Bill : I bought an E55 last February. I love this machine. I record programs from Comcast Digital Cable. The HBO channels seem to have better picture quality, than the regular cable channels ( no commercials either )., so I usually stick to recording movies from HBO. <p>The PQ on two hour SP when played back on a Sony NS725p is much better than I expected. I did record two movies, that I also own in commercial dvd. The PQ is close enough to commercial dvds, that I have to A-B the commercial dvd and the recorded dvd, before I say"yep, you can see a difference between the two." Although, PQ is good enough, that I would be happy to watch the SP recorded movies, and never buy the commerical version. and "yep, the Sony is a better player than the E55, but not by so much I wouldn't want to use the E55 as a player."<p>PQ recorded on SP on regular Cable Channels is as good as the source material. <br>LP on reg. cable is Ok, LP on HBO cable is good. <br>I only use EP on the History Channel stuff. The original material wasn't all that sharp to begin with... and I guess I don't expect miracles. EP is watchable, but not for programs you wish to archive.<p>Wonder of Wonders, the E55 has copied 4 out 5 commercial VHS tapes. Only the 1 so far, has refused to submit to the indignity of being copied.<p>Home movies, in Beta and VHS format have been recorded onto Ram Discs, and then taken to the PC for authoring (titles and menus and editing ) using TMPGenc Author 1.5. You can recrod the Home Movies directly to DVD-R also<br>The DVDs of the home movies look Better than the original.<p>The E55 has a Commercial Skip feature, but it only goes some 50 some seconds forward or backward. It does take some labor to advance or reverse to the next part of the regular program....but I don't really mind.<p>The Ram Discs are great if you want to use the <i>Time Slip</i> feature, where you can start a program at 9:00 pm, come home at 9:30 pm and watch the program from the start while the E55 keeps recording. Ram is good for editing on the E55 or a PC. Don't worry about Cartridge Ram, the E55 uses the less expensive non-cartridge discs without problems. The "Cartridge" is a protective case for the disc, I do not think most newer PC DVd burners or readers use cartridige ram anyway.<p>The DVD-R discs the E55 uses, have played back on a Sony DVD player, Samsung DVD player, Xbox, and my PC NEC 2500a DVD Burner and Samsung DVd-Rom<p>I love the E55 so much, I bought a 2nd one<br>Before buying the 2nd E55, I thought about buying a DVDR with a hard drive .After A LOT of reading of this forum, I decided not to spend $500.00 + on technology that I do not think is yet, all that reliable.<p>Skip the cheap recorders. You get what you paid for applies. A bit more money will get you a better guarantee of relaibility and quality. Long Term ? Who knows, but I'd rather put my hard earned dough on a NAME BRAND, rather than ilo, govideo, brokethebank, cybersomebodyorother, or ma and pa kettle DVDRs.