Hard disk recorder: test& recommendations (02/22)

You love movies and series and would like to record them from the TV program? Then maybe a hard disk recorder is something for you. Because with this useful device you can easily record, store and manage your favorite shows. Many people no longer want to do without their hard disk recorder. But what are the different types? Which hard disk recorder is right for you?

In our hard disk recorder test 2022 we present you the best and most current devices from different categories in more detail. We also give you important background information and useful tips. Whether you’re interested in a video/DVD recorder, Blu-ray recorder, Internet-based VDR, or PC hard disk recorder, you’ll find the best hard disk recorders on the market at our site.

The most important in a nutshell

  • With a hard disk recorder you can record all your favorite series and movies. Most models can also be pre-programmed to simplify automatic recording.
  • Video, DVD and Blu-Ray recorders, Internet-based VDRs, PC hard disk recorders and combination devices are available for you to choose from when buying a hard disk recorder.
  • To find the right device for you, you should consider the dimensions, design, storage capacity, connectivity and integrated features when making your decision.

Hard disk recorder test: Favorites of the editors

The best hard disk recorder with 500 GB

369.00 EUR

641.00 EUR

387.00 EUR

Latest price updates: Amazon.en (01.02.22, 09:25), Other stores (01.02.22, 13:04)

The Panasonic DMR-BCT760EG Blu-ray Recorder allows you to simultaneously receive and record the signal of 2 HD TV channels. Time-shifted television is also easily possible with the Bluray Recorder. The respective favorite show can be easily saved to Bluray Disc. The Blu-ray recorder also plays DVDs effortlessly.

In addition, the recorder also has an integrated WLAN and smart additional features such as HbbTV, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video and many more. EPG makes it easy to program a program for recording. Many other comfort functions make this Panasonic DMR-BCT760EG Blu-ray Recorder an outstanding technology highlight with up to 500 GB of storage capacity on the hard drive.

The best hard disk recorder with DVB-C

The Panasonic DMR-EX97CEGK is a hard disk recorder from the renowned manufacturer Panasonic. The Panasonic DMR-EX97CEGK hard disk recorder is a hard disk recorder with a 500 GB hard disk. As a hard disk recorder, this device is particularly suitable for users who want to receive HDTV.

For a longer-term archiving you can burn your favorite shows of course at any time on DVD blanks. So you don’t have to archive all your recordings on the limited space of your integrated hard drive.

The best hard disk recorder with 4K Ultra HD

199.90 EUR

239,00 EUR

239,00 EUR

Latest price updates: Amazon.en (01.02.22, 11:26 h), Other stores (01.02.22, 13:04)

The Sony UBP-X500 is a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc(TM) player. It is just the right thing for fans of home cinema/audio-visual entertainment and providers of customized solutions. It offers the complete solution for the playback of the highest picture and sound quality.

Customers are consistently enthusiastic about the quality and workmanship of the Blu-ray player.

The best hard disk recorder 4K upscaling function

The AX HD61 hard disk recorder of the brand AX Technology convinces buyers with its picture and sound quality. The 4K upscaling function displays images in an optimized picture quality, even if the TV is not actually 4K capable. The recorder can be equipped with an internal hard disk of up to 4 terabytes, providing sufficient storage space for recordings.

Since it is a Linux receiver, various programs and Softwares can be installed on the receiver. This allows you to add multiple functions to the HDD recorder and use it in a very versatile way.

Also interesting

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a hard disk recorder

What is a hard disk?

How does a hard disk recorder work??

Sometimes what is to be recorded is not sent digitally, but still transmitted in analog form. For these cases there is a kind of "signal converter" within your recorder, so that the converted information can be stored then problem-free on your non removable disk in the recorder.

How is a hard disk recorder constructed?

What are the advantages of a digital hard disk recorder??


You can start playback at any point in time. The rest of the recording is not disturbed or influenced by it.

So if you missed the moment when the movie or the soccer match started, you don’t have to wait until the complete recording process is finished. Timeshift also allows you to skip commercials.

The Electronic Programme Guide is the free version of the typical TV guide you may know from the kiosk. Based on this, you can select the desired movie for recording without complicated programming.

You can get the right information like title and duration for the current and following TV and radio programs.

Printed program guides usually contain more additional information about the TV or radio program, but in many cases the information in the EPG is sufficient as an orientation aid. After all, the offer comes from the broadcasters themselves, who are interested in being found and seen by you.

No magnetic tape

Nowadays you don’t have to worry about how many times you have watched or listened to a stored content. The quality will always remain the same.

In the past there was a problem: the more you played the recorded content, the worse the quality became due to wear and tear.

