True S-VHS machines can be purchased for less than $100 these days, and the results of a dub from such a machine wil be visibly superior to S-VHS Quasi Playback dubbed to DVD.
As far as dual decks, the Panny ES30V is available now.
Except for the hook-ups, I see only one really great advantage in the ES30v, and that is its ability to shuttle the tape, determine the total recording length, rewind it, and automatically fit it on a disc. If it works, this seems like a very smart feature (they call it GUI transfer).
Its usefulness depends on what kinds of VHS recordings you have. If you have a lot of incompletely filled tapes, or you know you want an exact correspondence between the tapes you have an the number of discs you want to create, then this is really nice.
However, if you want to create discs that have only some of the content of a tape, or want to combine several tapes on one DVD, I think a separate VCR and DVD recorder would be just as easy.
Sometimes, a method sounds harder, but is actually easier. One use for hard drive DVD recorders is that you can
1. record all of the content of a tape onto the hard drive <i>unattended</i>.
2. Come back later (how later depends on recording speed) and cut the programs up (trim the stuff you don't want before or after the program)
3. high-speed copy to disc (which can also be unattended).
If you don't want to or need to do 2 and 3, you can always just record right to disc (just like with a non-hard-drive DVD recorder). However, you have more flexibility in getting stuff onto discs.
For example, my wife had dozens of tapes with 30-minute craft shows recorded at EP. Copying these to DVD at EP (6-hour mode) would produce unwatchable results (not that the original was that good to start with, but video lousiness is exponential, not additive). So, I went for LP.
Directly copying to DVD, I would have to check the results (or set to play-record) the first tape at four hours. Then, on a separate disc, dub the last 2 hours of that tape to the first 2 hours of the disc. Then, add the first two hours of the next tape to the last 2 hours of the disc, etc.
Using the hard drive, I record every tape to the hard drive <i>unattended</i>. That is, I dub all six hours at a time (in LP mode) from each tape to the hard drive. Once all (or many) tapes are recorded on the hard drive, I segment them in a couple of minutes and dub each 4-hour block to a disc at high-speed (which takes 8-15 min. for newer machines, or an hour for the older recorders). The dubbing from hard drive to disc can also be unattended or can be done while I am watching recordings on the hard drive or recording more material to the hard drive (using Pioneer models).
Over 3 0 0 0 DVDs served since 2003.