Packing nearly every high-end feature into a sleek, 15-pound deck, the DVR-7000 has elite written all over it. From the retro, silver face to the big multijog dial to the complex, dot-matrix display, this baby looks like it costs big bucks--and it does.
If we had any gripes about the design, it would be that the nonbacklit remote has too many similarly sized buttons. However, the inclusion of a jog dial on the remote helps make up for this minor flaw. Interfacewise, we found the multitude of onscreen menus easy enough to navigate, though we would have appreciated a little more in the way of snazzy icons to better guide us.
As far as connectivity goes, on the back you'll find two A/V inputs and two outputs, all with S-Video connections. The front also has a set of A/V inputs in addition to a FireWire port. Both optical and coaxial digital-audio outputs are available. Aside from the FireWire port, the most noteworthy connection is a progressive-scan component-video output with 3:2 pull-down circuitry, which cleans up film-based material such as DVDs. But more on that in a minute.
To record content, the DVR-7000 accepts either DVD-Rs ($5 to $10 each) or DVD-RWs ($10 to $20 each). It cannot, however, record on DVD+RWs or DVD-RAMs. In our tests, DVD-Rs that we recorded worked in most players except a few older decks such as the Apex AD-600 and the Onkyo DV-S525, both of which are from 1999. It's also worth noting that DVD-RWs can be recorded over and over, but they will play in only DVD-RW-compatible machines.
Although the DVR-7000 has some limited editing features, they can be used only when working with DVD-RWs. Editing isn't this deck's strong suit anyway, and home-video enthusiasts would be better served editing their movies on a computer, recording the final version onto a DV tape, and copying the tape to DVD using the Pioneer's DV input. That little FireWire jack also acts as an output, provided the source DVD isn't copy-protected. Like other DVD recorders, the DVR-7000 won't record copy-protected material, including most commercial DVDs and videocassettes.