The played music has at some point begun to leech and cat whine or horror voices made competition. Or the tape could not be unwound correctly and is broken. But fortunately this is history.

Hard disk receiver vs. Hard disk recorders – what is the difference?

Depending on the manufacturer and its operating system, the content is sometimes not recorded in one piece, but broken down into several files. We recommend that you choose a receiver that supports unrestricted file systems.

What are the differences between hard drives?

Type of hard disk Description
Integrated hard disk The already installed hard disk offers a complete package and you don’t have to buy anything additionally. A disadvantage is, however, that the hard disk can usually not be exchanged.
Removable hard disk Due to the possibility of exchanging the hard disks, the storage capacity can be increased at will
External hard disk External hard drives can be easily transported and replaced. Here, too, you can increase the storage capacity as much as you like

What is important in terms of storage capacity??

Hard disk recorders can theoretically record amounts of material in the triple-digit hour range. This depends mainly on the size of the hard disk, but not exclusively.

But the possible amount of memory is also influenced by the amount of compression. However, a high compression rate means that the higher the compression rate, the lower the quality of the picture or sound.

The consumption of storage space is additionally dependent on the resolution of the sent material. Movies in HD quality can quickly take up 10GB per hour instead of 3GB per hour.

On average, 250 GB is enough for just under 30 hours and 1000 GB for about 140 hours.

What are the differences between the types of reception?

Many devices have an analog tuner, with which also normal cable television is received. Other devices receive but also DVB-T or even satellite. It is important that you know beforehand which type of reception you are using.

What alternatives are there to the hard disk recorder?

  • TVs with USB recording / Smart TVs
  • Online recorder
  • Subscribe to a streaming service

What are TVs with USB recording and what are the advantages??

In recent years, the number of TV sets that have the USB recording function has been steadily increasing. An external hard disk is connected to the TV via USB. The contents of the DVB tuner can then be recorded via the connected hard drive. Most TVs today already have all the usual reception parts, so there is no need for an extra recorder.

What are online recorders and what are the advantages??

The web-based online service provides you as a registered user with the usual functionalities of a video recorder. With this type of TV recording, a subscription is taken out. The selection of your program takes place over an editorially cared for EPG or by search.

Prerequisite for recording is still available storage space in the private recording area. There are different tariffs from which you can choose. All recordings are automatically deleted after a certain time, regardless of tariff. The best known online recorder providers are save.tv, shift.tv and bong.tv.

What is the advantage of streaming services??

The big advantage of hard disk recorders is that you can compile your personal TV program with your favorite genres. With a streaming service you pay a monthly fee and can watch thousands of movies, series and documentaries without limit. Known streaming services are for example Netflix, Maxdome and Amazon Prime.

A free alternative to streaming services are media libraries of various broadcasters (ARD/arte/ZDFMediathek, rtlnow, etc).). If you have missed a program, you can watch it up to a week later for free. There are even programs that are permanently available.

What accessories do you need for your personal recorder??

Connection cable

Connection cable (HDMI, Scart, USB cable): The appropriate connection cable is indispensable to establish a connection between the recorder and your TV. Mostly there is at least one cable included in the purchase, if you want to connect it differently or if you want a better quality, you have to compare and buy it yourself.

Remote control

With a remote control you can control both the recording and later the playback from the comfort of your sofa. You find for all functions a button, so that a simple and intuitive control is possible.

Also a remote control is usually already included with the purchase. However, it is advisable to set up a universal remote control so that you do not have to switch between the TV and recorder remote control unnecessarily. Depending on the type you need two or four batteries. If you buy a new harddisk recorder, the batteries (usually AA) are enclosed.

Storage media

You want to burn your programs from the hard disk to DVD or Blu-Ray and have a hard disk recorder with burn function? Then you need appropriate blanks. If you prefer to store your movies on an external hard drive, you can purchase both storage media in electronics stores or on the Internet.

What does a digital recorder cost??

Kind of price range
Without harddisk, additional harddisk is needed up to 100 €
Devices with built-in hard drive or full HD recording function 100 – 200 €
Integrated hard drive and HD function from 200 €

Where can I buy a HDD-Recorder?

  • Saturn
  • Media Market
  • Conrad
  • amazon.en
  • ebay.en
  • Source
  • real.en

Some cable providers also have tariff packages where a recoder is included or available at little extra cost. You have thereby however usually not the choice between several manufacturers or also not several memory sizes.

Does the choice of recorder depend on the television provider?

  • With digital antenna reception: dvb-T2
  • With SAT reception: dvb-S2
  • For cable reception: dvb-C

In order not to be so limited by a single TV provider, a hard disk recorder that allows multiple receptions is of course ideal.

