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I need a DVD recorder suggestion please

So we finally upgraded our 10 year old kid hauler and thisone has DVD players in the head rests (Ford factory players). Each screen is its own separate player, youpush a button, screen flips up you insert DVD. So now I need some DVD’s. What I thinkwould be best is just to have one hooked up in the kids room where they canrecord the live tv shows that they watch. Like I used to do with a VCR 20 years ago. Can anyone make a suggestion of a model thatwill accomplish this?

I never got into digital media. I don’t want to have to use a computer to doany part of the burning of the DVD’s.
 

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Unless you want to mess with finalizing the discs I'd also suggest using +RW discs which can be used over and over(like VHS tapes) and don't require finalizing. Are you planning on recording from an antenna or cable? if cable you may need a cable box that has composite output. Note a DVDR with a digital tuner(required to record from an antenna) aren't really that cheap, probably >$200, a cheap "composite input only" DVDR may be had for a bit over $100. As Kelson said, any further DVDR talk should be in the DVDR forum he linked, the forum your in now is only for HD recorders.
You can request a moderator move this thread if you want, just click the triangle with a ! in the middle of it quite a bit under your name and request it to be moved.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. My cable service is through AT&T. Each TV has it's own box, with the main one having the DVR. The box i would set it up on has coaxial cable out to tv, s-video out and composite out (Yellow/red/white) and component out as well as HDMI. If these recorders are like VCR they have to tune all the channels. I wonder if they can tune in the "channel" for DVR play back for recorded shows?

I don't care if they are DVR-RW or not i don't guess. I don't really know what finalizing involves or the pitfals. I want the kids to use this to record what they want to be able to watch in the car for long trips etc. The can run the DVR, so they should be able to be taught this device.

I made the request to have this thread moved.
 

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What I think would be best is just to have one hooked up in the kids room where they can record the live tv shows that they watch. Like I used to do with a VCR 20 years ago. Can anyone make a suggestion of a model that will accomplish this? [...]I never got into digital media. I don’t want to have to use a computer to do any part of the burning of the DVD’s.
Unfortunately you have some factors against you:

1. You're WAY late to the "DVD Recorder Party"- in fact the party has been over for about four years: the janitor has just finished mopping the floor and is about to turn out the lights forever. So choice of new models, price points, and features is extremely limited (and actual price/availability of any given recorder changes on a near-daily basis).

2. Recordable DVD is an amazing versatile format if you have the patience to deal with the quirks and have needs it fulfills nicely, but honestly recorders totally failed as a mass market item because they're a complete PITA to use compared to a VCR (or subscription DVR like your AT&T). DVD recorders are not simple or intuitive to operate: in essence they work the same way as burning a DVD with your PC, the only difference being they're separate dedicated boxes.

Whatever device you use, DVD has an annoying array of klugy rules you have to follow, and there's no such thing as spontaneously hitting "record" like you do with VCR or AT&T. You always need to stop and think thru several steps first. If you aren't patient and have a short fuse with computer logic, you'll hate it. Which brings us to

3. DVD recorders are not kid-friendly. Kids have zero patience with frustration and impediments, and a DVD recorder is a box full of frustration and roadblocks. Your kids may have picked up how to operate the AT&T PVR, because the interface resembles other electronic toys they may enjoy (tablets, etc). But setting up the AT&T to record onto a DVD recorder is not a "point and click" affair: they will screw up, they will be unhappy. A teen or pre-teen MIGHT have the patience to deal with this because they want a DVD for the car badly enough, otherwise forget it (unless you're willing to do it every time yourself).

If you think the above caveats are acceptable, here are your current options in new DVD recorders (availability subject to disappear/reappear on a moment's notice):

Toshiba DVR-620 DVD/VHS combo unit. $219 at Best Buy, sometimes available from Amazon and other dealers. A popular unit, mostly because its been the only affordable model on the market since 2010 and people like the name Toshiba.

Funai ZV427FX4 DVD/VHS combo unit. This is exactly the same recorder as the Toshiba, but less expensive because its ugly and no one knows Funai is OEM mfr for Toshiba. Generally goes for $169 at Amazon, but currently on backorder. May be available from other dealers.

