Sony RDR-HDC500 HDD/DVD recorder

A 500GB Sony DVD recorder

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Sony RDR-HDC500
  • Sony RDR-HDC500
  • Sony RDR-HDC500
  • Sony RDR-HDC500
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5


  • 500GB hard drive, user-friendly interface, lots of ports and connections, supports most file formats (DivX, etc.)


  • No second HD TV tuner, too expensive, DVD recording options could be better

Bottom Line

The Sony RDR-HDC500 is a reliable HDD/DVD recorder that lets itself down in a few key areas.

Would you buy this?

The Sony RDR-HDC500 (AKA Sony RDR-DC 505) is an HDD/DVD recorder with a 500GB hard drive capable of recording in Full HD. The RDR-HDC 500 is currently Sony’s top-of-the-range HDD/DVD recorder (other models in the company’s PVR line-up include the 320GB RDR-HDC 300 and the 160GB RDR-HDC 100, which are identical except for lower storage capacities). The Sony RDR-HDC 500's main strengths are its generous storage space and intuitive user interface.

[Compre the Sony RDR-HDC500 to other PVRs and DVD recorders on PC World.]

As Sony’s marketing campaign is keen to point out, the RDR-HDC 500 is a great choice if you’re a football fanatic looking to chronicle this year’s FIFA World Cup. It will allow you to capture each and every broadcast in Full HD for posterity (go Italia!). Unfortunately, the unit’s recording functionality could certainly be better — particularly when it comes to DVDs. The lack of a second HD tuner is also regrettable (instead, a single DVB-T tuner is used). That said, if you’re willing to live with the above flaws then the Sony RDR-HDC 500 is a capable and user-friendly option.

The Sony RDR-HDC500 comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an $849 HDD/DVD recorder. Alongside its 500GB hard drive, the unit boasts a cavalcade of useful tools and features, including HDMI and 1080p upscaling, a USB port for media playback, Bravia Sync, DivX support, a DTS Digital output and the ability to pause live TV. (Note: while the RDR-HDC500 can play high-definition video, it will not recognise Blu-ray discs.)

The Sony RDR-HDC 500 is a bit of a beast: it measures 430x72x258mm and weighs a hefty 4.1kg. The glossy black finish and simple LED display should look at home in any home theatre setup. However, we weren’t fans of the red-on-black playback buttons, which look rather cheap and ugly. Thankfully, these buttons remain hidden behind the fascia when not in use.

In addition to the afore-mentioned playback buttons, the Sony RDR-HDC 500’s front panel features S-Video, a MiniDV input, composite video and a USB port. This saves you fussing about with the back of the device when you want to connect your hardware (such as a camcorder). The rest of the ports are located at the rear; these include HDMI, component AV, coaxial digital audio and three sets of composite AV ports (via the included SCART adaptors). Wi-Fi and Ethernet are both absent, which means you can't stream content from your home network.

Setting up the Sony RDR-HDC 500 was exceptionally simple thanks to a beginner-friendly wizard and highly intuitive interface. In no time at all we had all our TV channels stored and were scheduling recordings with the One Touch Timer. However, Sony has made a serious oversight when it comes to the TV tuner. Most dedicated PVRs — such as the Panasonic DMR-XW450 and Foxtel iQ2 — boast two or more HD digital tuners, allowing you to record two television channels simultaneously. By contrast, the RDR-HDC500 comes with a single DVB-T tuner (which also doubles as an analog terrestrial tuner). This severely limits your choices when it comes to recording TV.

DVD recording options are also limited. We couldn’t get the RDR-HDC 500 to record external content to disc — instead, it needs to be recorded onto the hard drive first and then transferred to DVD. To make matters worse, this can only be done in real time (i.e. there are no fast dubbing options).

On the plus side, the HDD records content reliably and can store up to 72 hours of high-definition recordings. The DVD player also produced excellent looking video, with decent HD upscaling. We tested the device on a Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A plasma TV using an HDMI cable and were more than satisfied with the results. Nonetheless, we can't help but feel that there are cheaper and better options on the market.

Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook

Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide

Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: home entertainment, sony
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?