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Best Hard Disk Recorder 2019 • 0 Hard Disk Recorders Reviews

What is a hard disk recorder?

As the name suggests, a hard disk recorder offers you the possibility to record television programmes to a hard disk that is permanently integrated in the device. To do this, the hard disk recorder is connected to the television set or beamer. The devices are equipped with an integrated tuner. If you want to watch one channel and record another, you can only do so if you have a device with two tuners. Alternatively, you can use the tuner of your television set.

program contentYou have the choice between different models. Simple hard disk recorders offer you only the possibility of recording broadcasts. Archiving is not possible because the devices do not have an integrated optical drive. You need this to be able to archive shipments permanently.

Modern hard disk recorders are equipped with a USB connection to which you can connect an external hard disk . Depending on the model, you can transfer recorded programmes to the external hard drive or even record them directly to the hard drive.

A hard disk recorder offers you many more functions. You can trim, split or duplicate the recorded broadcasts . You can also upload music, videos or photos to your hard drive. With the remote control, the media are called up and presented on the television. If there is a USB port on the hard disk recorder, you can also store music, videos and photos on an external hard disk. After you have connected them to the hard disk recorder, your media can be retrieved with the Remote control of the hard disk recorder.

The hard disk recorder can also be used as a tuner. This is useful if you have an older TV that is not yet equipped with a modern digital tuner. After switching on the television set, switch to the channel on which you have connected the hard disk recorder. The individual programmes can be switched with the remote control. You don't need to invest in a new TV set and you can receive digital programmes nevertheless in very high quality.

A hard disk recorder is equipped with various connections. Connect the device analog or digital to your TV. If you want to receive payment television, this is also possible with a hard disk recorder. Many devices are equipped with a CI+ interface. You insert the smartcard into it to activate pay TV.

Note that TV programs that you want to record from Payment TV are often equipped with limited playback rights. This is especially true for HD channels that are transmitted digitally.

You can watch TV programs that you record with a hard disk recorder at different times. This function is called Time Shift. You decide when you want to watch the programme. If you want to skip the ad during a Time Shift recording, this is only possible if you have not yet caught up with the recording. Otherwise, continue watching the program live.

A modern hard disk recorder is equipped with a EPG, an electronic program guide. This feature allows you to easily record by selecting the desired program directly in the TV program. All programmed programmes are displayed in a list. You also get information about how much space you still have on your hard drive.

Modern devices allow you to program programmes remotely via the Internet. The device must be connected to your home network for this to work. You start programming via an app on your smartphone or Tablet PC. The data is sent directly to your hard disk recorder via the Internet. If you have such a device, you can also watch the TV programmes on your Tablet PC or on your Smartphone. It is also possible to watch live TV when you are on the move. The prerequisite, however, is that you have a connection to the Internet. You can use the mobile Internet as well as a WLAN hotspot.

The history of hard disk recorders

At the beginning of the noughties, the hard disk recorder became the successor of the DVD recorders. If you look at the story, however, you have to look back at the video recorders. The first devices were already available in the 1970s. For the first time, a video recorder made it possible to record television programmes and watch them as often as desired. Video cassettes were used for the recording. The recording was analog.

videorecorderIn the beginning there were different systems competing with each other. In addition to the VHS system, which finally became established, there were Betamax and Video 2000. However, the development of both systems was discontinued after some time. The recordings were recorded on the videotape in analog format. The quality was accordingly moderate. In addition, it deteriorated over the years as the cassettes were exposed to environmental influences, even when stored dry and dark.

The end of the VHS cassette began with the DVD recorder. At the turn of the millennium, the first affordable devices came onto the market. At the same time there were already hard disk recorders, but they were software-based and connected to a PC. The PC was equipped with a TV card. This allowed the reception of television broadcasts. With an appropriate software the television broadcasts could be recorded on the computer.

