Whaat does Consumer Reports say?

My subscription to CR slipped while I was overseas, just in time to miss the issue tests on VCR's, DVDR's etc. I wouldbe greatful if someone could list their top recommendations and best buys in a few categories: VCR, DVDR (with, without hard disc), and finally recorders with hard disc alone if such a thing exists.
Why don't you just sign-up for their online subscription and read it there.
Go to http://www.consumerreports.org, sign up for a 1-month online subscription for $4.95, and you can read them yourself.
Teonyc, Pabelson: Thanks. Actually I already renewed my (print) subscription, just missing the March issue. So I was reluctant to pay for another yearly subscription. However, I wasn't aware of the possibility of subscribing for one month, that does seem like a good solution.
Just remember you have to cancel it before the month is up. Otherwise, CR will keep charging you $4.95 each month till you do.
Pabelson: Thanks again, but yes I did see that at the sign up. Minor annoyance, but still a very good option for someone with one-time or temporary need.
would anyone in high end audio actually trust CR?
Audiotomb - I've yet to see anything that you'd probably consider "high end audio" appear in CR. It's mass merchant products for the average consumer. If a person was looking for that type of product, I'd certainly trust CR above all others, if for no other reason than the fact that they go out and purchase their test samples at a store. While the editors/reviewers of the niche audiophile media are more knowledgeable and can express their knowldge in more exacting ways, you can also bet that the samples they receive from the manufacturers are checked and double checked and tweaked to make sure they're the absolute best of what they offer and are not neccessarily truely representive of what you and I purchase. Just my 2 cents.
would anyone in high end audio actually trust CR?

Actually, I'd trust it more than I'd trust any high-end magazine. CR compares products directly, side-by-side, and discusses both strengths and weaknesses. High-end audio reviews, by contrast, invariably read like advertising copy. CR's reader surveys produce good data on rate-of-repair records.

Granted, CR rates strictly mass-market gear, not the sort of things audiophiles would buy for their primary systems. But if I were looking for a cheap minisystem for a basement workshop or something, I'd definitely see what CR had to say about the category. Whereas if I were looking for a new preamp, I'd ignore TAS completely.
I don't know if it is still true, but the CU evaluator people used to be jacks of all trades. They might be doing tomato Katsup one month and audio receivers the next. For example, in one famous review they rated loudspeakers strictly according to flat frequency response, neglecting (or being ignorant of) other important characteristics. I also remember when they trashed a TV antenna that everyone else thought was the best. They assembled it incorrectly.
I think that their technical abilities have improved, but I still value their factual listings of features, and good and bad points, more than their overall recommendations.
Audiotomb: "would anyone in high end audio actually trust CR?"

Probably not, but nor would I trust any high end audio publication.

Besides, this is not a "high end audio" purchase for me anyway.

While I do not "trust" any publication, I consult many. CR has some strengths. You don't have to agree with their top picks, but they do collect and offer a lot of useful objective data in convenient tabular form.