All my transfers from VHS or laserdisc to DVD-R have been via a Panasonic stand-alone recorder. Considering that all my video "stuff" is all together there, it makes it relatively simple to plug them all into the recorder. I even record from my satellite dish (with DVR) with it.
When I bought the recorder a year ago, it was around $399. Had I decided to go the computer route, I would have needed a video capture card (and good ones seem to run around $199), and DVD burner, and software to do it with. This would have run at least as high in $ as the option I chose, and would have required a lot of hard drive space. Also, the processing time to convert the captured video to the type of mpeg used in DVDs is very time-consuming as well. Since I primarily use my home computer for online WW2 flight simming, I did not want to have it tied up with video projects all the time.
The stand-alone recorders work like VCRs, in that you can record in SP (2 hrs), LP (4 hrs) or EP (6 hrs) mode. With a VCR, this refers to the speed of the tape. with a DVD-R recorder, it means you will use a higher or lower bitrate for the recording. It also has a feature called "flexible recording". This allows you to set up the recorder for a specific running time, and the recorder will use the best possible bitrate to make it fit. This is good for movies that run at, say 130 minutes, to keep it on one disc. Limitations of the stand-alone include the simplistic menu structure. You can title the over-all disc, and title individual titles on the disc, but that is all. The recorder automatically inserts chapter stops every 5 minutes or so. Another limitation is the inability to capture separate audio streams, like audio commentaries from a laserdisc. You have the option to record the regular movie sound, or the commentary, but you cannot record them all at once.