Sharp DV-HR300 DVR/DVD Recorder

For a lot of reasons, a DVD recorder equipped with a hard-disk drive makes a lot of sense. Sharp's stylish DV-HR300, which contains a drive with an 80-gigabyte (GB) capacity, is a good example of the advantages of such an arrangement.

FAST FACTS

DIMENSIONS 17 x 2 3/8 x 13 inches PRICE $800 MANUFACTURER Sharp Electronics USA, www.sharpusa.com, 800-237-4277

KEY FEATURES

• Records on DVD-R/RW discs and an internal 80-gigabyte hard drive • Full editing capabilities for DVD-RW and hard-drive recordings • High-speed dubbing between hard drive and DVD • inputs 3 composite/S-video, all with stereo analog audio; RF (antenna); i.Link port • outputs composite-, component- (switchable between interlaced and progressive-scan), and S-video; optical digital and stereo analog audio; RF (antenna) loop-through

Like previous Sharp DVD recorders, the DV-HR300 records on write-once DVD-R and rewritable DVD-RW discs, and it'll play, but not record on, DVD+R/ RW discs. It records on DVD-RW discs either in Video format - which produces discs that behave very much like movie DVDs and can be played in most standard DVD players and computer drives - or in VR format, which lets you edit programs but produces discs that aren't as widely playable.

Having a hard-disk recorder in the same chassis, however, makes disc compatibility pretty much irrel­evant, because you can edit any program you've recorded on the hard drive and copy it - without the commercials if it's a TV show! - to DVD-R.

The hard drive also makes possible some of the "trick" features familiar to users of TiVo and ReplayTV recorders. There's Time Shift Viewing, which lets you pause a program you're watching and recording and then pick up where you left off when you're ready to resume playback - all without interfering with the recording. Chasing Playback lets you play a program from the beginning even though it hasn't finished recording. There's also a record/playback function that lets you watch a program already on the hard drive while a new one is being recorded. And when you're using the timer to make a DVD recording, you can also set the machine to automatically kick in the hard drive for the remainder of the program so the end isn't cut off.

One of the most important functions of the hard drive, though, is to serve as a high-capacity buffer to hold and play recordings while you decide which ones you want to preserve on "keeper" DVDs. You can record a long program to the drive in a high-quality mode, and then either dub it to DVD in a lower-quality mode to make it fit, or retain the high quality of the original and use the editing controls to split it up on two or more DVDs.

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