Sounds like the NEC 3500A is the "safe" way to go right now. Like I said earlier, I'm a total newbie with DVDs, so I'd rather spend $10 more and get something that works than get some no-name generic drive or re-badged junker. That was one of the reasons I mentioned LG, and I thought Plextor was the holy grail for burners, but BenQ seems to be more popular. The NEC sounds solid, safe, and apparently firmware support is good?
One of my reasons for asking all the redundant questions is that friend of mine backed up a movie for me, and it worked on one DVD (Sony) and didn't work (freezes then goes) on a Toshiba. I didn't know if it was media related or whether the DVD player was fussy about home made DVDs. Both are less than a year old, but both are basically low-end (under $75) players. Could of also been the software although he said he used Shrink.
Is there a really great DVD player for around $100 that I should look for, or should I basically he happy with whatever works? The Sony has regular RCAs, S-VHS and Component connections and so does the Toshiba.
Somewhat unrelated, but since you're a burn-doctor can you tell me if I had DTV with TIVO or a Cable DVR... could you record that to a DVD?
Thanks again for the advice.