Smaller housings and modern TV cards with HDMI connection allowed the connection to the home cinema system as a living room PC. A modern flat screen television served as a screen. It was connected to the living room PC with an HDMI cable. The graphics cards offered such high performance that recording of films and television programmes in high-resolution quality became possible. The broadcasts could be processed and archived after recording. The advantage of using a PC to record television programmes was that the hard disk capacity was virtually inexhaustible. A full plate could be replaced by another model. Alternatively, an additional hard disk was simply integrated into the housing.

Hard disk recorders have prevailed over the living room PC in the favor of the buyers, because they have various advantages. In their construction they are small and compact. Many models have the standard width of 43 cm, which is common for the home theater system. So they can be combined with a AV receiver, a Blu-Ray player or a CD player. It's also easier to use than shooting a movie on a living room PC. The control and graphical user elements are optimized for display on a television set. The purchase of a hard disk recorder is preferable to a living room PC, especially for beginners and all those who want a homogeneous home cinema system.

The hard disk recorder has meanwhile replaced the DVD recorder. Also the successor of the DVD recorder, a Blu-Ray recorder, is offered only by few manufacturers. Panasonic is the only manufacturer to promote the further development of Blu-Ray recorders. The devices consist of a combination of hard disk and Blu-Ray recorders. They can be used very versatilely.

Hard disk recorders are also offered in combination with a receiver for receiving cable or satellite television. You can use these models to record programmes, but you cannot archive them permanently. If the hard disk is full, you must delete programmes you have already watched. Some hard disk receivers of this category offer the possibility to connect another hard disk and expand the recording capacity in this way.

box type=”info”]You can connect several hard disks to the recorder to create a high recording capacity. However, make sure that not every hard disk is compatible with every recorder. A list of manufacturers that are compatible with the respective hard disk recorder can be found in the device documentation or on the Internet.[/box]

structure and functionality of the hard disk recorder

Although there are many different models of hard disk recorders, the basic structure is relatively identical. You may not be interested in the list of technical data, but it is important that you know the basic elements of the hard disk recorder. You will become acquainted with the function more quickly. It also makes it easier for you to detect errors and possibly fix them yourself if you know how a hard disk recorder works.

A modern hard disk recorder test winner consists of several elements that you should know:

  • Hard disk
  • optional optical drive
  • Processor and RAM
  • Tuner
  • Housing
  • Connection options
  • operating menu
  • Remote control

Hard disk as the heart of the recording device

harddisk-1As the name implies, the harddisk recorder is equipped with a built-in disk. This is a mechanical hard disk. The storage capacity of modern devices is between 320 GB and 1 TB. However, this capacity is not fully available to you, as part of it is occupied by the software that the hard disk recorder needs to operate.

The hard disk is considered the heart of the recorder. Not only can you record TV shows, but you can also record music or photos. The remote control can be used to call it up.

Since it is a mechanical hard disk, the component is very sensitive. When installing the hard disk recorder, you should therefore make sure that the device is not exposed to any shock. This also applies to transport. If the hard disk is defective, the device can no longer operate. In principle, an exchange is possible with most recorders. However, it must be carried out by a specialist dealer, as the software must be updated after the hard disk has been replaced.

Usually standard hard disks are used. Models with the 2.5 inch format are used that are compact and do not require their own power supply. If an exchange is necessary, you can buy a standard hard disk. With some hard disk recorders it is possible to increase the recording capacity by replacing the hard disk. For this purpose you simply buy a larger hard disk. It is important that your hard disk recorder recognizes the larger storage medium. Further information can be obtained from your specialist dealer or from the documentation of your device.

Optical drive for archiving the film material

Many hard disk recorders were equipped in external tests with a integrated optical drive. This is a DVD burner if the unit is a bit older. Modern hard disk recorders from Panasonic are equipped with a Blu-Ray drive. Both the DVD drive and the Blu-Ray player are backward compatible to different media. This means that you can also play CDs. With a Blu-Ray drive it is possible to watch and burn DVDs. It is also possible to burn a Blu-Ray.

The optical drives can be used very versatile. You can play CD's, DVD's or Blu-Rax movies in high quality. The recording function is very interesting: If you have recorded media on the hard disk, you can transfer them to a Blu-Ray or DVD. You have now archived the media permanently. You can delete the movie or TV show from your hard drive.

