I have found that JVC, Sony, Pioneer and Panasonic seem to get mentioned as producing good quality picture. Some sources indicate that JVC has a superior noise reduction because of the LSI chipset used. I used to think Panasonic made good players, but there seem to be pixelation issues with their recorders, especially at lower speeds. I know it is difficult for any one person to have first hand experience with all these different brand names but perhaps people with more experience on this forum can summarize their thoughts, so I can try focussing on a few brands. I certainly don't intend to spend more than about $Can 6-700 for the unit and am hoping I can find something in the $Can 500 (I assume I can control the price by selecting a smaller hard drive). Thanks in advance for any help offerred to get me pointed in the right direction. P.S. Do any recorders offer HDMI output yet or is this just available on digital TV's and high-end audio/video receivers?