I have had 3 different DVD Recorders over the last few years and they have all developed faults. I exchanged my last DVD Recorder for a Philips HDR3700 which had the extra features of a 160 GB Hard Disk Drive and built in Freeview.
I found it very easy to set up and link to my Sky box and TV. The on screen set up instructions were easy to follow so I had it up and running in no time. The instruction manual can look a bit off putting as it is more like a book (100 pages) but I browsed through for the sections that were relevant to what I wanted to do.
I was soon recording things onto DVD again with no problems. I wanted to try recording onto the hard drive so I followed the instructions with ease, so much more convenient than recording onto DVD. I love the fact that you no longer have to go hunting round in a panic for a blank DVD when a programme or film you want to record is starting. It is as easy as pressing the HDD button on the remote followed by Record. The Hard drive can store up to 180 hours depending on recording mode (quality). You can also dub things from your hard drive to DVD if you want to keep them, or just delete them once you have watched them as I often do with episodes of my favourite programmes.
Another great feature of this recorder is the Time Shift Buffer, I wasn't sure what this meant at first, but it is a bit like Sky plus, you can pause and rewind live TV. It's great for if you are watching TV and the phone rings, the doorbell goes, or if you just want to go and make a cup of tea. You can either press pause or when you get back you can rewind it to the part you were up to so you don't miss anything.
I find the playback of DVDs and hard drive very good quality and I love the resume function, it remembers what part you were up to if you stop it to watch the rest later so you don't end up fast forwarding through it looking for the bit you got up to.
I haven't used the Freeview much as I have Sky, but I know it works well, I recorded a programme from the Freeview which meant I could watch a different programme on sky channels at the same time.
I think this was an excellent buy, well worth paying a bit extra for a DVD Recorder with hard drive, and I would recommend it to anyone thinking of purchasing a recorder. I could never go back to just recording on DVD now after knowing the convenience of the hard drive. After trying to think of any disadvantages it has the only thing I could come up with was that when you put a DVD in it takes a few seconds to load, but that would just be nit-picking, its really not that hard to wait a few seconds.
As a brand name, Phillips carries its own cachet, as well as owning a top European footie team! Seriously, the brand is an extremely well known and widely used name in terms of its fairly eclectic range of products. As such, Phillips is considered to be reliable and trustworthy by the consumer. Or, is it?
In terms of the product in question, the HDR 3700 is one of those devices that may seem at first to be hard to set up and get going, and to operate, but that isn't the case with this machine. Again, it depends on how adept you are at reading and interpreting the product manual, which I usually find impenetrable but surprisingly not with this thing.
Running the recorder should be a doddle, but I didn't find that to be the case all the time. The remote should also be simplicity itself but again I found that this is not necessarily the case. It has a built in Freeview, which is fine but I prefer the greater range on VM more to my liking. But, the level of picture quality is fairly good if you're running a DVD film. The Price is a bit steep for what you get, and the cheapest seems to be on Amazon. There's cheaper alternatives out there, and in some cases the quality may rival or exceed that of this machine. Bit of a 'pay your money takes your chances really'. With hindsight though, I'd not get another of these, but may be pay a bit more for guaranteed quality.