Recordable DVD Dilemma

I want to replace my old DVD player with a DVD recorder so that I can record TV shows to watch later, but I’m confused by all the different formats. What’s the difference between recording onto DVD-RAM disks and using DVD-RW disks? Also, I see that there’s a DVD-R and DVD+R????? and DVD-RW and DVD+RW. Is any of this important?
Rebecca S., San Francisco

DVD (and DVD video) are mass-produced, read-only discs. DVD-RAM is a format that can be written to, read, erased (selectively or all at once), and written to again. It is most like working with a slow hard drive.

DVD-R and DVD+R are different varieties of “write-once” formats. You cannot erase the info once it is written (the same as a CD-R). The DVD-R format is more likely to be readable in an standard DVD player. DVD-RW and DVD+RW are different varieties of read/write/erase formats. Like the DVD-RAM, you can erase what you’ve written and reuse the disc. These do not work as well as DVD-RAM for recording and erasing shows.

I’d agree that a DVD recorder would be a good choice for your needs. You might consider paying a little more for the hard drive version, so that you don’t have to deal with the discs at all unless you want to archive off some shows.