Toshiba unveils latest HD DVD recorder

Toshiba is tuning up the heat on the Blu-ray Disc camp going into the year-end holidays with the launch of a HD DVD recorder that can record high-def to DVDs.

As the holiday shopping season approaches, Toshiba is turning up the heat on the Blu-ray Disc camp with the launch of an HD DVD recorder that can record high-definition video to regular DVDs.

The Vardia RD-A301 will hit Japan in mid-December and can also transcode high-definition MPEG2 broadcasts on the fly to the more efficient MPEG4 compression format. MPEG4 video takes up less space, so more can be stored on an HD DVD disc or on the unit's built-in 300G-byte hard-disk drive.

The increase in recording capacity through the transcoding is impressive: hard disk capacity jumps from 39 hours to 159 hours for terrestrial digital TV (Japanese ISDB-T standard at 17M bps).

Recording high-def video to commodity DVD discs is possible thanks to HD Rec, a recently standardized format from the DVD Forum. HD Rec allows up to 2 hours of transcoded high-def video to be stored on a 4.7G-byte DVD-R disc.

Blank HD DVD discs are still expensive, so the ability to use DVD discs could mean big cost savings for consumers who have a lot of content that they want to put on optical disc.

However, playback of the DVD discs is limited to the RD-A301 at present. There are no other machines -- HD DVD or DVD -- that are currently compatible with HD Rec. That's likely to change over time, but quite how fast is unclear. Supporters of the rival Blu-ray Disc format have their own system, called AVC Rec which is, of course, incompatible with HD Rec.

Other features of the machine include the ability to record two video streams at once through the recorder's dual tuners.

Toshiba estimates that the RD-A301 will go on sale for under US$875. It will be available in Japan only.

To coincide with its launch, Toshiba will offer consumers who buy the RD-A301 a copy of the hit movie "Transformers," five blank HD DVD-R and DVD-R discs, and a "Transformers" action figure.

Paramount Pictures, the studio behind "Transformers," claimed HD DVD sales of 190,000 copies of the movie in its first week on sale. That makes it the fastest-selling movie yet released on either of the high-definition formats, according to the company.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?