With major retail outlets announcing they will no longer carry VHS format video recorders or media, the death knell for your VCR couldn't be louder. So you turn to the next greatest thing, the digital video recorder or DVD, for all those duties that your blinking VCR did. In fact, when it comes to quality picture, the DVD recorder will do them much better. The superb picture and quality of sound, plus ability to navigate and edit your DVD will keep you from ever going back. Unfortunately the state of the art is still shifting with a battle for formats raging, and new technology ready to supplant whoever comes out on top (see blu-ray details below). If you can hang on to your VCR for a tad longer you might find some of the confusion clarified in the next year.
With a plethora of DV manufacturers producing their own take on what you need, let's look at the current horizon of DVD products.
DVD burners on your computer
DVRs that record your favorite TV shows to a hard drive (think TiVo)
DVD players that just play DVDs that are already recorded.
DVD recorders that can record and archive TV programs onto a digital video disk.
It is the last category that is explored here. Think VCR, only with the capability of replicating high quality television to a disk. However, there are a number of options and differences that encourage you to examine your needs before you purchase.