The number of recording systems rose sharply in 2004, but Sony's HTR-6500 beats most of the competition. It is compatible with both DVD-RW/ RW and DVD-R formats, making it one of the most flexible around. There's also a component output for high-quality recordings, while the amplifier caters for Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks.

DVDs look striking, and recordings from terrestrial broadcasts are similarly good. The super-slim speakers belie their size to provide spectacular surround sound. Action effects are accurately placed and the subwoofer backs this up with plenty of bass.