Note that some broadcasts can only be viewed with a time limit. You cannot copy these files to an optical disk. As a rule, these are films and television programmes in high-definition quality which are broadcast by private television stations.

Processor and main memory promise high performance

core2-prozessorA hard disk recorder is a small computer specialized in the recording and playback of movies and television programs. Like every computer, the hard disk recorder also has a processor and working memory.

The hard disk recorders are equipped with a fast processor. This is very powerful, especially for devices that allow the recording of high-resolution film material. The high-resolution films can not only be recorded, but also cut. For example, you have the option of removing advertising from films and television programmes. Since the recorded files are very large, a very good computing power is necessary.

The processor and memory are optimized for the tasks. If you use the hard disk recorder, you will notice how smoothly the editing of films and television programmes runs. All components work perfectly together. You won't notice any jerking or hacking while editing the shots or watching the films. You benefit from the fast performance and the smooth operation of the hard disk recorder.

Integrated tuner for the reception of television programmes

The basic equipment of a hard disk recorder included the integrated tuner in all tests. This is necessary to be able to record the television programmes. You can choose from different models and tailor the reception to your personal needs.

If you have a satellite system installed to receive TV programs, choose a hard disk recorder that has a SAT tuner integrated. Installation is very simple: simply plug the cable that comes from your satellite dish into the connector provided. Then start the station search and put all stations in the correct order if desired.

Alternatively there are hard disk recorders, which are equipped with a cable tuner. If you receive your television programmes via Cable connection, this device is the right choice. The connection is established as described for the satellite connection: Simply connect the cable to the corresponding socket.

Many modern test winners have two or three tuners integrated. This has several advantages for you: you can record one program and watch another. Some Blu-Ray recorders from Panasonic are equipped with three tuners. You can record three different programs at the same time. The programs can be viewed with a time delay. With a hard disk size of 1TB you can use this feature very extensively. Each film is stored in its own file during the simultaneous recording and can later be edited individually or saved on an optical data carrier.

You can also get hard disk recorders for receiving TV programs with the terrestrial antenna. However, these models are offered significantly less frequently. They are often not equipped with an optical drive.

Flat and modern housing in attractive design

The hard disk recorder should also fit seamlessly into the home cinema system with regard to its optics . For this reason, the manufacturers pay attention to a slim appearance and dimensions that are usual for devices that are combined in a home cinema. Hard disk recorders are usually smaller than ten centimeters in height.

The devices are equipped with feet. This allows you to place several components on top of each other. In their width, many hard disk recorders have the standard size for home cinema devices. This is 43 centimeters. The uniform size allows you to combine devices from different manufacturers.

01-Panasonic-DMR-BCT950EG-Blu-ray-Recorder-2TB-Hard Disk

Connection options for connection to the home cinema system

Hard disk recorders are equipped with various connectors that can be attached to the front or rear of the unit. Modern test winners with which you can record high-resolution films and television programmes have one or more HDMI connections. In addition, the devices have USB ports for connection to hard disks or USB sticks. If you want to establish an audio connection, you can use the optical audio output. Older devices have analog connections such as composite or SCART. Thanks to these connections, coupling is possible with devices that are not yet equipped with modern digital connection options.

The following is a sample description of all connections of the Panasonic BMR-DST740:

SD memory card:

The SD Memory Card slot allows you to directly view photos and videos recorded with your Photo camera or Camcorder. Alternatively, you can copy music or movies to the memory card to watch them on the Blu-Ray Recorder. It is also possible to copy the media stored on the SD card.

USB port:

usbThe Blu-Ray Recorder is equipped with two USB ports. One of the connectors is on the front, the other on the back. Use front panel connectors to connect USB hard drives or sticks quickly and conveniently. On the back side you have the possibility to connect a hard disk permanently. This is useful if you want to use the hard disk for recording or if you have uploaded films or television programs to the hard disk for permanent retrieval.

