Burner vs. Recorder



Okay, the forum description said this was the place for stupid questions, so, I am very new to this, and I am wondering,

What is the difference between a DVD Burner and a DVD Recorder?
When would you need one and when the other?
Does one of them to the tasks of both? or do they serve completely different functions?


Usually a “dvd burner” is an optical drive which only works with an computer connected.
A “dvd recorder” is mostly a standalone unit which doesnt require a computer.


Let me be a little more specific. I’m trying to ask about functionality. I know what the physical difference between the machines is.

So, specifically,

  • can a standalone DVD recorder be used to make back-up DVDs?
  • can a standalone DVD recorder be used to make or work with data DVDs?
  • can a DVD burner make a recording of a VHS cassette?
  • would using a capture device be the only way to use a DVD burner to make a copy of a VHS?

I am wondering exactly how these two devices differ in terms of functionality and what is the overlap, if any.


For the last 2 questions as I point out it’s a case of PC rather than burner. Once on the PC you can do whatever you want.

  1. Only from not protected discs.
  2. In 99% useless. If the “data dvd” contains movie files and maybe pictures, you probably could view and play them, nothing more.
  3. This should work if you connect them together and the source is not protected (like with Macrovision).
  4. VHS > DVD is easier with a VHS device and a DVD recorder connected together.


Thanks guys. Sounds like 2 purchases are in order. Rats.