Like the questioner, I am too busy to keep up with the advances in technology, and rely on C-NET reviewers to assist me when I know my old methods and equipment no longer suffice.
18 months ago or so I bought a Panasonic combination recorder (VHS and DVD). With it I can record or play either VHS or DVD formats, and use one "joystick" button to copy from one to the other. It has a hard drive on to which I can record many hours of TV programming while watching something else, and it has a commercial advance feature so I can skip them during playback, though, unlike my old VCR, it doesn't skip them all with one click of the button... just one at a time, which is annoying (not as annoying as the commercials, though). It also has free TV Guide, and you can just select a future program (I use the Search feature to find it alphabetically in TVG) then tell it you want that program recorded. Simple, except the alphabetical search with the remote joystick can be clumsy. It isn't TiVO, I guess, but it's free.
You can copy camcorder video directly from the camera to either VHS, DVD disk, or the harddrive, and it comes with a DVD-RAM disk too, though I've never messed with that and don't know what the advantage is to it (yet). I put a mini-DVD disk from my Sony camcorder in the Panasonic's DVD drive, copied it readily to the harddrive, replaced the mini with a full-sized DVD-R or DVD+RW, and copied what was originally on the mini from the harddrive to the big DVD disk. You can then either leave the video on the harddrive for future viewing or delete it. The harddrive seems big enough to hold lots of recordings, so I left my video on it so I don't have to insert the DVD to see it. I maintain harddrive space by erasing watched TV recordings regularly - you just have to be careful during the erasure process that you don't inadvertantly erase your home video.
The hassle with copying home video is the confusing DVD video formats (a real pain), because you can't copy all formats, so you have to be sure you set the camcorder to the correct format before you shoot the video in the first place. If you use miniDV tape in your camcorder, you won't have this issue. And I don't know if this is true with all TV DVD players or not (it is with mine), but if you put digital images from a still camera on a CD or DVD and it has text with each image, as seen on your computer, that text doesn't appear with the images when played in the DVD player. So if you are sending a disk of family digital pictures to a relative, for example, and they have a DVD player but not a computer, they'll be able to see the images, just not the identifying text you may have burned to the disk originally with your computer. Bummer.
I mentioned the confusing DVD recording formats; adding to this issue is the complex and bewildering Panasonic owner's manual. It is thick, cumbersome, and difficult to navigate for a neophyte. It has to be detailed because of its many capabilities, but I found it hard to understand in certain areas, especially about the formats and what I can and can't do with my camcorder videos. But I've found camera and video electronics owner's manuals to be clumsy to navigate from all popular manufacturers the last 10-15 years, including Sony and Canon.
The only other problem with my relatively young model, and I consider it a serious blunder by Panasonic and myself, is that it only has an NTSC tuner. It can receive analog broadcasts only. Next February, I will have to have a digital receiver box just for the DVD recorder. We've known this was coming and should have known better. Panasonic should have included an ATSC (digital) tuner, given the short time frame they knew existed at that point before mandated digital would arrive and make my unit obsolete as a TV receiver. I reckon I just assumed that such a modern device would be digital-capable. It wasn't as far as the tuner went! I checked at Best Buy last month and they had only one unit of similar purpose in the store, but made by a brand I wouldn't buy. It did have an ATSC tuner (with less than a year to go I would hope so).
I can say, despite the problems, that we do get a lot of use from our DMR EH75V, and, all things considered, including past good experience with Panasonic reliability, I would recommend any similar updated model. It just takes some patience thoroughly cramming the manual and learning by usage. It sure is nice not having to set TV program recording times like with our old VCRs, or looking up VCR+ codes in a TV Guide magazine; and no more expensive TVG subscription! Just look up the program onscreen, select it with the remote, then click record; it records the entire show to the harddrive. You can click on single or weekly recordings of a regular show, piece of cake. If you look around or check Panasonic or their retailers online you can likely find a combo unit similar to mine with an ATSC tuner. Check C-NET reviews of course.
If you are going HD soon, than you need to be thinking in terms of Blue-Ray capability also, I suppose, now that the other HD DVD format has been junked. Will they never let us rest? Cheez. I can't keep up with the tech changes, and as a retired fixed-income baby-boomer I certainly can't afford to buy new equipment every couple of years.