What Is a HDD/DVD Recorder?

DVD recorder
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Have you heard of the HDD/DVD Recorder? Similar to a DVR, this small box is used to record and store TV programs and movies and, as an extra bonus, it also includes a DVD burner. Not as popular as it once was, these are still handy devices for certain people.

What Is a HDD/DVD Recorder?

A Hard Disk Drive (HDD) DVD Recorder is a standalone DVD recorder that includes an internal hard disk drive. It is also known as a "DVD Recorder with Built-in Hard Drive" or "HDD/DVD Recorder."

This device can record to either a DVD disc or the internal hard drive from an external video source, such as cable or satellite television, VCR, or camcorder. A recorded TV program or home video can also be recorded from the built-in hard drive to DVD disc.

Like standard DVRs, HDD/DVD Recorders include:

  • A built-in TV tuner to record live TV signals.
  • Many different line inputs and outputs (Composite, S-Video, Component, RCA Audio, etc).
  • Built-in Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) for scheduling TV programs to record in advance.

The size of the hard disc inside these recorders varies. Just like your computer, the larger the hard drive, the more you can record and store on the internal drive.

It is important to note that the HDD/DVD recorders are not the same as DVRs. DVRs do not have the ability to burn discs though they both include an internal hard drive.

Why Are These Hard to Find?

There are two big problems with HDD/DVD recorders, and they are certainly not as easy to find as they once were, particularly in the United States.

The first reason is that technology has simply advanced. Most people have moved beyond DVD storage and now opt for digital downloads and cloud storage. With the newer services, the limited hard drive space on the HDD/DVD recorders is no longer an issue.

Between streaming video options like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Google Play and cable companies making DVR technology standard with most cable subscriptions, users found fewer needs for these recorders.

The second issue has to do with copyright. Your cable company may have a deal with TV networks and movie producers that allow you to store programs on your DVR. However, the copying of shows onto HDD/DVD recorders (and subsequently DVDs) did not go over well with the people who made those programs and movies.

U.S. consumers started missing HDD/DVD recorders in the early 2000s. They could be found internationally, but rarely in the U.S. This was about the same time that TiVo dominated the recorded TV market. Now, TiVo has a ton of competition in the 'on-demand' TV watching market.

Magnavox is one of the last big electronics companies to produce HDD/DVD recorders.

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