I'm wondering how many folks here have a standalone DVD recorder. We have need of one or two in my workplace (multimedia lab of a school in this case). As such, it needs to be reliable, built reasonably strong, and have good media compatibility, with a simple method of upgrading firmware if possible. Our primary need is to copy non-commercial VHS tapes over to DVD, though I'm sure it would be even better if there were less restrictions, as educational VHS tapes tend to wear out and if those kinds of things could be converted to DVD as well, they'd last longer and we'd have an original fair-use backup.
My understanding of electronics is not a problem...but since I don't own one of these, I'd like to talk to people here who do, what they own, and if they're happy with it. Cost is definitely a factor, so please state it too, but I've seen what looked like reasonable stuff on the market between the (very rough) $300-600 range, and I do believe firmly that I get what I pay for.
Any information you can provide would be appreciated.