Oh, OK. I think what he was saying was that when they designed the PHD-VRX, they gave it a bunch of inputs, but the only thing you can do with most of them is to send them to the outputs. So the PHD-VRX acts rather like a video switcher that just happens to have the capability to record one of the possible inputs; i.e., digital RF.
In other words, the PHD-VRX is basically an HDTV without the screen, except with DVR capability added almost as an afterthought. Bruce wishes the PHD-VRX had included an encoder, so it could record analog RF and the composite video inputs as well. It wasn't so much switcher vs. encoder as "switcher w/o encoder" vs. "switcher/recorder with encoder."
Now that I think about it, that actually explains some of the peculiarities of its design, such as why, unlike most DVRs, it has adjustments for brightness, contrast, etc. I bet they started with an HDTV main board design, added components to drive some outputs, and added firmware to record digital RF and play it back.