Format preference is more of a personal one as well as what is compatible with your set top DVD player. The industry seems to be pushing for DVD+R/+RW over the DVD-R/-RW format. I'm not all that familiar with the differences between the formats but I'm sure a search of the web will turn up whatever info you need. There aren't that many different choices for DVD burners but the numbers are steadily growing. There was a time when the Pioneer burner was your only choice. Now there are several other models to choose from and the manufacturer's are all taking different sides as to which format they want to support. From what I've seen, the DVD-R/-RW burners and media are less expensive than their +R/+RW counterparts, which makes them a clearcut winner in my mind, at least for the moment. The Sony DRU-500A looks like a clear winner because it supports both formats, making it one of the most flexible drives available. Retail price is $349 and it's not discounted very much, if at all. They're selling for more than retail on ebay (no big surprise there). The Pioneer burners are selling for $250 or less and are a proven commodity as they have been around the longest. I still have an A03 and I love it. It may be slower than the newer models but I've never burned a coaster with it. Based on my experience with CD burners over the years (I started burning CDs with an old Sony CDU-924S caddy-load SCSI burner about 6 or 7 years ago), stick with the brand name models. Stay away from the Hi-Vals and other off-brands and you'll be OK. These brands are most likely built by the major manufacturers and relabeled for sale under a different name but you never know.
Please don't PM me or any other members looking for personal assistance. You'll do better by posting (after you've exhausted the search feature, of course) and taking advantage of the collective expertise of the membership instead of a single individual that may or may not be able to help you. Thank you and enjoy your stay at DDB!