I had all your issues and questions 6 months ago when I built my system.
"My" experience is that stand alone recorders for some reason I can't find out DO create a better product ((ie-sharper picture with less cabbaging or pixilation)) than do computer based capture cards.
I now use my stand alones to record tv onto rewriteables and I then copy the rewriteables onto my computer for editing. For me, this is only a little bit of additional work for the satisfaction of a better final product.
I'll try another computer based capture system when High Def and Blue Ray are available but I'm already resigned to the fact that again the stand alones will probably be the better solution for me.
I got the BenQ burner and have been happy with it--the Sonic software that comes with it is simpler than Nero which for me works erratically. I use Nero when Sonic doesn't work.
Come back and let us know what you finally create and how you like it.///bobbo.