A/V questions…

I’m considering replacing out a bunch of our AV equipment for K’s upcoming birthday.  He’s out of town this week which means that if I scramble around for the next couple of days, I could have it all in place when he got home and he’d have a true (if early) surprise.

But I have soooo many questions because I’m really quite ignorant about this stuff.  For example:

– DVD recorders – I hadn’t even realized you could own something that would record onto a DVD without needing some sort of subscription to fancy digital cable or whatever.  Has anyone got any experience with them?  What format is most likely to be readable by other DVD players? What do I need to know?  Can I get a decent-performing unit that records DVDs and also is a DVD changer (say, 5-disk)?

Shopping
– Is Fry’s really cheaper than other sources, or just… bigger?  What are other good places to shop in Houston, to get a fair price for a decent product?
– What are good brands these days?
– Any benefit in buying everything in the same brand?  e.g. single remote-control action?

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