I'm a novice but I have 2 Panasonic recorders, the E80 and E30. If this Pioneer mentioned does not have a hard drive for recording to, I wouldn't buy it for myself. The cost is almost $300 more than the Panasonic E80 which has an 80 gig hard drive (up to 104 hrs in the EP mode, 17 hrs in XP, 35 hrs in SP). It's easy to edit your video on the hard drive and then record that to your DVD-R. You can also archive tv shows on the hard drive like a Tivo for future dubbing to DVDRs or just watch the shows from the hard driver and delete them later. It's really a nice setup.
The Panasonics I have both record beautifully and I'm pretty picky. I'm able to dub pre-recorded DVDs to my Pannys ( I have a modified DVD player)and you can not tell the copy from the original in XP (1 hour) mode, and it's very,very close to DVD quality in SP mode (2 hour). Videotape usually improves in quality a little when dubbed to the Pannys. The E80 can be had for about $550 now at mailorder. I paid $575 a month ago.
The newest Panny, E100, adds a 120gig hard drive and inputs for digital video cams and it can be had for about the proice of this Pioneer, $900-$1000.
I've never seen the Pioneer in action, I'm sure it's as good as he says, but I have no regrets or disappointments with the Panny record quality, which is very good. Good luck.