For those of us who miss the old days of having a VCR that we could record programs while away from the house, or tape your favorite game of the week, this unit brings all that back. There are some really good features of the Sony RDR-HX980 DVD Recorder in this regard. It also has provisions for music management through USB or CD's via traditional CD's or MP3.
With the 250 GB Hard Drive of memory (HDD), it also elimates the cumbersome necessity for storage on disc, or as in the past, video tape. Recorded programs may be stored onto the HDD for up to 36 hours of high quality playback all the way up to 710 hours for the lowest quality resolutions.
However, as with many digital products on the market, it does have significant restrictions with respect to copyrights. If you expect to rent a DVD from the local video shop and copy it onto the HDD of this unit - forget it! It cannot do this. It is also disabled from recording broadcasted programs that have copy protection signals. I'm no expert on the matter, and I have no idea what programs or sports events are broadcast in this manner. It could be at some point that all broadcasts have copy protection signals in their programs. In this case, the machine reduces down to merely a DVD player.
On the upside, it does produce a vivid picture and rich pure sound on many of my DVD's. The HDMI output may account for this pleasant feature. The front mounted USB, Picbridge, DV in, Audio/Video and S Video line jacks are very convenient as well.
On the downside, it will not play Blu-Ray or HD discs, and the copy protection restrictions may or may not make the machine the most useable unit in your entertainment cabinent.