Are There Blu-ray Disc Recorders?

Why finding a Blu-ray Disc recorder is so difficult

JVC SR-HD1700US and SR-HD1350US Blu-ray Disc Recorders
JVC Americas Corp., division of JVCKenwood Corporation

The Blu-ray format provides consumers access to high definition quality video (and audio) in a disc-based format that enhances the home theater experience.

However, when Blu-ray technology was developed, it was intended to allow both playback and recording.

The Blu-ray Disc Format Supports Both Playback and Recording – But...

While Blu-ray supports high definition video recording, and Blu-ray Disc recorders are marketed and sold in Japan, and other select markets, there has never been a plan to market stand-alone Blu-ray Disc recorders in the U.S market for consumers.

Why There Are No Consumer Blu-ray Recorders In The U.S.

There are two main reasons why there are no consumer Blu-ray Disc recorders available or sold in the U.S.

  1. One reason is manufacturers have made a business decision that due to the wide popularity of TIVO and Cable/Satellite DVRs in the U.S., along with the convenience of internet streaming, the competitive success of Blu-ray Disc recorders would be limited. This is especially noteworthy now that DVD recorders are now very scarce.
  2. The second reason is far more sinister: Copy-Protection. U.S. TV broadcasters, cable/satellite providers, and movie studios have always been paranoid (with some justification) about video piracy. Allowing consumers to record high-definition copyrighted content (movies and TV shows) onto a physical disc would make it easier to make unauthorized permanent copies that look very close to the original source. These copies could be passed around or sold. This has the potential to decrease sales of the same content on commercial Blu-ray Disc or reduce cable/satellite subscriptions.

Why DVRs May Be Your Only Choice for HD Recording

Despite recording limitations, broadcasters and movie studios have thrown consumers a bone by allowing the recording of high-definition content on cable/satellite, and over-the-air DVRs.

This solves the problem of permanent storage, because as a DVR hard drive fills up, some, or all, recordings need to be deleted in order to make space for new recordings.

To make things even more restrictive consumers can't make high definition copies of that stored content onto Blu-ray disc due to a special layer of copy-protection that allows the content to be recorded on the DVR but not copied to a disc format.

The powers-that-be have even restricted the ability of consumers to record their content onto DVD, which isn't a high definition format. There is increased use of embedding copy-protection signals in cable/satellite, and even some broadcast TV programming that prevents recording to disc-based formats, such as DVD or Blu-ray.

What Types Of Blu-ray Disc Recorders Are Available

The only exception to HD capable DVR recording in the U.S. market is a line "prosumer" Blu-ray Disc recorders introduced and manufactured by JVC, and another one offered by Teac's professional division: TASCAM.

However, these units don't have RF connections for connecting an antenna or cable box, don't provide onboard HD TV tuners, and also don't have component (red, green, blue) or HDMI inputs for recording high definition TV, cable, or satellite content.

The only high-definition sources than can be recorded on the prosumer Blu-ray disc recorders available in the U.S. are usually via digital AV inputs (firewire, USB) or compatible files on a memory card that are not copy-protected (such as from digital cameras or camcorders).

If you desire to record high definition video on a disc, with some limitations, you can buy Blu-ray Disc Writers that install on a PC or purchase a PC or Laptop with Blu-ray recording capability built-in.

If you are a consumer residing in North America and are still interested in purchasing a professional or "prosumer" Blu-ray Disc recorder, listed below are your choices going into 2020. Look over official product pages carefully before committing to a final purchase decision (click on the model numbers for details).

Keep in mind that Blu-ray Disc recorders available for the North American market don't have built-in HDTV tuners, HDMI, or HD-enabled component video inputs for recording high definition broadcast, cable, or satellite programming, unless otherwise noted.

  • JVC SR-HD1350US
  • JVC SR-HD1700US
  • JVC SR-HD2700US. This Blu-ray Disc recorder does include an HDMI input. However, it can't be used to record from HD cable/satellite boxes, DVRs, or Blu-ray Disc players due to the presence of HDCP copy-protection. The HDMI input can only be used to record from non-copy-protected sources, such as portable or studio HD camcorders or video cameras.
  • Tascam BD-R2000 (Discontinued in North, Central, and South America, but you may be able to find one used or on clearance).

Blu-ray Disc Recording Formats

The two types of Blu-ray Recording formats are:

  • BD-R: A record-once only format disc, similar in concept as a DVD-R, DVD+R, or CD-R disc.
  • BD-RE: A re-writable format disc that can be erased, edited, and re-used multiple times, similar in concept to DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, or CD-RW disc.

Most, if not all, Blu-ray recorders released so far also record in one or more of the current standard DVD recording formats, such as DVD-R/-RW or DVD+R/+RW.

Additional Factors To Consider

  • Blu-ray discs you make yourself can only be played on a Blu-ray Disc player or recorder. Blu-ray Disc recorders can also play commercial Blu-ray discs and DVDs – Select units may able be able to play CDs. Blu-ray Disc recorders can't play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.
  • If you copy a VHS tape onto a Blu-ray disc, the recording result will still look like VHS. A Blu-ray Disc recorder will not magically make everything Blu-ray Disc quality. The same goes for copies of DVDs, the result will still look like DVD.
  • The same copy protection rules for DVD recorders apply to Blu-ray disc recorders. You can only make copies of home-recorded VHS tapes and DVDs. You cannot make copies of most commercial VHS tapes or DVD movies.