Mr Belvadere, I think you have it hit on the head Regarding Phillips, for the electronic consumer market certainly I would advise users to buy Phillips because I think they are an excellent brand with a built-up reputation of giving reliable products which are often cheaper than the competitors - eg Toshiba and LG, but now they are about on level with each other.
My experiences with Phillips are two DVD players, one from 2004 and another from 2009 that is my nannans (But she never used it so she gave it to my mum) and a Phillips television. Both of the players are fantastic, reads just about any DVD you throw at it, surprisingly stable, smooth playback, and it's slick looks means they are still pretty stylish as well.
Certainly much better than a Toshiba DVD player we bought in 2003 - Which was stubborn, slow, and refused to playback awkward DVDs which were gobbled up by the Phillips, and gave up the ghost a few years later. (Laser was faulty) On that front, I highly recommend a Philips DVD player over a Toshiba - But Toshiba televisions have that edge over Phillips.
Not too keen on Toshiba VCR's though for some reason... My dads model I think still has a tape jammed inside it, so I don't advise. But Sony VCRs have always been very consistant and reliable. Matsui... Meh, they are okay I guess Depends on experience really (ELLO ELLO! TOSH GOTTA TOSHIBA!?)
I have a similar recorder from an unknown brand - A Visitron DVD Recorder WITH built in 160GB hard drive produced in 2008 (But bought as liquidated stock from eBay for Â£40 brand new and boxed with free delivery. Since it was brand new, I got meself a bargain! :bigsmile: This recorder is excellent, and whilst it is fundamentally flawed - (Slow booting times, and doesn't quite record straight away so you may miss a few vital seconds of television, etc) but this is a problem affecting a lot of DVD recorders, particularly cheap ones.
I mainly use it as a VCR to DVD transfer, and the video quality as far as SP+ (2hr 30min SL recording time) [because it's not worth losing more quality to squeeze onto one disc) has been excellent, even with LP cassettes. Recently, I found out an old WHSmith VHS tape footage of us my dad shot when we were about 3 in 1997 - shot on an old Video 8 camcorder so transferring to LP VHS the quality isn't fantastic, but cued onto 3 DVDs all at HQ quality, the quality is is identical to the footage source. Since the footage was shot in mono, the sound on the DVD does sound a little weak... But I don't think that can be helped.
It works, with all of the features you said above. The bottom line is for me, is if it works, why pay for a brand name? I have faith my bargain basement recorder will just keep going and going. Having said that I've had no problems with using a ASDA own Pacific DVD Player - Infact, they do tend to be rated pretty highly