An ATSC tuner or HDTV tuner, allows reception of digital television (DTV) signals broadcast over-the-air by TV stations in North America and South Korea. These tuners are integrated into Televisions, VCRs, Digital Video Recorders, and Cable/Satellite set-top boxes that include audio/video inputs and outputs. Currently in the U.S. DVD recorders are required to include a digital ATSC tuner if it has a tuner. In fact, effective March 1, 2007 all televisions regardless of screen size, and all devices which include a tuner (VCR, DVD player/recorder, DVR) must include a built-in ATSC DTV tuner.
Currently, there are several DVD Recorder manufacturers offering DVD Recorders with ATSC tuners. Panasonic has 4 models that include a digital tuner, the DMR-EZ17, EZ27, EZ37 and EZ47. The DMR-EZ17, at 199.95 (US), includes Progressive Scan, Digital Tuner and DV input. The DMR-EZ27 includes the above and adds 1080p Up-Conversion with HDMI output for $249.95, while the DMR-EZ37 includes all the EZ17 has to offer plus a VHS VCR for $299.95. The top of the line DMR-EZ47 adds 1080p Up-Conversion with HDMI output plus a VHS VCR for $299.95. If you're going to spend $299.95 I would recommend the DMR-EZ47 over the DMR-EZ37, the EZ47 adds 1080p upconversion for the same price as the EZ-37.
LG Electronics offers 2 Digital Tuner DVD Recorders, the DR787T and DR797T. Both include SUPER MULTI FORMAT RECORDING
Record to all DVD disc formats with Super Multi Format Recording: DVD±R/DVD±RW/DVD+R Double Layer/DVD-RAM, 1080i Upconversion via HDMI Output and DV Input. The DR797T also includes a VHS VCR. The DR787T comes in at $279.95, while the DR797T is $349.95.
Toshiba offers the DVR650 DVD Recorder with Digital Tuner, VHS VCR, and 1080p upconversion for $279.99
One drawback that should be mentioned with DVD Recorders that record HDTV signals is that any HDTV signals received by the ATSC tuner will
be downscaled to standard resolution so they can be recorded onto a DVD and played on DVD player, since DVD is not a high definition format. We'll have to wait for Blu-ray and HD-DVD recorders to become available in order to record true HDTV signals onto a disc. However, many of the DVD Recorders with ATSC Tuners also include the ability to upscale standard definition to High Def, which will create higher quality playback on HDTV's.
Being able to record over-the-air HDTV directly from an HDTV antenna to DVD is a great new feature for DVD Recorders. All DVD Recorders made from now on must include a digital tuner, the only way manufacturers can get around this is to make a DVD Recorder that does not include a tuner, which is the way Sony's latest DVD Recorders are, they can only record from line input, no tuner built-in! I'm very excited about this latest development in DVD Recorder technology.