Sony RDR-HDC100 DVD/HDD recorder
A Sony DVD recorder/PVR with a 120GB hard drive
- User-friendly interface, reliable recording/playback performance
- Lacks twin TV tuners, no fast dubbing options, there are cheaper options on the market
The Sony RDR-HDC100 is a decent PVR/DVD recorder if you don't mind having basic functionality. That said, there are plenty of more accomplished options on the market that cost around the same price.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
The Sony RDR-HDC100 is a high-definition HDD/DVD recorder that doubles as a personal video recorder (PVR). It comes with an inbuilt digital TV tuner and a 160GB hard drive that can store up to 270 hours of video content. The Sony RDR-HDC100 is a reasonable choice for multimedia enthusiasts who want a fuss-free video recorder. It boasts a user-friendly interface and plenty of codec support, including DivX. However, the lack of twin TV tuners or fast DVD dubbing reduces the appeal significantly, especially given the asking price.
[Compre the Sony RDR-HDC100 to other PVRs and DVD recorders on PC World.]
In most respects, the Sony RDR-HDC100 is identical to the Sony RDR-HDC 300 and Sony RDR-HDC500; the only difference is its hard drive capacity. The Sony RDR-HDC 300 comes with a 320GB hard drive, while the Sony RDR-HDC 500 offers 500GB (for $599 and $699 respectively.) If you're not a prolific collector of TV shows, it makes sense to go for the cheaper Sony RDR-HDC100.
The Sony RDR-HDC100 comes with all the typical PVR modes and features. Highlights include 1080p upscaling via HDMI (cable sold separately), a USB port for media playback, a DTS Digital output, DivX support, an MP3 jukebox mode and the ability to pause or rewind live TV. We found the user interface to be straightforward and attractive. A beginner-friendly wizard takes you through the TV tuning process -- within a few minutes, we had all our TV channels stored and were scheduling recordings with the One Touch Timer.
Despite being the 'baby' of the group, the Sony RDR-HDC100 shares the same dimensions of its PVR stablemates. At 430x72x258mm it's a pretty hefty device that will take up the bulk of your home entertainment shelf. The glossy black finish and simple LED display are elegant, if a little on the basic side. All in all, the design is perfectly adequate. A fold-out face plate reveals a handful of playback buttons: handy for when your remote control goes bye-bye.
In addition to the afore-mentioned playback buttons, the Sony RDR-HDC300’s front panel features S-Video, a MiniDV input, composite video and a USB port. This saves you the trouble of fiddling around at the back when you want to connect camcorders and the like. For audio/video connectivity, the Sony RDR-HDC100 comes with HDMI, component (RGB), coaxial digital audio and composite AV. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi and Ethernet are both absent, which means you can't stream content from your home network.
To test the Sony RDR-HDC100's playback performance, we connected it to a Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A plasma TV via HDMI. We found that it recorded television broadcasts reliably, with excellent picture quality in both SD and high-definition. The DVD player also produced attractive looking video, with decent HD upscaling. (Bear in mind that the RDR-HDC100 is not compatible with Blu-ray discs.)
When its $499 price tag is taken into account, the Sony RDR-HDC100 left us wanting more. The absence of twin TV tuners is especially regrettable. Instead, Sony provides a single DVB-T tuner which also doubles as an analog terrestrial tuner. As you can imagine, this severely limits your choices when it comes to recording TV shows. Most rival PVRs — such as the Panasonic DMR-XW450 and Foxtel iQ2 — boast two or more HD digital tuners, allowing you to record multiple TV stations simultaneously.
DVD recording options are also limited. We couldn’t get the RDR-HDC100 to record external content to disc — instead, it needs to be recorded onto the hard drive first and then transferred to DVD. To make matters worse, this can only be done in real time, which means a two hour video file will take two hours to transfer to DVD.
In conclusion, the Sony RDR-HDC300 is a user-friendly option that suffers from limited functionality. The Kogan PVR 500GB HDD personal video recorder comes with twin HD tuners and a removable 500GB hard drive; all for just $329. (Admittedly, it lacks a DVD player/recorder, but we still reckon it works out to be a better bargain.) For brand loyalists only.
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Now that the home entertainment market has moved towards streaming video services and Blu-ray content, there has never been a better time to convert DVD collections to digital.
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