be making use of all of its' features, I am able to carry out simple day-to-day tasks.
In my opinion, the Region 2 recorder is somewhat cumbersome as it measures 24 cm in depth, 53 cm in width and 6 cm in height and is manufactured from a sturdy black plastic. It seems that all DVD recorders are of similar size as were video and DVD players when they were first introduced. I strongly suspect that over the next couple of years, the manufacturers will have developed more sophisticated technology and subsequently, reduce their size. Whilst the recorder is somewhat bulky, it is extremely appealing to the eye as the vast amount of buttons and jacks have been carefully concealed under a sturdy hinged flap, which runs along the entire length of the recorder. In this area, you are provided with two Scart inputs, one HDMI port and one USB port. On the left hand side of the front of the product we see seven small images, which inform us of the machine's extensive capability. There are three small signs on the right hand side of the recorder, to indicate the functions of the sleek chrome buttons located above them, namely eject, play and stop. Whilst this is only a small bonus, I particularly favour the fact that this model has a small digital clock; something which was missing from our previous player.
Connecting the recorder
The recorder is easy to connect by following the instructions contained within the booklet, where you are required to fit the aerial, Scart and HDMI cables. For those of you who are technically minded, there are numerous other jacks for you to connect further cables, such as video and audio, but unfortunately, this is beyond my expertise, so I am not even going to attempt to explain any further features! Hubby said he would explain them to me for the purpose of this review, but as he is a little long-winded I informed him that I wished to review this model before it becomes obsolete! Sorry hubby!
What can I do with the recorder?
This 160Gb hard disc drive recorder is quite a sophisticated piece of equipment as it will enable you to record up to 56 hours of programmes, which includes Freeview+. It has an array of useful features, such as an analogue and digital tuner and an eight-day electronic programme guide and will allow you to pause live TV as you would with Sky+. It has vast playback compatibility, where you can use DVD, DVD-R, DVD+R/RW, DivX and JPEG and will enable you to record using both DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW formats. You can also connect your video player to this machine, which is something we intend doing over the forthcoming months as we have dozens of personal family videos, which we wish to transfer to DVD. We have considerably used this recorder over the four months and it offers a superb sound quality with its' NICAM sound system. As I do not think it's appropriate to be copying long lists of specifications from the user guide, I can advise that there is an array of additional features. You are provided with an easy to use remote control, which operates from two x AA batteries and fortunately, Sony provides these for us. Whilst it is not something my hubby and I have carried out, particularly as we tend to use our Sky+ remote, you can adjust the remote's signal to also operate your television.
As this review is to discuss the DVD recorder itself as opposed to how it operates, I can advise that we have never experienced any problems in using it and have always found that every programme records extremely easily with no associated problems. As we subscribe to Sky+, there are many of the features on this recorder that would be of no use to us, but would be extremely handy for non-Sky+ subscribers. There is a very useful option to be able to record programmes within the next eight days using one simple button. You are also provided with a series link button, where you will have the assurance that your recorder will automatically record each episode of your favourite programme. Each time you operate one of the features on your remote control, you will see an easy to follow menu on your television, where you will be provided with a step-by- step guide on how to proceed with your request. On this screen you can check or cancel any scheduled programmes simply by pressing a few buttons on your remote.
Sony have really thought of everything as for those families with young and curious little ones, you can lock the disc tray to prevent it from being opened; a very useful feature for those whose children enjoy pushing objects or their fingers in DVD players! Perhaps I ought to use this feature with hubby, as he has an awful habit of looking at "those channels" when I'm out of the room! Whilst this is a feature we probably will not use as we tend to use our computer, the player will allow you to copy music and photo files to its' hard disk.
In my opinion, this is a superb high quality DVD recorder and most certainly gets a high recommendation from me, particularly as it is so easy to use for the non-technical minded, such as myself. Whilst it's a little bulky I do not feel it fair to deduct stars, so it receives 5 from me.
Price and Availability
We purchased our Sony DVD Recorder RDR-DC100 in Argos in June where it had been reduced to £169.99. However, it seems that they no longer sell this model and the only Sony recorder in their catalogue costs £399. Consequently, I've checked online and at the time of writing (11 November 2010) can confirm that Amazon sell this product brand new for £199.99 including P+P.
I hope you found my review useful and would thank you for reading.
This review also appears on Ciao under the same user name.