Pioneer DVR-630H

/ Updated: 21 October 2010, 11:47 pm AEDT

Pioneer has refreshed its line-up of DVD recorders with four devices: the entry-level DVR-230 (AU$399), the DVR-330 (AU$499), the 80GB hard disk DVR-530H (AU$899) and the 160GB DVR-630H (AU$1099).

Upside
Like the Pioneer DVR-330, the DVR-630H has a new MPEG encoder that allows for up to 13 hours of video to be recorded onto a single DVD-R/RW and 24 hours on a dual layer disc. Pioneer also claims the new encoder allows for 55 percent more detail to be recorded in the same amount of storage space. The 630H also houses a 160GB hard disk that can store up to 455 hours of video at its highest compression setting or 23 hours using its highest resolution setting.

The two hard disk models feature USB connectivity at the front of the recorders for transferring JPEG images direct from a camera, via a USB memory key, or through a card reader attached to the unit. Users can also connect a USB keyboard to the port at the front to navigate the recorder's menu and rename files. A separate type-B USB port is at the rear for printing to PictBridge enabled printers. Hard disk models also have the ability to copy music CDs in real-time at a bitrate of 256kbps, similar to the feature we saw on the Bose Lifestyle 48.

Downside
Pioneer is still entrenched in the DVD-R/RW camp (aka the DVD Forum) as the exclusive format of choice for recording, although it does support playback of DVD+R/RW and DVD-RAM discs.

Photo enthusiasts that like to record in uncompressed RAW or TIFF formats won't be able to use the DVR-630H's USB connection for images as the file manager only recognises JPEG files. Also, the USB port only supports version 1.1 (up to 12Mbit/s, or 1.4MB/s), which is slower than USB version 2.0's maximum speed of 480Mbit/s (or 57MB/s).

Although equipped with multiple composite inputs and outputs, high end connections such as DVI and HDMI aren't included on this round of Pioneer recorders.

Outlook
2005 will be the first year when DVD recorders outsell video cassette recorders, which have experienced declining sales over the past four years, according to Pioneer. Sales of DVD recorders are expected to reach half a million units by the end of the year.

With Christmas around the corner, Pioneer is the first to hit the market with three sub-$1000 DVD recorders (and one AU$1100 unit) that support dual layer recording. Increasing the range of models available allows consumers to pick a model that best suits their needs, such as hard disk recording for heavy users, USB connectivity for digital photographers, and CD copying for music lovers.

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Where to Buy

Pioneer DVR-630H

Part Number: CNETPioneer DVR-630H

Typical Price: $1,099.00

See manufacturer website for availability.