Magnavox MDR557H/F7 DVD/HDD unit, available at Wal*Mart for about $269. This model swaps the VHS for an HDD, much like your AT&T DVR. The HDD allows you to copy and store many hours from your AT&T DVR, then make them into DVDs at your leisure. Handy if you have a tendency to run out of room on the AT&T, also allows you to edit out commercials from shows/movies before burning to DVD. But these features add even more complexity to operation, and this model has proven somewhat troublesome in quality control.

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A few notes on recorder operation in general:

They don't load blank discs quickly, it takes a good minute for a blank to be recognized before you can hit Record.

-R and +R can only be recorded on once, they're permanent, so if you make a mistake you throw them away. Editing is almost impossible. These are used if you want to keep something forever, also they're most compatible with the widest range of players. You can partially record on these discs, and keep adding until they're full, but this poses risks and isn't recommended. -R/+R need to be finalized before they will play in your car: you dig thru the recorder menu for a "finalize" function which takes about two minutes (this closes the remaining empty space and makes the DVD compatible with all players).

-RW is like -R, except you can erase and reuse the disc a number of times. Needs to be finalized, as above. Editing is limited.

+RW is like +R, but can be erased and reused. Does NOT need to be finalized. Is slightly more versatile for editing.

None of the recordable DVD types is as easy as VHS: with DVD you cannot randomly start and stop, erase little bits here and there, or re-record over unwanted spots anywhere on the disc at whim. You need to plan ahead and know EXACTLY what you want to fit on the DVD. Standard recording speed is SP, approx 130 mins per disc. If you are quite sure you will only watch these discs on a small car screen, you can get away with the LP speed which fits about 4 hours and 20 mins per DVD. The video quality at LP will look fuzzier on large screens.

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On the whole, JDLIVE's suggestion to just buy your kids pre-recorded DVDs for the car may be a heck of a lot easier for a busy family. Or get them each a cheap tablet, and load it up with videos downloaded from web sources.
 

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@CitiBear
You didn't address the elephant in the room -- getting the source into the recorder in the first place. I'll bet he is thinking in terms of a VCR when they had functioning tuners that could tune in all the same channels as the TV and be used to schedule recordings.
 

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@CitiBear
You didn't address the elephant in the room -- getting the source into the recorder in the first place. I'll bet he is thinking in terms of a VCR when they had functioning tuners that could tune in all the same channels as the TV and be used to schedule recordings.
The OP, harleysilo, addressed this in their followup post to jjeff's reply, by clarifying their source is pre-existing recordings on an AT&T Uverse PVR (with composite and s-video output connections). OP seems fairly specific in wanting a DVD recorder strictly to make dumps of shows from their AT&T PVR onto DVDs for entertaining kids in minivan. No particular interest in recording to DVD in real time, from multiple channels, was expressed (AFAIK). Its possible I misunderstood, my lengthy reply was to the apparent AT&T PVR backup-to-dvds idea.

That elephant-in-the-room issue applies more to the typical question we get here, along the lines of "my VCR broke after 20 years, I'm completely tech-phobic, what dvd recorder should I buy that will record from my no-decoder-box cable service?" My answer to those people at this late date is "Forget it: dvd recorder won't help you- hold your nose, open your wallet, and pay the monthly fee for the cableco PVR."

@harleysilo: if Kelson is correct, and you were asking also if a dvd recorder could completely replace you AT&T Uverse PVR, that answer is "no-forget it." AT&T is a Frankenstein service: it has all the drawbacks of cable and satellite combined. The only way to enjoy day-to-day timer recording with AT&T (while keeping your sanity) is to pay for their PVR option. Some channels are sorta-kinda-maybe recordable with the Magnavox DVD/HDD unit I cited earlier, but compatibility is subject to change and operation is much less convenient. Cable, satellite and AT&T have conspired in the last few years to render DVD recorders all but useless: OK for backing up recordings you already made with their PVR, but worthless for anything like timer recording on different channels.

Note also, AT&T is polluted with recording lockout signals: you might additionally need a filter accessory like the $90 Grex in order to make DVD copies of your AT&T recordings.
 
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