Summary: i went the 540model due to not planning to attach it to an LCD screen. I wish i spent the extra as a month after i bought an LCD. I find the picture to be fine for my viewing and really wanted it for recording the programs that i miss, so i could watch them later. i bought mine from JB's for $405 and got some blank discs thrown in. For this price it doesn't really have any competitors in my eyes and it's only an interim until they produce Blue-ray hard disc recorders.
Summary: I bought it 3 days ago (AUD$640 from Ebay). I have not tested everything. So far I found out it is good enough for me,especially recording and playing DVD.With some grainy old movies it can produce good picture. When I recorded from external source the picture is very good .
Pros: Good playback with HDMI.Extra inputs.
Cons: No Optical out put. This recorder does NOT remember the position when I take the DVD out; it is inconvenient.