It’s a good time to be shopping for a DVD recorder: prices are plummeting faster than Derby County down the Premier League, and the boxes themselves have even evolved into something that your designer TV won’t be ashamed to sit next to.

A prime example of this is Samsung’s DVD-R145. Before we delve into its finer features, we do have one caveat about this recorder – it doesn’t have a Freeview tuner. There is an analogue tuner, but if this is a deal-breaker we suggest having a good sniff round Panasonic’s DMR-EZ27 or Sony RDR-HXD860.

Format frenzy

Apart from this elephant-sized oversight, the R145 is fantastic value for money. It offers full disc compatibility, with the ability to play and record DVD-R(W), DVD+R(W) and DVD-RAM, as well as an HMDI output and video upscaling to 720p or 1080i. Your HD-Ready TV will be more than pleased to be tethered to it.

It’s a well-made little box too, with an attractive and sensible button layout and a perfectly adequate matching remote.

Picture this

Better still, the off-air picture from Samsung’s analogue tuner is excellent: it delivers and records stable, clear and noise-free images with fine detail and realism. The colours are a tad overcooked compared to the best in class, but overall the recording performance is stellar.

It’s just a shame about that missing digital tuner. Mind you, if you can live without it, the R145 is excellent value considering its upscaling powers and rather seductive styling.

Stuff says... 

Samsung DVD-R145 review

A frustrating character. The R145 offers fine usability and great performance for the price, but strangely omits a digital tuner