If you thought the format was was confusing, consumers are in for a surprise when Toshiba releases its new HD DVD recorder dubbed the RD-RX7. The recorder features the ability to write to HD DVD recordables as well as DVD-Rs. What makes it truly unique is that it has a special mode allowing users to record HD video to standard 4GB DVD-R/RW/RAMs. The way it does this is through a proprietary format that squeezes 2 hours of "HD" material onto that regular DVD.
Discuss "Toshiba Vardia HD DVD/HDD DVR First Look" here. Read the article.
While complete details and specs would be needed before making a buying decision (like can it burn to double layer DVD-9s? Can it only burn HD-DVD-R or can it also burn HD-DVD-RW? Double layer? Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD bitstream output? DTS-HD internal decoding? PRICE???? etc.) this is an interesting product.
The real question to me is all about being able to record HD broadcasts. I have little doubt that this unit will work for over-the-air HD broadcasts, but what about cable and satellite? So far, with my cable provider, the only way I can record HD is using the PVR that they sell. There is no way for me to record my cable HD broadcasts onto disc and retain the 1080i resolution and Dolby Digital audio. I can, of course, use the S-Video or composite output and the analogue audio outputs and record onto a DVD using a DVD burner, but doing so obviously means 480i video and stereo analogue sound.
So being able to record HD from a cable provider onto the DVR in this unit and also being able to record those programs onto HD-DVD discs and retain the 1080i video and Dolby Digital audio would obviously make me very happy. In order for that to happen though, I'm not sure what all needs to be in place. Does my cable provider have to specifically support this unit? My guess is that they would since this unit would have to connect directly to the coax cable coming out of the wall and be able to access and decode the signal from the cable company. I suppose some sort of cable card program could work, but I'm in Canada and our cable provider (Shaw) doesn't use cable card.
It's all very confusing and that certainly doesn't help the situation for the average consumer. All I'm really after is the modern equivalent of a VCR! I just want to be able to record programs off of cable onto some sort of removeable media!