DVD Stand-alone Recorders


You've heard of them, but probably don't know anyone who owns one.  The better ones, such as Tivo, can record directly to DVD's or to an internal hard drive to store video as you watch TV.  The hard drive allows instant playback.  You know the ad - it says that you can instantly rewind and watch something you missed while getting a snack.

The DVD recorder is a standalone unit that resembles and functions very much like a VCR. All DVD recorders can record from any analog video source (some can also record from Digital camcorders via firewire). Like a VCR, DVD recorders all have AV inputs as well as onboard TV tuner for recording TV shows.

A DVD burner refers to a unit that is either an external add-on or internal DVD drive (like a CDR/RW drive) that can record video, but can also read and write computer data and store it on a blank DVD disc. On the other hand, standalone DVD recorders have no ability to read or write computer data.

They do have an advantage over PC DVD recorders.  In order to record video and audio onto a PC-DVD burner the user must input the video to the computer's hard drive using Firewire, USB, or S-Video through a video card and then copy the resultant files from the hard drive onto a blank DVD disk.  The standalone DVD recorder can record from video sources in real time, direct to a blank DVD.

Copying videos and DVDs on a DVD recorder

Just as you can't copy commercially made video tapes to another VCR due to Macrovision anti-copy encoding, the same applies to making copies to DVD. DVD recorders cannot bypass the anti-copy signal on commercial video tapes or DVDs. However, just as with VCRs, there are video stabilizers available that will minimize the effect of anti-copy encoding, however, they are not 100% successful. Such devices are available at most major consumer electronics retailers.

However, you can copy any homemade videos, such as camcorder videos and videos made from TV shows (an even laserdiscs). In addition, some DVD recorders also have digital video inputs (IEEE-1394, Firewire, i-Link) that allow users of digital camcorders to digitally transfer their audio and video direct to DVD in real time.