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Pioneer DVR-233 DVD Recorder Review

Filed in archive Discs by william on June 13, 2005

If you're still recording from your TV to a VCR, I'm here to gently nudge you into the wonderful world of DVD recorders. Just a few short years ago, a stand-alone DVD recorder would have cost you between $400 to $800, much higher than the typical consumer was willing to spend. Just like most technologies though, we've seen the pricesdrop dramatically into the $150 to $400 range.

Today, we're talking about Pioneer's newest entry level DVD Recorder, the DVR-233. The $199 DVR-233 is no slouch when it comes to DVD recorders but was specifically designed with the new user in mind. As you can see from the following images, the DVR-233 is standard size with the basic AV connections on the back and AV input connections on the front.




Let's start with some of the basic features:

FEATURES DVD-R/RW Recorder Yes - Up to 10 Hrs Recording Time* to Disc at Lowest Bit-Rate Setting Media Capability DVD-Video/DVD-R/DVD-RW/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/Video CD Purecinema 2:3 Progressive Scan Yes Video DAC 10-bit/54MHz Audio DAC 24-bit/192kHz 30 Second Skip Yes (Forward) Title and Chapter Erase Yes (VR Mode only) VCR Plus+ system Yes Advanced GUI (Graphical User Interface) Yes One Touch Recording Yes Twin Wave Laser Pickup Yes

OUTPUTS Composite Video Output Yes x1 Component Video Output Yes x1 S-Video Yes x1 Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Output Yes (coaxial) Analog Audio Output Yes x1

INPUTS Composite Yes x2 (1 Front, 1 Rear) S-Video Yes x1 (1 Rear) Analog Audio Yes x2 (1 Front, 1 Rear)

WARRANTY Parts and Labor 1 Year

DIMENSIONS width x height x depth; weight 16 9/16 (w) x 2 11/16 (h) x 13 1/16 (d); 7 lb. 4oz.

Like I said before, this is an entry level DVD recorder. If you're looking for something more robust, be sure to check out the Pioneer DVR-520H with a built-in 80GB hard drive. What's great about the DVR-233 is it's as simple to setup as your VCR. Even if you're intimidated by technology, you should be able to hook this recorder up within no time. In the box, you receive a manual that shows you several different configurations of hooking up through a cable box, home theater sytem, etc. There's also a quick configuration chart in the box if you're going to hook up straight to the TV.

At this point make sure you have you TV set to input (just like you do when you record on your VCR). When you power on the DVR-233, you'll be prompted to setup some settings like time and date. After you're done with that, you insert a blank disk which will be automatically intialized for you. Now you're ready to record, It's as simple as that. You'll want to read the included manual for advanced options and how to change the default options. Overall the "Home Menu" options work fine but at times it can be a little confusing. It didn't take long to learn how to use the menu properly though.



From this point you record just like you do with your VCR. Start your program and hit record, that's all there is to it. On the remote is a "Disk Navigator" button that allows you to see what you've recorded so far and also tells you how much time is left on your disk. Each time you stop the recording you get a mini-screenshot of the show. At that point you can type in the title with the remote. I'd really like to see predictive text entry like on cellphones because typing with a remote is pretty tedious. Pioneer could definitely do some work on the layout of title input page because it's not very intuitive You have to do a lot of scrolling through characters you'll probably never use.


Once you're done recording you can finalize the disk. You don't have to finalize the disk if you are going to play it on the DVR-233 but It will most likely need to be finalized to play on another brand of DVD player. I won't go to it in this review but there are also some limited editing you can do to your shows before you finalize. The manual has the instructions on how to do it.


Overall, the Pioneer DVR 233 is the an excellent recorder and a great choice for someone looking for their first DVD recorder. Although I am pretty much a geek, my wife isn't. The true test of the DVR-233 was when I gave her the remote, some brief instructions, and let her go at it. She was able to transfer about 10 hours of music videos from our cable DVR and our VCR onto multiple disks. With all due respect and great affection for my wife, if she can operate the DVR-233, so can most non-geek types. I would highly recommend the Pioneer DVR-233 for first time DVD recorder users or someone who isn't looking for an enourmous amount of editing options.

  • Simple hardware setup
  • Excellent price point (MSRP $199 at the time of this review)
  • Decent Documentation

  • The "Home Menu" options can be somewhat confusing to use at times
  • Entering title information with the remote could be improved

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