What to look for when buying a hard disk recorder?

Is the hard disk sufficiently large? How easy is the handling? Are there the appropriate connectors?

Decision: What types of hard disk recorders are there and which one is right for you?

Video Disc Recorders (VDR) allow you to easily record your favorite shows or movies to a digital hard drive. But where are the differences between the various recording and playback devices?

One distinguishes basically between five different types of recorders:

  • Video, DVD recorders
  • Blu-ray recorder
  • Internet-based VDR
  • PC hard disk recorder

What is a video or DVD recorder and what are its advantages and disadvantages??

DVD recorders are the successors of video recorders. With high-resolution picture and up to 1000GB of storage on an integrated hard drive, the DVD recorder is far superior to the video recorder.
In addition to all possible DVD formats (DVD-RAM, -RW, -R, etc.), the Blu-Ray recorder can also be used to record DVDs.) modern recorders can also record other formats such as JPEG, MP3, etc. can be played back.

The most popular format is DVD-RW. A DVD recorder is usually only suitable for recording and not for burning, as there is no drive here. However, there are also devices that have an additional burner, with which you can burn the recorded on DVD (or CD).

  • Very good picture quality
  • High storage capacity
  • Devices already cheap to acquire
  • No burning function
  • Less upgradeable

Video recorders receive analog signals and record to magnetic. Time-shifted television is not possible here and the transfer of film material always takes as long as the recorded program lasts. In contrast, the DVD recorder records digitally by means of laser on DVD. Time-shifted television is possible depending on the model.

If one owns a DVD recorder with hard disk, both time-shifted television and the transfer from hard disk to DVD are possible in fractions of the playback time. In summary, the DVD recorder is a more modern and time-saving successor to the VHS recorder.

What is a Blu-Ray recorder and what are its advantages and disadvantages??

The Blu-ray Disc is a digital optical storage medium and is known as the high-definition successor to DVD. Blu-Rays store movies with much higher picture and sound resolution. As a rule, Blu-Ray players are backward compatible with DVDs. This means that DVDs can also be played with a Blu-Ray player.

Successor of Blu-Rays will be Ultra HD Blu-Rays in the future.In 2009 the first Blu-Ray recorder for the European market was presented at the IFA in Berlin. Panasonic presented a device with two DVB-S2 tuners. DVB-S2 is a further development of the DVB-S standard, which allows the reception of modern HD recordings in high quality.

A Blu-Ray recorder is particularly suitable for recording first-class picture quality and is characterized by a large storage volume.

  • Plenty of storage space
  • Best picture quality
  • Record and watch TV at the same time
  • No additional playback device necessary
  • There is also with burning function
  • Higher price
  • Recordings require more storage space
  • Worse upgradeable

Blu-Ray recorders use – in contrast to DVD recorders – the HDTV technology fully and can also record HD channels uncompressed. This applies to both audio and video signals. When buying should ensure that the resolution 1.920 x 1.080 (alternatively 1080p) is supported. Pay attention with the connections to a HDMI connection for the transmission of High-Definition signals.

The possibility to connect an optical cable is also an advantage. This way you can send a high quality signal to a stereo system and nothing will stand in the way of your premium movie night.

Do you also intend to use the 3D technology? Not all Blu-Ray recorders offer the special of 3D technology. If an ordinary Blu-Ray recorder does not support 3D, it will not display special 3D movies correctly. You will need a 3D TV, a 3D capable Blu-Ray recorder and 3D glasses. The 3D-capable recorders are usually also found in a higher price range.

To enjoy an excellent picture and sound quality, which can not be surpassed, Blu-Rays are the most recommended. In addition, any existing DVDs can also be played with the player without any problems.

What is an internet-based VDR and what are its advantages and disadvantages??

With the Internet-based video recorder – also called "Network Digital Recorder" – the devices are connected to a data center via the Internet and programmed by the user. Recorded movies can be either streamed or downloaded. Of course, this requires a good and stable Internet connection.

The big advantage over other recorders is that unlimited programs can be recorded simultaneously. No additional twin or triple tuner is required here.

  • Unlimited number of programs can be recorded simultaneously
  • Recorded programs can be transferred via streaming or downloading
  • Mostly only in combination with a subscription
  • More complex to use
  • Internet connection required

You don’t need additional hardware, you can already record and playback with your existing devices. Another huge plus is that you as a user are both temporally and spatially independent of the TV program.

However, you have to keep in mind that you can often only use this service in combination with a subscription (usually 5-10 euros per month). A programmed VDR is more complex to use and requires an internet connection as mentioned above.

What is a PC recorder and what are its advantages and disadvantages??

