DVD Recorder or DVD Player + VCR?



I was all set to buy a DVD player when suddenly my VCR stopped working. So I now need a new one of those too - or maybe the time is right to get a DVD recorder? I've read lots of threads here and elsewhere but still can't make up my mind, so was looking for some advice.
I'm not after anything highly specified, I just want to be able to record from the TV and also play back commercial DVDs (so want multi region). I have an NTL cable box for digi TV so need something which works well with that. I use my PC for all digital camera stuff so don't need any i-link or suchlike.

I could get a reasonable quality VCD and DVD player for say £80 each - or a DVD recorder for around £250-£300 (having read advice here I've been looking at the Philips DVDR70 or Panasonic E50).
So is the extra £100+ worth it? Is now the time to buy or should I wait a couple of years (?) until the position with the various competing formats becomes clearer? (I was once the proud owner of a Philips Video2000 machine :( )


or should I wait a couple of years (?) until the position with the various competing formats becomes clearer?
The position is unlikely to get clearer at all. All the current formats will still be here in five years simply as there is no need for convergence as happened in the VHS world (where the rental market really forced one format). So buy now and have no fear that the machine you buy you will still be able to get disks for years from now.

As to what DVD recorder you get - well that depends on numerous factors. If your just time-shifting for yourself then the Panasonic E50 is highly recommended. Take a look at the HCC review for example:
The only 'drawback' with the E50 is the compatibility of DVD-RAM -whilst this enables you to do lots of nice tricks normally only found on HDD units, i.e. pause live TV, watch the start of a programme whilst it is still recording etc - it does mean if you want to lend alot of recordings to your friends this isn't the best option. The E50 will, of course, record to write-once DVD-Rs which are the most compatible format.

The other 'budget' option is the Philips DVDR70. Priced slightly cheaper than the E50 it lacks the features of that machine but it's disks will play in many DVD players:

There are numerous other 'budget' models, e.g. Mico, Grundig. In reality these are all based upon the Philips design but with cutbacks (most notably for example the lack of RGB in). Best to go for a model that will last you slightly longer...

Another 'budget' option on the horizon is the new LG model. This records to DVD-RW and DVD-R but little is known about it at the moment. These disks will, like the Philips, be compatible with many DVD players. A review will be available in the next issue of WVWE.

IMHO between the Panasonic E50 and the Philips DVDR70 there really is no competition - the Panasonic E50 is the better machine. If you want compatibility over features I suggest investigating the LG model as that may (if it has the standard DVD-RW feature set) offer significantly more features than the DVDR70 whilst still offering (better) compatibility.
Thanks for that. The initial decision was whether to go for VHS/DVD Player or DVD recorder, and I think I'm now pretty much decided on the latter, since I can borrow a VCR from a friend to transfer my old videos.
And since I very rarely lend recordings top other people the compatibility thing isn't really an issue (I don't think), as I can always burn to DVD-R.
So an E50 it is then. Or is it? Is it worth waiting for the E55? Will I get any benefit from proscan if I don't have a new compatible TV?
Decisions decisions... ;-)
Is it worth waiting for the E55? Will I get any benefit from proscan if I don't have a new compatible TV?
You'd need a compatible TV to benefit from PS. If you think you may upgrade your TV during the 'lifespan' of the E50 then you may consider it worth waiting.

The thing I would suggest should determine the issue is price - demand for the E50 is outstripping supply at the moment hence prices of it have gone up (it was down to £225 before Christmas!). If a retailer suggests paying more than £250 then I would just wait for the new model.
I guess that decides that then, the cheapest I can find a multi region version for is £275 plus delivery :(
Any ideas when the E55 is going to appear? I've found websites saying anything between early March and late April.
Alternatively, if the person who said they've found an HS2 for £350 could email me their address... ;)
Any ideas when the E55 is going to appear?
Should be fairly soon - the next month or so and they should be readily available in the shops.
Thanks fremar. An extra £10 delivery charge though, I may wait for the E55 anyway.

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