capsule review

Philips DVDR3455H

At a Glance
  • Philips PHILIPS DVDR3455H/37B Hard Disk/DVD Recorder

    TechHive Rating

If I were judging strictly on style, the Philips DVDR3455H would be my top choice: The sleek, super-low-profile machine was easily the best-looking unit I reviewed for our recent chart. Its $350 (as of 10/27/06) price tag is reasonable, too, even though the machine has a smallish 160GB hard drive, offers no electronic program guide, and lacks some other common features.

Philips impressed me with its usability improvements in this model. The minimalist remote, which is one of my favorites, fits in the hand better than previous models do. The company has ditched the small, description-less, often unintuitive icons that plagued the interface of some former units and opted for a more language-based approach that's easier to learn. I do have a minor quibble--the recorder's video editing feature could use more on-screen help--but overall usability is no longer a big complaint. I had to open the very nicely written user guide only once.

The DVDR3455H's recording quality is as good as it gets: The recorder earned a score of Very Good in our image-quality tests. Philips has addressed my biggest beef with previous models, namely the lousy live output while recording at lower bit rates. Now, while you're making a recording and watching it on screen, the live signal is unaffected by the recording compression.

However, the device omits several of the usual features: For example, it won't simultaneously record one program while playing back previously recorded material, and it won't copy video from the DVD player to the hard drive. The no-copy limitation is tolerable, if regrettable, but in addition the machine lacks a commercial-skip function (which usually jumps 29 or 59 seconds, so you still see a slice of each commercial)--that's usually a deal-breaker for me.

Stylish looks and ease of use are this Philips recorder's strengths, but its lack of a few common features weakens the appeal.

Jon L. Jacobi

This story, "Philips DVDR3455H" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Philips PHILIPS DVDR3455H/37B Hard Disk/DVD Recorder

    TechHive Rating
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