Hmmm... I thought that the days of generalised Philips-bashing were over, but it seems not. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to share their experiences, especially when you've paid out a lot of money for recorders that don't work. However I think some the content of nicadair's posts needs to be challenged, since there's a lot of subjectivity already been written about Philips recorders and we don't need it all brought up again in a forum that has objectivity as its aim.
1) Satisfied Philips users will rarely report this to forums designed to help people with problems; a point that's been made many times before. Hence any generalisation about ALL Philips DVD recorders being useless carries little logical weight.
2) I certainly disagree that the DVDR980 series was a noticeable "catastrophic failure". However, perhaps you were thinking of the DVDR880/890, in which case I'd be more inclined to agree.
3) I'd also be interested to see the source of evidence that the units were not tested at the factories. To my knowledge this information has never been made available (even though the timing of subsequent OPU failures makes it unlikely that point testing at factory would have revealed anything).
4) Not all Philips DVDR failures give an ABxxxxxx error as the primary event. Many that I am aware of simply show a progressive disability for recognising disc types.
5) Note that 'nicadair's valid point about keeping original video tapes applies to all DVD recorders, not just Philips, because the dyes and phase-change materials used in +R/+RW and -R/-RW recordable discs are not suitable for long-term archiving.