I got one of these a couple of years ago and its been a very reliable performer. I paid £100 for this which seemed like a very good price at the time for a HDD/DVD recorder from a top brand like Sony.
The 160GB HDD can record up to 455 hrs which is more than i'll ever need! As stated in previous reviews and the technical specs this DVD Recorder can handle multiple DVD writing formats +/- R/RW and playback recordable discs in many formats too, which at the time some of the other players were unable to do.
Recording to the HDD is dead easy, it can be started at the touch of a button. There are also various other timer formats that can be used. This also has the GUIDE plus system which allows you to programme what you want to record. Where this Sony recorder really excels is that it has a subtle infra red controller that can be placed over the top of another set top box allowing you to change channel via the Sony DVD recorder and, if using GUIDE plus, will change the channel if required to record the programme you want to record when it starts. It is straightforward to record from the HDD to DVD as well.
Setting up is pretty straightforward. Its pretty much plug and play. The remote is pretty sensibly laid out and relatively straightforward to understand. The on screen menus are pretty good as well, reasonably intuitive for someone who is used to this sort of thing. If you're a technophobe the number of options and capabilities this device has could potentially get a bit confusing. The HDD menu is great, it shows thumbnails of the programmes you've recorded and even plays short clips so you can check what you want to watch.
I've got this set up with an HDMI cable, the HDMI upscaling makes the DVD picture quality excellent as you would expect from Sony. Whilst its not quite Blu-ray it significantly outperforms a standard DVD player.
TV Tuner...biggest downside
This is where this DVD recorder falls down in my opinion as it only has a terrestrial TV tuner. Whilst you pay significantly more for the version with integrated Freeview (£160-£200) it would be worth it in my opinion.
This recorder is great if you have another set top box of some sort, Sky, Virgin, Freeview - it doesnt matter - as you can connect this recorder between the set top box and the TV making it easy to record what you want to. I used this set up with Virgin Media a year ago.
Having moved there is no Virgin Media cable connection at my new house so i reverted to the built in Freeview tuner in my HD TV. This is where the Sony comes unstuck! As the tuner is built into the TV you cannot connect the recorder in between a set top box and the TV, therefore you are restricted to the TV being on the same channel you want to record. Previously i was able to record one channel through the virgin box whilst watching a different channel through the Freeview tuner in the TV. This may not be a problem for some but i find it a bit annoying now, hence the slightly lower rating.
If this isnt an issue for you then please dont be put off as this is an excellent recorder...just think about your set up at home when buying a DVD recorder like this.
The Sony RDR-HX750B is an all singing, all dancing DVD and hard drive recorder at an amazing price.
The 160 GB hard drive offers up to a massive 455 hours of recording time and DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW discs can all be recorded on and high-speed dubbing means you can quickly record from the hard drive straight to DVD.
It almost goes without saying as this is a Sony product but the recording and playback quality are utterly top notch. In addition, it has an HDMI output with 1080p upscaling which is just stunning and really gets the most out of your DVD collection. Who needs Blu-ray when you can make the most of your HD flat screen with such a great upscaler?
It also includes Sony's Bravia Theatre Sync, a USB port so that you can get photos quickly to the hard drive and the ability to connect up not just a USB key but also a digital camera. You can even hitch it up to a PictBridge printer and get your photos printed without the need for a computer.
What else would you like it to do? Well, it can also record to DVD+ RW and DVD-R DUAL LAYER discs, it has the GUIDE Plus+ System (set top box controller) and is Divx compatible. You can also 'chase play' - pause live TV (useful if the phone rings) and it is really responsive - quick to switch on and to start the recording process - just with a single button.
It is incredibly easy to use, the remote is well laid out, the menus are clear and user friendly and the storage is massive. Is it silly to say that it looks good? OK, well, it looks good! Installation is a piece of proverbial - it really is plug and play.
So, what is the downside? There has to be a downside...
Well, there is. Kinda! But let me describe my set-up first. We have Virgin cable (which requires a decoder box), a satellite box and a Wii. What we do not have it Freeview (because we have cable).
So, the downside is that this box only has an analogue tuner! For some, that's going to be a big downside. But, if you already have a Freeview box or use cable or satellite, the lack of a digital tuner is not an issue - because you already have a tuner for your service in a different box. Now for the good news - that lack of tuner makes this box available at under £100! Incredible! The equivalent Sony recorder with a Freeview box weighs in on the wrong side of £200!
Also, the ability to set the timer and the great set top infra-red controller device (that sits in front of other boxes) allows you to control other boxes via the Sony unit - it can switch them on or over as you need. Genius!
What a cracking piece of kit this is! A Sony branded, DVD recorder with a 160gb hard drive. And for those of you who might want to get a dvd and hard drive recorder but are put off by the price - I picked one of these up at Richer Sounds for under £100 so they are also amazingly cheap.