This is the main reson i ordered a recorder with a HDD, so your not bangin the lazer all the time, in my personal experience, a DVD lazer is dead after about 6 months to a year of use, so if you record to the hdd all the time, and only transfer stuff you want to keep to the disc, should be safe.
Well thats my plan anyway.
And how did i come up with the time limit on the lazer?, well 4 pioneer dvd burners with burned out lazers in 14 months, thats how.
They have a short life span, i noticed my failed drives will still read, but not burn, the lazer simplt gets to week, and cant focus correctly as the beam width and streanth is out.
My 2 $