Not to argue the point, but are you sure that you and Cruchfield are discussing the same issue? For example, if Crutchfield (and Sony) thought you were asking about HD signal passing through the AV output connectors (composite, S-video, or Component), then I would agree with them because no current DVD recorder does this. Plus in order to get a signal out of these connectors, the recorder must be on.
These AV outputs do not pass an HD signal because the recorder has to down convert the HD to SD in order to record on a DVD, and so the AV outputs see this down converted signal.
Perhaps this is what the Crutchfield and Sony reps are talking about. That would make sense.