While JVC is late to market with DVD recorders it?s nonetheless entered with a huge splash. Just released in time for this review is the JVC DR-M30 DVD recorder with a massive 160GB hard drive, the largest hard drive-DVD combination currently available.

JVC has made this new recorder quite versatile, with multi-format flexibility for both recording and playback. All you have to do is select the system that best suits your needs. The DR-MH30 permits recording in DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD-R formats, and playback of DVD-Video, WMA, MP3, JPEG and CD formats.

Picture quality

JVC has built-in two new proprietary technologies in this new DVD recorder: Super MPEG Encode Pre- and Post-Processors. These act to improve picture quality both in recording and in playback, helping to produce the highest-possible resolution with minimal MPEG (the DVD recording format) compression noise, even when pictures are recorded in long-time modes at reduced bit rates. As a result, the DRMH30 provides one of the clearest, noise-free pictures of all the recorders tested.

Accessing recorded programs

The new DVD recorder also showcases a number of advanced user-friendly functions. One key feature is easy access to recorded programs. The DR-MH30 can memorise data from up to 2,000 recorded programs, so it can actually tell you which disc to load to view a particular show. After you load a disc or display the list of HDD-recorded programs, ?animated thumbnails? make it easy to access the program you?re looking for.

?Chase Play?, is also available both with DVD-RAM discs and when recording to the hard disk drive.

Storage capacity

As mentioned, the DR-MH30?s built-in 160GB HDD boasts enormous storage capacity for video. It can record a maximum 272 hours or more than 11 days of continuous recording. When dubbing from the HDD to DVD a Bit Rate Optimiser ensures the best picture quality. And if speed is what you need, JVC?s HDD-to-DVD ?High-Speed Dubbing? operates at a maximum speed of 32x the normal rate, which means you can dub a one-hour program to DVD in just under two minutes using a DVD-R 4x disc.

Recording time

With DVD recording, you get a choice of six levels for the recording quality/time tradeoff: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 hours. Even three hours produced very good quality, although it would be nice to have the kind of fine adjustments available on Pioneer and Toshiba recorders. Six and eight hours, well, these are good enough for catching those shows you?d otherwise miss while you?re away on a long holiday.

Even in the eight hour mode the picture retained a remarkable amount of clarity and richness of colour, regardless of the compression artefacts inherent to this level of recording. Unfortunately, though, there is no readily accessible recording mode switch meaning you have to sift through menus to change the settings.


This is a great first DVD/HDD combination recorder from JVC. It has a logical and remarkably easy to use interface, and recording and playback performance is excellent.

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