Originally Posted by toddreg
Is the Magnavox the only current new DVR option out there? If not what else might I consider?
A DVD recorder with a hard drive? The Magnavox shares a niche market with the international model Panasonics. The Maggy has been updated several times with increasing hard drive sizes up to 1 terabyte, which is pretty darn astonishing considering how small the market is and that it only does standard definition. They're available through WalMart online and other places, and I've seen one in store at a Fry's electronic.
The international Pannys lag a little in hard drive size (I think they top out at 250GB, but that might be plenty for most people), but they make up for it in other features. The Maggy's video editing feature, while useful, is crude compared to the Panasonics. If you're more used to your Toshiba's high powered features, the Panasonic might be more your speed. Some Toshibas set a pretty high bar in that regard. You can find the international Pannys from B&H, World-Import, and maybe a couple other outlets.
But then again, you may find the Magnavox's simpler features more inviting.
Are these things really going away? Why?
Long story short, the cable DVR and TiVo gobbled up most of the mass market. They record in high def, they have an interface so simple grandmas and hillbillies could use it, and most people were content to record a show, watch it once, and delete it. The fact that cable DVRs are just $10 a month extra on a cable bill also was a factor in selling it.
Remember VCRs? Most of those played back rental tapes or used a couple of blanks for recording the latest episode of Dynasty, and then were taped over. When DVD came out, most people just waited for the show to be released on disc and bought it that way.
Those who record their own shows to DVD were a much smaller market. While VCRs always had a recording feature and archivists could buy the same machines the masses were buying, DVD recorders found themselves only catering to archivists, and that was like fighting with a foot in a bucket. The machines sold rather poorly for several years before Funai took over most of the market share (with Panasonic selling a few here and a few overseas.) There's enough people buying them to sustain a couple of models, but that's about it.
It has been encouraging that Funai (who makes the Magnavox) has not only kept the unit in production, but updated it.