The PC recorder offers an alternative to the other recording devices, which are generally more difficult to update. Here a PC is used as a recorder. With the PC recorder, as the name suggests, the computer is used as the recorder.

A distinction is also made here between hardware and software. Both analog and digital input signals can be recorded. Here there are for the different operating systems (Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.).)

  • Easy to upgrade
  • Dependence on computer: not all channels can be transmitted

Again, you don’t need any additional hardware like a hard disk recorder and yet another remote control, but can work with your computer. The PC recorder is very easy to upgrade and bring up to date by regular updates.

A large minus point is here however that you are dependent like also with the Internet-based VDR on the computer and that not all transmitters are transferable. So if you really want to record the full range of channels that your TV is capable of and you have enough space for a hard disk recorder in your living room wall, you should rather think about investing in a "conventional" device.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate hard disk recorders based on these factors

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate hard disk recorders. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Storage capacity
  • Design and dimensions
  • Connection options
  • Integrated features

Storage capacity

The larger the capacity of the hard disk, the more content you can store and the higher the resolution of the content can be.

Hard disk recorders are like small computers and the higher your demands are, the more powerful the inner workings must be constructed. In order to be able to record, work and save quickly, you need an appropriately high-quality processor and memory.

The offer for you on the internet starts at a tender 320 GB, whereby we would like to point out that this really isn’t very much. Of course, not everyone can or wants to spend 800 euros or more for a large memory, but if you can not exchange the hard drive, you come even with 500 GB today quickly to your limits.

Pay attention at least to possibilities to be able to store contents also externally or select a recorder with exchangeable non removable disk. Currently, most devices are offered with a storage volume of 500 GB to 1 TB. 2 TB are of course also possible, but then also have their price.

Design and dimensions

The majority of hard disk recorders appear in a simple design and resemble conventional receivers. Mostly in a cuboid shape in black, white or gray in high gloss or matte to acquire. Most buyers choose a recorder that optically matches the TV and the rest of the equipment (consoles, receivers, etc).) fits.

The size is of course important if you only have a certain amount of space allocated on your TV shelf. The often chosen smooth black, almost glossy design has its visual charms, of course, but shows every fingerprint and bit of dust very clearly. This can be a problem if you place the recorder free-standing.

Connection options

The USB port is useful if you want to connect mobile hard drives to your recorder. This also gives you the option of transferring content from the mobile hard disk via 2.0- or 3.0-USB connection to the TV display.

With an SD slot, you can connect the desired storage medium to your recorder for data transfer, similar to a USB stick.

HDMI is an interface for high quality files. In most cases, you connect your TV to the HDMI port. With older analog devices you need an AUX connection or a SCART interface.

The CI slot allows you to record TV broadcasts in the pay-TV range. However, this is usually only possible to a limited extent. The CI slot is intended for the insertion of the Smartcard.

Which connections offers a digital video recorder?

There are many different connections that a hard disk recorder offers. As with VHS recorders, you only need the right cable to connect your recorder to your TV.
Here you can find the most common connections:

Furthermore, you should not ignore the necessary audio outputs: For example, if you want to make an audio connection, you will need an optical audio output.

Type of connection Details
AUX- Analog audio output With AUX you make an analog connection to external devices (MP3 player, tablet or smartphone or your AV receiver)
Optical audio output You can establish a digital connection with the optical audio output. The sound transmission is in very high quality

Integrated features

You can usually choose between the following additional features:

  • DVD/Blu-Ray burning and/or playback
  • Cut function
  • Upscaling
  • Multiple tuner
  • Time shift
  • Integrated receiver

If your hard disk recorder also has an optical drive, you can use it to play DVDs and Blu-Rays. Or you can use it to transfer the movies stored on it to the hard drive for archiving. If a burner is integrated, you can create space with a fixed hard drive again by burning the recorded movies and broadcasts, for example, on a DVD.

Using the editing function you can be creative almost like an editor. In any case, you can edit the content as you like and cut out annoying commercials with it.

HD today is already far from the end of the possibilities. In most cases, UHD is already available for many of the courses. If not, you can upscale the resolution of poorer material via upscaling. Although this does not come one hundred percent close to 4K standard, the calculation methods are getting better and better here as well. 1080i picture technology will soon be history anyway, so keep your eyes open and look around for devices titled 1080p.

Very popular with customers are twin tuners and triple tuners. Through multiple reception options, you can namely watch another program in parallel while recording one or more programs. A triple tuner allows you to receive in three different ways.

The time-shift function is actually provided in every hard disk recorder and enables you to watch so-called time-shifted television. So you don’t have to worry about missing anything anymore. And as a further advantage on top of that, you have the possibility to skip annoying commercials.

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