Sony RDR-VX515 – VCR/DVD Recorder – it Does it All

The Sony RDR-VX515 Video Cassette Recorder / DVD Recorder is one of the newest and most cutting edge DVD recorders on the market. It is designed with a side-by-side VCR tape slot and DVD slot to make it incredibly simple to transfer tapes to disc. Its remote control is your best friend, as everything you need to know to use it will be explained on screen as you work in conjunction with the instruction book. Best of all, all you need to do is push ONE button to begin the VHS to DVD transfer. The unit is pricey (over $400) but you are getting what you pay for.

The age of the VCR and VHS tape is long gone my friends. It has gone down the road to extinction that the dinosaurs, the XFL, and soccer in America have previously traveled. It is becoming more and more difficult to locate any newer movies on VHS and soon, there will be none. DVD has been in command for many years now, and finally DVD recorders’ prices have come down out of the stratosphere to make them affordable to the working class people. If you want to purchase a DVD recorder, so you can transfer all of your old VHS tapes (ones that aren’t copyrighted, I have to say), and you want a machine that is user friendly, and one that does a superb job, than look no further than the Sony RDR-VX515.

A few months ago we decided that we were going to purchase a DVD recorder. Naturally, the first step was to consider how much we wanted to spend. Around $400 is a price that you can expect to spend in order to get a unit that won’t break in a month. You can spend much more but why would you need a DVD recorder than can also play MP3’s, download sports and weather updates, and tie your shoes? You can do that in other ways. So once we realized that $400 was a good price, we needed to compare options.

We checked several online site from,, even Consumer Reports magazine. We asked people whom we knew that have a DVD recorder, and finally we spoke with trained sales people at a few local electronic stores. Stores that are electronics only and feature non-commission sales personal are your best bet. That’s why we went to Best Buy. They had numerous models on display for us to choose from (DVD Recorder models like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Pioneer, not fashion models like Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford unfortunately).

The selection of units is over-whelming to the untrained eye and casual observer. There were rows and rows of DVD recorders. Luckily we already had a list of features that we were looking for (ability to easily record from VHS to DVD, ease of purchasing recordable discs – there are so many different formats available, price, and quality just to name a few). We also came prepared with our findings from vast research online, through word of mouth, and in magazines. You do not want to just purchase a recorder just because of price, name, or appearance. Do your homework first.

Once we knew what we wanted, we narrowed the options down to two models; the Sony and a Panasonic. Both were relatively similar in every option, cost, and feature. We just picked the Sony because our old VCR is a Sony and so are our televisions. You might think that either I, or my girlfriend work for Sony, but we don’t and never have. We just love their quality.

So we bought the Sony RDR-VX515. After taking it home we immediately had to try it out. It is very simple to hook up to your TV. We did that and got out an old VHS tape and a new blank disc. We just followed the incredibly simple instructions and just like that we had done it.

As stated earlier, their are so many different formats of discs. These are comparable to the two major formats that were around for VCR’s – VHS and Beta. Eventually Beta faded out and only VHS survived. With DVD recorders, you have DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, and others I can’t even think of. The major difference is between the +RW and the -RW models. RW stands for ‘rewritable’. This means that you can tape a show from tv or a movie, watch it, record over it again and again; just like you can on VCR’s. If your unit is +RW compatible, you can buy +RW blank discs and record over and over on the same disc. This is a standard feature on most DVD recorders, as are most other formats mentioned. It is only in purchasing the discs that you need to be careful. If your machine is NOT compatible with -R blank discs and you try to use one, it could damage the system. One more thing, the RW discs are much more expensive than the +R or -R discs. Eventually, I and all consumers, hope that the formats will all combine into one so it will be easier to purchase blank discs, just like VHS overtook Beta. But until then, just be careful when buying and using discs.

The RDR-VX515 has provided us with the opportunity to make back-up copies of old VHS tapes that are irreplaceable and to do so on a better format and with higher quality. We use it all the time and have never had a problem with the machine. That is why you need to spend a little more to get a Sony (or comparable model) when you are shopping for a DVD recorder. Don’t go to the discount stores and get one on sale for $99. It will be a piece of junk. I am good friends with an electronics employee for a certain unnamed ‘one stop shop’ type store and he told me that the bargain priced electronics they sell are usually returned within a month because they broke. If the price seems amazingly low, don’t buy it. Trust me on this, you will be eternally happy if you get the Sony RDR-VX515.

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