I purchased this DVD recorder/VCR NEW, not open box or refurb, and was DEFECTIVE. I had it all of three days. My serial number is 6001321. If anyone else has experienced this problem, perhaps there was a bad production run using faulty controller boards. I'm presuming the signal processor for the DVD player was defective, or some portion of the DVD playback circuitry (DVD recording was not affected). ANY DVD, whether burned by me or a purchased movie, showed "digital artifacts" in the picture--black dots, yellow or green pixel-looking marks. When viewing an all-black screen on a DVD, it was like watching the opening of The Matrix with all the green pixels all over the screen. I'm not just being picky, this was VERY noticeable if anyone watched anything for more than half a minute, and was visible on all outputs (HDMI, component, s-video and composite video) which negates the output as the problem. Will send out for warranty repair/replacement, which is done locally, but I still must pay $12 "discounted" UPS shipping to an address 37 miles from my home with a UPS label purchased from Sony repair. This really damages my faith in SONY. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that this unit is marked "Made in CHINA" while all my older perfectly-working items from Sony were "Made in JAPAN" or Malaysia. Quite a coincidence, although Sony insists that "Although made in other countries, all items produced meet our exacting standards and are quality controlled by Sony personnel." Well, apparently mine was not produced to "exacting standards," as how could such a major defect pass QC? Along with cutting production costs, did they skimp on quality electronic parts?! Other than my dud unit, I liked the features and the VHS portion of the unit worked wonderfully, and the digital tuner pulled in stations without a problem (even though it takes 20 to 40 minutes to scan through them on setup). The upconversion of the images wasn't bad. Test DVDs which I recorded digital broadcasts at LP or better speed were excellent (when viewed on another DVD player, due to my defective playback). Other users have reported that they cannot use the RF-coaxial out. I tried it briefly with no luck (it's not like an old VCR, where you can view it on NTSC channel 3 or 4) but can't really comment as I'll be using the RF coax in, but the HDMI out. My only other gripe is that Sony does not use DVD-RAMs as RECORDABLE media. If you want to erase/rewrite, you're stuck with CD /-RWs, which are NOT as flexible for recording/erasing as DVD-RAMS. I'm buying a Panasonic DMR-EZ47K for a friend, and may just keep it. Panasonic DOES allow DVD-RAM recording, and I've always been pleased with my old Panasonic DVD/HDD recorder. My old Panasonic (DMR-E85H) has been a champ for three years, even though others with this model has had some problems (see afterdawn.com forums), never right out of the box!! I guess nothing is perfect, but I expected more from Sony. A MAJOR disappointment and blow to my "brand loyalty."