Originally Posted by Cyclone82
I thought it would be nice to own a HDD less DVDR to perhaps avoid some problems. One less thing to go wrong. It seems many people come on here with HDD problems, always asking 'can i fit a PC HDD' etc etc, so they obviously fail over time. Just to have HDD less one could be handy
You misconstrue the motivations behind the endless endless threads about "fitting a recorder hard drive to a PC." Very very few of the people on these threads has suffered a corrupted or damaged recorder HDD that they need to salvage: such a catastrophe is relatively rare with recent (post-2006) models from Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony, and Magnavox.
What drives the incessant discussions about "transplanting" recorder HDDs into a PC is the bizarre resistance some people have to using an entirely-PC-based recording system. They don't like the idea of tying up their PC for DVR tasks, yet perversely desire to transfer their recordings to generic PC files that can then be accessed freely from a media server (or they want to do what gives Hollywood nightmares: upload videos to websites). Why the hell anyone would want to go to the trouble of tearing their recorder apart every few weeks to shove its HDD into a PC, then go to the time and effort of parsing the MPEGs and converting them to another format, when it is much MUCH easier to just record on the PC in AVI or MP4 in the first place: thats a question with few rational answers. The fact that DVD/HDD recorders were not designed to facilitate such an oddball workflow keeps these people awake at night, gnashing their teeth in frustration. Since they can't get what they want off the shelf, they keep harping about it in threads and writing up "How To" posts involving hex editors, conversion tools, video editors, and (probably) divorce court.
None of that has any bearing on the overall reliability of DVD recorders with HDD: the reported experience with 99% of these units is the DVD burner will fail LONG before the HDD. Of course, this depends to large degree on proper use of the recorder: the ever-growing HDD capacity in newer models, like the demented terabyte capacity in the current Magnavox MDR537, encourages owners to use them like media servers, leaving months or years worth of video sitting on the HDD. While the HDD is unlikely to completely fail, bad sectors can develop over time resulting in inability to copy the files to a DVD. Or, the DVD burner itself may fail, or perhaps the recorder power supply section, leaving the videos stranded on the HDD. These are all logical reasons for then wanting to salvage the HDD by connecting it to a PC, but since that process is so inconvenient it is better to develop recording habits more in tune with the design goal of these recorders. The HDD is meant for temporary storage of non-critical videos for watch-then-erase viewing, and as a scratch space to edit videos in preparation for DVD dubbing.
If you don't treat a DVD/HDD like a media server, it won't disappoint you with HDD failure. If you don't desire DVDs as the end result of recording, preferring AVI, MP4, or H264 instead, a DVD/HDD recorder will be frustrating and pointless to use: since you're going to end up manipulating the files on your PC anyway, may as well record them directly to the PC with a DVR add-on accessory. It really is much easier that way, and you gain the option to record HD material in true HD.Edited by CitiBear - 12/13/12 at 9:29am