Panasonic machines have the worst encoding quality of any DVD recorder. Period. If you take this hobby seriously, don't use these pieces of crap. The ES10 is a unique unit because of a set of filters it has. It can be useful for filtering a signal, but you pass that signal back out to something else to do a good recording. These are old, from 2005, and the capacitors all seem to be popping right now (right at the 2-year mark). I had to replace a capacitor just last week.
Philips 3575 is a newer 16:9 ATSC/QAM digital tuner machine, meaning it'll record HD in 16:9 format. It has a 160GB hard drive, and great encode quality from 1-3 hours. It has zero ability to clean up VHS, no filters.
The Toshiba XS series is a 160GB machine with a normal NTSC analog tuner, but it has filters that the user can turn off or on, and set to various levels. There is also some degree of bitrate control. It's more complicated to use than most, but works very well at cleaning VHS. Not as good as the JVC machines, but still a decent second place trailing a little behind.
To record from DirecTV HD -- and never VHS -- I suggest the Philips 3575 machine. These are still sold new for about $300 at some Walmart's and most Circuit City.
There are no PCIe capture cards that I'm aware of. They are all PCI or integrated AGP. PCIe is specifically a graphics slot. The choice in capture cards is much less these days (for Windows machines), since ATI and a few others left the arena -- at least left by making not-so-hot products. You have some items by Hauppauge, Matrox and Canopus, but at the price, the DVD recorder is easier, and can often be better quality anyway. Unlike capture cards, which are largely using chips made by computer companies (NEC), DVD recorders use chipsets by large video companies (Zoran, LSI Logic, Cirrus, etc).