Why so many problems with DVD recorders?

DVD recorder sales not as high as expected. Many reasons cheap inferior products, poor service support, crap media, user expectations. Many people look for a replacement for their VCR and go to a high volume store and buy the least expensive unit and the cheapest media and soon return the product. It was not that many years ago a HiFi VCR sold for $200+ now people want a DVD Recorder for less than $100. Stores like WM force the price down but quickly drop the product when they have many returns. I have had 6 DVD recorders only one was crap, even the LiteOns could be fixed to work. Makers also pretend that their unit can use most any media, yet bad media is the main reason for record failure. Unlike VCRs which could use nearly any tape, DVD Recorders need quality media to work well. Lots of people need to replace VCRs, DVD Recorder makers need to set up and make good units at a fair price.


  • More types of media to choose between (e.g., DVD+R vs. DVD-R, single layer or DL, R vs. RW), many of which are incompatible for reasons obscure to consumers
  • Skimpy and poorly-written user manuals to describe operations more complex than a VCR
  • More issues with copy protection restrictions

But certainly the biggest issue causing product returns is that a write error during recording causes total recording failure, unlike VHS tape where it caused a momentary video glitch. Media incompatibility or just a bit of dust on the disc can cause this. This is partly an inherent design limitation of DVDs, but also due to the use of really cheap drives in DVD recorders that have no “burn-proof” feature.

Even with all the problems I would be lost now without my DVD Recorders. My ES15/25 record 2, 2 hour movies to DVD with VQ higher than one move per T120 tape at SP speed, at a cost per disc far less than cost per tape. 20 DVDs in a holder take up about the same room a one VHS tape. And I can mail a DVD inside a greeting card with no extra postage. I have had my ups and downs in the last 5 years, but now using quality media, recoders and players playback problems nearly gone. It is rare now to have a video skip or hangup on playback. Perfect No but nearly so.