HDMI output:

The HDMI output creates a connection to your flat screen TV. Picture and sound are transmitted in high resolution quality.

AUX Analogue Audio Output

AUX allows you to establish an analog connection to external music devices or to your AV receiver.


The SCART interface transmits the image in analog quality. If you have older devices that are not yet equipped with an HDMI interface, you can use the SCART output for the connection.


Many Blu-Ray recorders and some DVD recorders are equipped with a network interface. You connect to the Internet using an Ethernet cable. This allows you to use the web browser to surf the web or retrieve web content located on a Blu-Ray. The example model from Panasonic also has a WLAN interface. This allows you a wireless access to the respective content

Optical audio output:

The optical audio output allows you to establish a digital connection. You can transmit the sound in a very high quality.

CI slot:

The CI slot allows you to insert a module with a matching SmartCart. With this combination you can unlock Payment Television. You can only record and archive television programmes that are broadcast on pay-TV to a limited extent. Time-shift television is also only possible to a limited extent in pay-TV.

Menu navigation through graphically appealing concept

remote controlThe manufacturers of the hard disk recorders attach great importance to a simple menu . Even if you are using the device for the first time, you do not need to study a user manual for long. You will be guided through the menu by appealing graphics and simple explanations. Many menu items are self-explanatory for all test winners 2019. The submenus are divided into submenus, which are very logically structured.

You can record, watch, edit or copy TV shows or movies with just a few key combinations. If you no longer need a file, delete it with a simple keystroke.

Remote control for controlling all functions

A remote control is included with every hard disk recorder . For all functions, you will find a key that allows simple control. Many models have a control wheel in the middle with an Ok button for confirming commands. With this steering wheel you can navigate very easily through the menu. The functions of the control wheel are shown on the screen, so that the operation of the hard disk recorder is particularly easy even for beginners.

In addition to the Control wheel, each remote control has a combined numeric keypad. You can use this to switch between the individual television channels or enter texts. This may be necessary if you use an integrated web browser to surf the Internet. The remote control is powered by two or four batteries, depending on its design. When you buy a new hard disk recorder, the batteries are included.

Alternatives to Hard Disk Recorder

The main function of the hard disk recorder is to record films and television programmes. If you do not want to invest in such a device, there are various alternatives, some of which are significantly cheaper. For this you have to accept restrictions in the functions.

Many home cinema fans invest in a hard disk recorder because they want to put together their own television programme. Depending on the genre you like to watch, you can subscribe to a streaming service as an alternative to buying a hard disk recorder. They pay an average monthly amount of nine euros. You can watch unlimited thousands of movies and TV shows .

movieYou can find a free alternative to the streaming services in the mediatheques of the channels. If you have missed a shipment, you can view it for up to a week free of charge. Some programmes are permanently available. In the case of private broadcasters, the permanent viewing of television programmes is sometimes subject to a charge. You can decide whether you want to see individual programmes or whether you want to subscribe. When signing up for a subscription, make sure that it can be cancelled monthly.

If you do not want to use streaming, you can choose an alternative. Modern flat-screen TVs are equipped with a PVR function. PVR is the abbreviation for Personal Video Recorder. All you have to do is connect a hard drive to the free USB port. Format the hard disk so that it can store movies and TV shows. After formatting, the hard disk can only be used with the TV. Even if you buy an identical flat-screen TV, you will not be able to use the hard drive on this unit. When choosing this alternative, you should know that you cannot archive films and television programmes permanently . They're paired to the TV they were recorded on.

A powerful Desktop-PC can be expanded with a TV card , then you can record TV shows with your computer. You control the recording function using software supplied with the TV card. Alternatively, you have the option of using other software.

The PC offers you all the possibilities that you also have with a hard disk recorder. The advantage is that you do not have to invest in an external device. You can save the recordings to the hard disk or swap them to a DVD or Blu-Ray .

If you do not want to invest in a hard disk recorder, choose a hard disk with recording function. The hard disks are offered by different manufacturers. You connect the hard disk with the flat screen TV and control the recording function with the included remote control.

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