If you don’t fancy recording your video to DVD via a PC-based DVD burner,  set-top DVD recorders would be the way to go.

DVD recorders work very much like a VCR (Video Cassette Recorder).  VCR s could record TV shows,  copy  VHS tape from another VCR and so on.

DVD recorders do the same thing but only difference is they do it on a recordable DVD disc either  DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/RW.

Before moving on to explore the different types of DVD recorders,m let’s examine some differences between the VCR and DVD recorders.

A VHS  tape could be recorded over, erasing the existing video content in it. A recorded DVD however can’t enjoy the same facility.  Once video is recorded on a  DVD-R or DVD+R, it can’t be erased. Video stored in a DVD-RW or DVD+RW could be erased and written over though.

Before the DVD recorders became popular and affordable, the only way to record video to a DVD was through a computer and device. 

It was a complicated process for non-techies and time consuming and with a steep learning curve.

DVD recorders simplified the process.

The most important function of a is to record television shows to DVD, but they also have another function – to record .

It’s for the second function that DVD recorders are sought after these days.

Recording Media

Into a VCR you could pop in any VHS tape, no matter what brand.  With a DVD recorder you can’t just insert any blank DVD.  You have to choose. There are basically two common types of recordable DVDs – DVD-R and DVD+R.

Also a recorded VHS on a VCR can play in almost any VCR around the world provided it supports the TV standard PAL or NTSC.

A recorded DVD, however,  can only be played in a DVD player that supports the disc format it’s recorded in.

If you’re looking to  to record VHS or any analog tape to  DVD, here are the different types of DVD recorders you could consider.

The Standalone DVD Recorder

This DVD recorder  works very much like a DVD player. There are input AV ports to receive video and audio signals. Common AV inputs include RCA or composite inputs or S-Video. Some models have component video inputs.

Component inputs aren’t of  much use if you’re converting . There are no component video outputs in an device or equipment

However, component video will be useful if you want to make a copy of a DVD. You’ll connect the component out cables of the DVD player to the component  in of the DVD recorder..

VHS -DVD Recorder Combo

Choose this type of DVD recorder if you have a stack of VHS tapes that you need to quickly convert to DVD.

The advantage of using this DVD recorder is you don’t have to have a separate VCR unit. You pop your VHS tape in the DVD recorder, insert a blank disc and can start recording.

Read more on VCR DVD Recorder combo DVD conversion.

Hard Disk DVD Recorder

Hard disk DVD recorders first appeared in 2003 and were pricey.

These days you could land a unit for USD300+.  Most entry level hard disk DVD recorders come with a storage space of about 500GB, which would allow you a recording time of  up to 500 hours.

If you run out of space, you could connect an external an hard disk through the USB port.

Some units come with wireless LAN that allows you to stream video to your wireless devices.

Also look out for the HDMI 1080P up conversion feature.  This this actually an HDMI out port which converts video stored in the hard disk  to HD quality to be played back on your HDTV.

Which DVD Recorder  to Choose?

DVD-R/RW recorders are compatible with most DVD players if you’ll be using the recorded discs away from home.

DVD+RW discs are compatible with certain DVD players, but a latest version of a DVD player should be able to play this format.

DVD-RAM – only specific DVD players can play these discs.

So, if you plan to share your discs with others, opt for the DVD-R/RW option


DVD recorders are helpful in making quick back up of your videos.  Although recording to DVD via DVD recorders doesn’t offer much flexibility in terms of editing or menu creation, all is not lost.

If you have a computer with a DVD drive, you could rip the recorded  DVD and extract the video file and use it for editing, after which you could customize the DVD before burning it.