When combined hard disk and DVD recorders first appeared they struggled to convince people they represented good value for money. But with prices dropping, consumers are starting to realise that such products aren't merely aspirational. In fact, they're well within reach for your average punter.
More importantly, people needed to get to grips with the technology. VCRs had done an adequate job for years. Videos were cheap, everyone had one and even Dad knew how to operate it. Why swap that for a potential nightmare of lost tempers and kicked cats?
Sony's solution is to keep it simple. The RDR-HX510 is easy to set up and the instruction manual is very easy to follow, taking you through things step by step. It explains in detail the various processes such as formatting discs, recording to disc and hard drive, and dubbing from drive to disc.
Compatibility problems also plagued early hard drive/DVD recorders. Sony has solved this by ensuring that the RDR-HX510S can write to almost all DVD formats.
The hard disk is 80GB. This should be good for 120 hours at a reasonable quality setting. The remote control is well laid-out, while the frontpanel of the RDR-HX510S is attractive and has plenty of controls.