If movies are your thing, the Pioneer DVR-110D and its brethren really shine, outperforming all their competitors in ripping DVDs and most rivals in burning single- and double-layer DVD+Rs. The DVR-110D is only a mediocre rewriter, but in a couple of months of steady use, it didn't hiccup once. Moreover, Pioneer has posted several firmware revisions to support new media and fix a bug or two that affected a small number of users. The drive is available under a couple of different names, with different software bundles and support options. But underneath it all, the hardware is the same. The basic DVR-110D, the one we reviewed, is the bare drive (available in black, silver, or beige). The retail version, the DVR-R100 (available in black, silver, or beige), bundles Ulead DVD MovieFactory 4 authoring and mastering suite, Ulead CD and DVD PictureShow 3 SE, Ulead VideoStudio 9 SE DVD, and NovaStor NovaBackup. The DVR-610 version (available in black and beige), which is available primarily through e-tailers, bundles Ulead DVD MovieFactory 3.5 SE, Ulead Photo Explorer 8.5, and a 30-day trial of Computer Associates eTrust EZ Antivirus. No matter what the moniker, the software, or the faceplate color, it's the same drive, and you can bring it up-to-date with the same firmware upgrades.
Installing the DVR-110D is like installing any other DVD burner: straightforward. However, while Pioneer provides screws to affix the drive in an open drive bay, it doesn't include an IDE cable or an analog-to-sound-card adapter cable. There's no digital cable either, but that's less of a problem, since the DVR-110D lacks the digital output most drives offer. The Ulead software is straightforward and simple to install. It's generally easier to learn than Nero's software, but Nero can perform a wider variety of disc jobs.