If you're in the market for a dedicated DVD recorder, the Panasonic DMR-EZ27EB might well be the solution you are looking for. It's a DVD player/recorder with a built-in Freeview receiver, allowing you to record TV shows to DVD, as well as burn footage from a number of other sources, such as a camcorder, via DV or S-Video in.
The EZ27EB is not a bad looker. It's a little larger than most modern DVD players, but the black frame will fit nicely into most lounges.
It's unusual because it upscales regular material to 1080p, via its HDMI output -- sound is spot on, and picture quality is pretty good in practice.
We watched our special edition DVD of The Big Lebowski on a 42-inch Toshiba LCD and thought the result was easy on the eye. Colour was decent, and the picture had plenty of detail. Freeview upscaling doesn't look so good, though.
In fact, if you are buying this purely as an upscaling DVD player, you should probably consider another model like the Denon DVD-1930, which although doesn't have the 1080p upscaling headline figure, does a better job picture quality-wise.
The EZ27EB records to all flavours of blank DVD disc, so you don't need to worry about which format you pick up the next time you're in Tesco.
In common with other DVD recorders, you can watch the discs you create on a laptop, so long as you have finalised the disc first. That means you can watch last night's episode of Neighbours on the train the next morning when you are supposed to be collating that Web site traffic report or filling in an expenses claim.
Programming the recorder is reasonably straightforward -- you simply navigate through the 7-day programme guide and press okay when you find something you want to record. You can tweak the length of the recording, too, which means you can prevent overrunning programmes from being cut short.
Other cool features include the ability to play MP3 discs and a DV-in port for transferring footage from DV camcorder to disc.