I'm not pleased with SONY recently. I bought an RDR-VXD655 DVD recorder/VCR combo and it was DEFECTIVE right out of the box (not open box or refurb). ANY DVD, whether burned by me or a purchased movie, showed "digital artifacts" in the picture--black dots, yellow or green pixel-looking marks. When viewing an all-black screen on a DVD, it was like watching the opening of The Matrix with all the green pixels all over the screen. Seems like Sonys are now "Made in China" (were previously made in Japan or Malasia) and along with cutting costs on production, they're now using substandard electronic components in their products. BOO to Sony! You lost my "brand loyalty"!!
Other than my dud unit, I liked the features and the VHS portion of the unit worked wonderfully, and the digital tuner pulled in stations without a problem (even though it takes 20 minutes to scan through them on setup). The upconversion of the images wasn't bad. My only other gripe is that Sony does not use DVD-RAMs as RECORDABLE media. If you want to erase/rewrite, you're stuck with CD /-RWs, which are NOT as flexible for recording/erasing as DVD-RAMS. I'm buying a Panasonic DMR-EZ47K for a friend, and may just keep it. Panasonic DOES allow DVD-RAM recording, and I've always been pleased with my old Panasonic DVD/HDD recorder. My old Panasonic (DMR-E85H) has been a champ for three years, even though others with this model have had some problems (see afterdawn.com forums), never right out of the box!! I guess nothing is perfect, but I expected more from Sony.