First off, you need total HD everything. Just because you see HD on the TV doesn't mean you can record or drop it down to some storage media. Even if you have HD quality, the device itself has to be HD capable or really a HD device. Not one that "uploads" to be HD capable or suitable. There maybe other terms but basically its more of lesser device proving a bit more in order to "pass HD" signals. If your recorded HD media is actaully HD in its entirely, its best served by HD all down the line. Also, you have to contend with HDCP(google it) and/or whatever setup that maybe in place to copy protect HD content. In a nutshell, this is not as easy quest as you think or may determine, unless you get the full 9-yds. of items/devices but you'll still have to content with HDCP. As I see a DVD/VCR combo, that may not be capable, IMHO or as you've noticed. Get a true HD ready DVR and pick Philips, Toshiba or TEAC as brands that maybe more friendly in this regard, maybe.