7-10 FT Sony RDR-GX7
Not content to take a backseat to the likes of Panasonic, Pioneer, and Philips, Sony has entered the DVD recorder fray with the company's debut model, the RDR-GX7. It's available now for $800 (list price).
Upside: Instead of picking sides in the DVD format war, Sony has chosen to split the difference; the RDR-GX7 records on DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW discs. Additionally, it features progressive-scan output, VCR Plus+ compatibility for its built-in TV tuner, a FireWire connection for camcorder hookups, and VR mode support for nonlinear editing on DVD-RW discs.
Downside: Curiously, the RDR-GX7 wasn't designed to record on DVD+R discs. More problematic, however, is the lack of a built-in program guide or IR blaster (both of which are featured on Philips's forthcoming DVDR80); those shortcomings mean those with digital cable or satellite tuners will have to jump through a few extra hoops to record their favorite programs.
Outlook: Despite the unit's potential appeal to digital camcorder archivists, the absence of a program guide and an IR blaster make this model hard to recommend to television fans. Consider instead the Panasonic DMR-E80H, which--at a list price of $100 less--records to DVD-Rs and features a built-in 80GB hard drive.