sorry chef and sorry everybody, I did not mean to cause a Brand WAR here! :o
but let me just say that what Alex is assuming is absolutely not true. Infact as I told you I always use to have 3 DVD Recorders in my pc, two latest Pioneer and one latest NEC. This because I think Nec deserves to be there but about Nec 3540 (fw 1.01e) I cannot really say it has a good overall writing quality out of the box! take a ritek G05 of any brand (achilles' kneel of every Nec model IMO), take a CMC Mag Ae1 of any brand, burn an entire DVD of data and have a quality and speed scan (G05 @ 6x only because 8x causes a lot of coasters, CMC @ 8x): just poor results. Pioneer 109 made both of them perfectly out of the box @ 8x and 12x!
definitely, it's true, there is noone winning out there, but there is SUPPORT to improve situations and I think Pioneer gives a lot of it while Nec doesn't.
This is why I prefer Pio over Nec. With the right DVDs they are both outstanding recorders...