Home Theater & Entertainment DVDs, DVRs & Videos 82 82 people found this article helpful What Is a DVD Recorder and a Burner? By Robert Silva Writer Robert Silva has written about audio, video, and home theater topics since 1998. Robert has written for Dishinfo.com, and made appearances on the YouTube series Home Theater Geeks. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Robert Silva Updated October 14, 2019 Photo from Amazon DVDs, DVRs & Videos TV & Displays Audio DVDs, DVRs & Videos Tweet Share Email DVD recorders and DVD Burners both create DVDs by "burning" via a laser to a blank DVD disk. The laser creates "pits" on a recordable DVD using heat (that's where the word "burning" comes in) that store the bits of video and audio information needed to create a playable DVD. Differences Between DVD Recorders and DVD Burners However, what makes a DVD recorder different is that it refers to a specific type of standalone unit that resembles and functions very much like a VCR. A DVD burner, on the other hand, refers to a unit that is either an external add-on or internal DVD drive for a PC or MAC. These devices are also many times referred to as a DVD writer. DVD writers not only record video but can also read and write computer data and store it on a blank DVD disc. All DVD recorders can record from any analog video source and most can also record video from digital camcorders via Firewire. Like a VCR, DVD recorders all have AV inputs, and most have an onboard TV tuner for recording TV shows. DVD Recorders come in several configurations such as Standalone, DVD Recorder/VCR Combo, or DVD Recorder/Hard Drive combo units. Another characteristic of most DVD writers is that they can also record video and audio onto CD-Rs/CD-RWs, whereas standalone DVD recorders do not have the ability to read or write computer data, nor record onto CD-R/CD-RWs. Also, in order to record video and audio onto a PC-DVD burner, the user must input the video to the computer's hard drive using Firewire, USB, or S-Video through a video card, which is done in real-time. However, you can then copy the resultant files from the hard drive onto a blank DVD disk, in an accelerated manner. Recording From Different Sources However, although a standalone DVD recorder can record from compatible video sources (such as its tuner or external device), it must be in real-time, direct to a blank DVD. It is also important to point that when making copies from VHS to DVD either from an external source within a DVD recorder/VHS combination recorder, this can only be done in real-time. The same goes from DVD-to-DVD if copying from an externally plugged in DVD player. However, for DVD recorder/Hard Drive combos, if a video is recorded on the hard drive portion from an external VHS or DVD source, a copy can be made to the DVD section in either real-time or via Hi-Speed dubbing. On the other hand, it is important to point out that when making copies from either externally sourced VHS or DVD content, or from a DVD recorder Hard Drive to a DVD, video copy-protection limitations apply Standalone DVD recorders cannot be used to connect to a computer for the recording of data files and can only record video from analog video inputs and, on most DVD recorders, from a digital camcorder via an iLink (Firewire, IEEE1394) input. Standalone DVD recorders typically do not come with drivers that are required to interact directly with a PC. However, it may be possible that some PC video editing software may allow for the exporting of standard DVD video files made on a PC to certain standalone DVD recorders through a PC's and DVD recorder's firewire interface, but, in this rare instance, you need to consult your software and DVD recorder operating manual or tech support for specific details. If no information is available on this, with regards to a specific DVD recorder, the assumption would be that the DVD recorder in question is not capable of this type of operation. Final Thoughts Although DVD burners for PCs are still available as either built-in or add-ons, DVD recorders are now very rare. This is due to restrictions on what consumers can record onto DVD, as well as the preference for video-on-demand, internet streaming, and downloading services.