OK, Thanks for all responses to my thread. I have been in further commumication with the seller and have been told this unit was used mostly as a ota tuner for an older analog tv and recordings were seldom made. Considering this info I have decided to keep this unit. The DVD drive has only RD 69 hours which is very low and consistent with the story, but the HDD has 5700 hours, which is 7x365x2. Seller was not aware that unit 'autorecorded' when viewing tv with tuner and didn't know the hours use were being tallied by firmware when just watching tv(likely story). So, the HDD has a lot of hours!!! I have an extra 500GB Seagate with low hours that I'm thinking of adding if I have problems with this one. Thing is, the machine works perfectly so far and I've been using it for two weeks. I've recorded 18 or so movies from cable tv and edited the commercials(my favorite feature of this unit), dubbed to dvd's, etc. and it seems to work fine. There are no suspicious noises or such happening so all is good.
I have had a problem with freezing on one occasion when I scanned the channels to see if Comcast cable in my area was useable by this unit's tuner. I found that the scan only picked a few channels but all that you'd see as they passed by in scan was a 'color chart' for testing or calibration. So I parked the channel on 3 to run my stb feed into the unit and shortly after the "FREEZE" occurred. Had to unplug the unit and reboot(no remote or front panel response) and then just went with L1 input from cable box with rca cables. That is my best feed for this unit. It limits your time shifting capability but that's all that seems to work. The high def signal is dummed down by this unit but the quality is still good. Comcast cable went digital in my area two years ago and distributed the new digital adapters and said you needed them to use their service. I got a new Panasonic plasma but never bothered to scan the cable channels with it because the tech guy for comcast said it wouldn't work without the DA and tv to channel 3.
I still have questions that come to mind about these machines even though I have gleaned a great deal of info from what is posted on this forum. Unfortunately, some things you search for yeild few results. Like HDD longevity in a DVR. I'm sure that some people never turn this machine off and it doesn't seem to have an auto off feature, so it's possibe to run that many hours on one of these in less than a year running it 24/7. I never turn my cable DA off, in fact that is not an option with the remote. You could unplug it, if desired. Which brings to mind my next question: how reliable is the tuner and other electronic components in the magnavox dvr's? Well anyway, it's good to know that Wallyworld is dropping the prices instead of raising them. I just saw where another MDR513 went for over $200 on ebay a few minutes ago.