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Digital Video Recorders: Take Control of TV


A digital video recorder is without doubt the device for you if you want to replace your old VCR but aren't quite ready to put a PC in your living room yet. Ask anyone who has used one, and they will tell you that the flexibility of use and new possibilities like time shifting quickly become indispensable. 80 GB units, which in fact are entry-level models, still have the same functions as the more expensive higher-capacity units. Connectivity is the only area where they tend to be somewhat less complete; at worst, the iLink connector is absent on certain models.

Two products stand out from our selection - the Sony RDR-HX910 and the Lite-On LVW-5045. The former is the most technically advanced; the HX710 version with a 160 GB disk is the best choice due to lower cost. The Sony's ergonomics and picture quality put it on the top shelf, while its compatibility with both recording formats is an undeniable plus, as is its automatic chaptering function. The Lite-On, on the other hand, offers an unbeatable quality-to-price ratio. True, its design is a little too "plastic," but that's amply compensated for by its innovative and user-friendly functionalities.