Blu-Ray Recorder Buying Guide

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Blu-Ray Recorder Buying Guide

For anyone wanting to record their own HD content, a Blu-ray recorder is a must-have, making a perfect centrepiece to any home theatre installation. Almost every generation of video player has included an equivalent recorder. This was true of VHS videocassette systems, and DVDs before the advent of Blu-ray, and the progression has not changed. The advance of technology has added features such as direct digital recording, but there has always been a market for recorders that can produce the same kind of media as most consumer players.

With that being the case, the question then becomes one of identifying the prospective purchaser's needs and marrying those needs to the features of currently available Blu-ray recorders. There is a lot more to it than simply looking at the first recorder one sees and deciding on buying that model. It is a matter of balancing features and budget as well as other factors to ensure one finds the best Blu-ray recorder for their needs.

Blu-Ray Recorder Basics

A set-top Blu-ray recorder looks very much like a DVD recorder and operates in a similar fashion. One internal difference is that because of the sheer amount of data involved, most recorders do not record directly from an external source, but usually from the internal hard drive. This means that a person looking to record a television show will first record it through the built-in DVR, and only then record it to Blu-ray.

One big advantage to this system is that if there is an issue with the disc, the user can simply insert another one and record it again. Another thing to consider is that there are different kinds of recordable Blu-ray discs for different uses: The basic BD-R is a single use disc that can be written to once, and read on many players and drives. The BD-RE is a rewriteable disc that can be used more than once, which makes it perfect for testing purposes.

Blu-Ray Recorder Limitations

While the obvious use for a Blu-ray recorder is to record HD television content for archival purposes, this is not likely to be the most common use for the majority of users. The reason has little to do with the technical capabilities of the recorder, but is entirely driven by usage rights issues.

The Blu-ray specification was designed with digital rights management support in mind, which includes support for something called the "broadcast flag". This is a system that provides broadcasters with the ability to enable or disable HD recording for any programme at the time of broadcast. This means the only programmes that can be recorded in HD are those where the broadcaster specifically allows it, and most HD broadcasts available in the UK do not have HD recording enabled. Another factor to consider is that not all home-recorded Blu-ray discs can be played on all Blu-ray players. People who are primarily intending to use home recordings for archival purposes should have no problems with this, as they can play it back on the same machine, but it may be an issue for those who wish to lend their recordings to family members.

Blu-Ray Recorder Uses

Apart from recording those television programmes the broadcaster has enabled for HD recording, the other main use for a set-top Blu-ray recorder is to archive home movies in HD quality. The plethora of readily available HD recording devices, including many mobiles, has led to an explosion in HD home video recording. HD video cameras and camcorders are not merely common, but ubiquitous, with a sizeable fraction of the population carrying one with them at all times.

The perhaps unforeseen corollary is that in order to share video properly, and home movies and other personal recordings are made to be shared, they have to be made available in HD format. This means there is no point burning them to DVD with the attendant loss of quality, and sharing movies on memory cards can be difficult. With that in mind, the obvious option is to put the movies on Blu-ray.

Home Movies on Blu-Ray

The vast majority of Blu-ray recorders can save home recordings to the AVCHD format, which can be read by almost all Blu-ray players . This makes it an excellent choice for anyone who wishes to share their home recordings with friends and family. Besides, a disc full of memories makes a much better gift for any family member than a memory card from a camera.

Choosing the Right Blu-ray Recorder

There are several factors that should be considered by anyone looking to buy a new Blu-ray recorder. The first of which is how the buyer intends to use the recorder, as that determines which features are going to be most important to them. This is why it is so important for any buyer to consider their needs before making the purchase. Understanding and identifying needs is the best way for any person to ensure that they are satisfied with their purchases. The person who wants to record television programmes in HD will prioritise a different set of features than the one who is focused primarily on recording their home movies.

The following table shows some of the features that can be found on most Blu-ray recorders, which users can benefit most and why.


Who Benefits and Why

Hard Drive Space

All Blu-ray recorders have hard drives, as they write from onboard storage, but different models have different amounts of storage. Customers who intend to focus on storing and recording TV want larger amounts of space due to the size of HD video content

Burning Speed

As Blu-ray discs hold a lot of data, the higher the burning speed the faster the recorder is able to create each disc. All users should consider higher speed devices whenever possible, although slower recording may not be an issue for those recording short home movies

Disc Format Support

Most Blu-ray recorders can support both BD-R and BD-RE discs, but prospective buyers should also pay attention to whether the recorder supports the larger 50GB dual-layer disc format or just the smaller 25GB single layer format

Input Connectors

One thing that is important for buyers looking to record home video is the ability to get the data from the camcorder or other device to the Blu-ray recorder. These users should look for things like USB connectivity and card readers in order to make it easier to transfer their data

Once the buyer knows what they want, they are in a better position to judge which of the features listed above are going to provide them with the greatest benefit and thus plan their purchases accordingly. Therefore, knowledge is the single greatest tool any buyer can have.

Buying a Blu-ray Recorder on eBay

Buying a new Blu-ray recorder on eBay is a quick and easy process. The place to start is in the search box that can be found on every eBay page. Simply enter your search terms in the box, click search, and watch as the results come up. Once you have your results, you can use the filters in the sidebar to narrow your results to the Blu-ray recorders that best fit your needs. You can filter by everything from price range, to brand, even seller location. Not only can you filter the results to the models that best match your requirements, you can also sort them by shipping distance. All these tools make finding the right Blu-ray recorder for you quick and easy.

After finding the ideal recorders, the next step is to find your perfect match from amongst eBay's many reputable sellers. The best place to start is at their profile page, where you can see everything from their feedback rating to their location. You can also see any shipping policies they might have. Some sellers may bundle different purchases while others may allow local buyers to pick up what they buy and avoid shipping entirely.


The key to buying the best Blu-ray recorder for any purchaser’s needs is to start with the buyer identifying those needs so that they can easily determine which unit best meets those needs. In many cases, the best use for a Blu-ray recorder is not necessarily archiving HD television programmes. Many broadcasters do not enable this because of content issues. Where a Blu-ray recorder really shines is in recording home movies, as it lets families preserve their memories in high definition. For those buyers, the key lies in buying a recorder with the right inputs so that they can transfer their movies from the camera to the recorder with ease.

The other thing to consider is the various disc options: buyers can choose from write-once BD-R discs to the rewriteable BD-RE, which can be used again and again for different content, depending on their requirements. However, for anyone looking to archive HD video, a Blu-ray recorder is the one essential tool that lets them move those videos off memory cards and hard drives and on to archival storage.

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