What is a DVD Recorder and DVD Burner?

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Judit Llordés
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I DVD recorders and DVD burners they create both DVDs by “burning” with a laser onto a blank DVD disc. The laser creates "streaks" on a recordable DVD using heat (this is where the word "mastering" comes into play) which stores the video and audio information needed to create a playable DVD.

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Differences between DVD recorder and DVD burner

However, what makes a DVD recorder is that it refers to a specific type of standalone unit that remembers and functions much like a VCR. A DVD burner, on the other hand, refers to a drive that is an external add-on or internal DVD drive for a PC or MAC. 

These devices are also often referred to as DVD burners. DVD burners not only record video but can also read and write computer data and store it on a blank DVD disc.

Put your DVD recorders they can record from any analog video source and most can also record video from digital camcorders via Firewire. Like a VCR, all DVD recorders have AV inputs and most have a built-in TV tuner for recording TV programs. 

DVD recorders are available in different configurations such as standalone, DVD recorder / VCR combo or DVD recorder / hard drive combo unit.

Another feature of most DVD burners is that they can also record video and audio to CD-R / CD-RW, while standalone DVD recorders do not have the ability to read or write data to a computer, nor to record to CD- R / CD-RW.

Furthermore, to record video and audio on a PC-DVD burner, the user must insert the video to the computer hard drive using the Firewire, USB or S-Video port through a video card, which works in real time. However, you can then copy the resulting files from your hard drive to a blank DVD disc quickly.

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Registration from different sources

However, although a standalone DVD recorder can record from compatible video sources (such as its tuner or external device), it must be in real time, direct to a blank DVD.

It is also important to point out that when making copies from VHS su DVD from an external source within a DVD recorder / VHS combo recorder, this can only be done in real time. The same applies from DVD to DVD if copying from an externally connected DVD player. 

However, for DVD recorder / hard drive combinations, if a video is recorded on the hard drive part from an external VHS or DVD source, it can be copied to the DVD section in real time or by high speed dubbing.

On the other hand, it is important to point out that when copying from externally sourced VHS or DVD content or from a DVD recorder hard drive to a DVD, the video copy protection restrictions apply.

Standalone DVD recorders cannot be used to connect to a computer for data file recording and can only record video from analog video inputs and, on most DVD recorders, from a digital video camera via an iLink input (Firewire, IEEE1394 ). 

Standalone DVD recorders typically do not come with drivers that are required to interact directly with a PC.

However, it may be possible that some PC video editing software may allow the export of standard DVD video files created on a PC to certain standalone DVD recorders through the firewire interface of a PC and DVD recorder, but, in this rare case, you need to consult your software and DVD recorder operation manual or technical support for specific details. 

If no information is available regarding a specific DVD recorder, it is assumed that the DVD recorder in question cannot perform this type of operation.


Although PC DVD burners are still available as built-in or add-on components, DVD recorders are now very rare. This is due to restrictions on what consumers can record on DVD, as well as a preference for video on demand, internet streaming and download services.

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Further Reading:

  • How to copy those old VHS tapes to DVD
  • How to convert vinyl records to CDs
  • Don't have a recorder on your phone? Find the one that's right for you in this list of apps
  • How to connect a DVD recorder to a TV
  • Top 7 Solutions for When Android 11 Screen Recorder Not Working

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