Originally Posted by jtbell 5. Why are there so few DVD recorders with hard disks (HDD) on sale now?
Older models with only NTSC tuners have mostly disappeared as pre March 1, 2007 stock sold out. As of April 2008, only four new models with ATSC/QAM tuners and HDD have appeared. Each of them has a discussion thread in this forum:
Philips DVDR3575H/37, which has a discussion thread
and a FAQ thread
Philips DVDR3576H/37, which is the successor to the preceding unit, and is apparently identical except for having a black finish instead of silver. Discussion and FAQs are therefore in the threads listed above.Polaroid DRA-01601AMagnavox H2080MW8
There have been reports that Panasonic, Toshiba, and Pioneer, at least, have no plans for such units.
Companies that have given reasons for this have indicated poor sales of the previous NTSC-only units. This is in line with the common availability in the USA of HDD DVRs leased by cable and satellite TV providers. These units have relatively low monthly fees in contrast to the high up-front cost of an HDD/DVD recorder, and can record encrypted channels that DVD recorders cannot (at least not directly). Most people apparently mainly want to be able to time-shift programs by recording them temporarily, and have limited interest in archiving programs on DVD.
This situation may change in the future as a result of the FCC mandate discussed in the next section.
Note that HDD/DVD recorders for digital TV are widely available outside the USA, e.g. in Europe, Japan and Australia, which do not have such a high penetration of proprietary leased cable and satellite equipment.
Some people have speculated that digital-rights management (DRM) issues are a cause of the lack of HDD/DVD recorders. That is, these units make it too easy to make high-quality recordings of copyrighted programs, so content providers have pressured consumer-electronics manufacturers to stop selling them in the USA.