Current model combo recorders present the greatest difficulties copying commercial videotapes. The better approach for copying videotapes of any kind with the current crop of DVD recorders is to use the original VCR that recorded the tapes as the videotape player connected to an input on a DVD recorder or HDD/DVD recorder. That dubbing/copying method offers greater flexibility and control of the process, especially for difficult to track videotapes or those requiring a video stabilizer or other measures for satisfactory results.
The best current product for use in dubbing/copying videotapes is the Magnavox 2160 HDD/DVD recorder. Connect your old VCR to an input and copy the videotaped material to the hard drive (in real time), edit the video if you wish, then high-speed dub the material to DVD. The high-speed dub may take fifteen minutes plus another three minutes for finalizing.
The Magnavox 2160 is currently selling for $227 through walmart.com. From time to time factory refurbished 2160 models may be found through jr.com (or the J&R store) in NYC for $160.
During 2007 I copied around 5,200 videotaped titles direct to DVD using outstanding 2005 and 2006 model year Panasonic ES series combo recorders and DVD recorders. Among my fully functional recorders there are two 2005 DMR-ES30V and six 2006 DMR-ES35V combo recorders, one DMR-ES25 and two DMR-ES15 DVD recorders.
The current (2007 and newer) Panasonic EZ series combo recorders have been stripped of the most essential dubbing/copying features, i.e., Time Limited dubbing/copying and Flexible Recording dubbing/copying. The current Panasonic EZ series combo recorders are unsatisfactory for use in a dubbing/copying project. (More detailed descriptions may be found in the Panasonic DVD recorder threads.) The Panasonic EZ series recorders are capable of outstanding picture quality but are bug laden and plagued with design flaws. I purchased five EZ series recorders, only two of which remain in use, one is a standby recorder and two are no longer functional.
As my EZ series recorders fail they are replaced by my standby recorders, the older, more reliable ES series models, most of which have already seen heavy use but keep on performing as new. One of my ES series combo recorders has accumulated around 4,400 recording hours and six other ES series combo recorders and DVD recorders have each accumulated more than 3,000 recording hours. Of course Panasonics require regular DVD Drive lens and hub/spindle cleaning to maintain longevity. (Details are found in the Panasonic threads.)
I write from experience. I own fourteen fully functional Panasonic ES and EZ series recorders, four Magnavox 2160 HDD/DVD recorders, one of the earlier Magnavox 2080 HDD/DVD recorders, two similar earlier Philips 3575 and 3576 HDD/DVD recorders, two Magnavox combo recorders and one Magnavox DVD recorder.
If you are determined to purchase a combo recorder you may find good results with the current (2009 model year) digital tuner Magnavox ZV457MG9 combo recorder. I own two of the similar earlier (2008 model year) versions, an early ZV450MW8 and later ZV450MW8A that are decent "garden variety" combo recorders, but I do not recommend them for use in a serious dubbing/copying project. Combo recorders are satisfactory for viewing videotapes but are only satisfactory for occasional copying of videotaped material direct to DVD.
As I'm typing this post my Magnavox ZV450MW8 is being used as the videotape player connected to my Philips 3576 that is transferring a portion of a videotape to its hard drive for later editing and high-speed dubbing to DVD. That transfer will conclude in six minutes, after which I will edit out some material and then high-speed dub the edited material to DVD for archiving.