|Toshiba Begins Shipping World's First DVD-Video Recorder With Built-In 80GB Hard Drive
| Print this page
The Toshiba RD-X2 integrates digital recording and high-resolution playback technologies in a single device and is designed to provide users with an unprecedented level of flexibility and utility.
The RD-X2 allows users to record and play back their favorite videos with MPEG-2 digital video resolution. The unit's time-shift capabilities and extremely large amount of HDD data space is intended to provide users with the lifestyle benefit of virtually unlimited recording of broadcast programming - and well in excess of the recording time of tape-based formats.
Advanced title creation and program editing features lets users edit videos, home movies, or other programs and create a customized video library of recorded content.
The RD-X2 accepts a variety of playback video devices, allowing users to dub content from multiple sources to HDD, assemble and edit their final production, then record the finished content to DVD RAM or DVD-R disc. The unit's connections include:
three line-level (composite and S-Video) rear-panel A/V inputs
an RF input
output for connection to a cable system or antenna
Front-panel inputs allow for easy connection to a camcorder for dubbing:
composite video input
analog audio input
Optimum playback picture performance from the built-in DVD or HDD drives is enabled through the included outputs:
ColorStream Component Video output
Audio connections include:
a pair of analog audio outputs
optical digital audio outputs
coaxial digital audio outputs
2-1/2 Years in Development
"Since the introduction of the first DVD-Video players, consumers have anticipated the day when they could record and play back high-resolution DVD Video," said Director of Marketing for Toshiba DVD Jodi Sally. "With the industry's first DVD-R/DVD-RAM/HDD combination recorder, Toshiba has exceeded all expectations, creating an advanced DVD video system that offers digital recording, playback, video editing and archival capabilities that exceed any previous home recording product. All the advantages of digital technology are present, including instant access to selected scenes, the absence of time-consuming rewinding or fast-forwarding, plus the assurance of high-quality recording and playback."
"The RD-X2 has been more than two and a half years in development. The result is an engineering triumph that creates an entirely new category of recordable DVD product destined to redefine how consumers think about and experience DVD recording and playback," added Ms. Sally. She said the RD-X2 will be the first in a lineup of innovative recordable DVD products from Toshiba that she believes will demonstrates the company's leadership in this new category.
Multiple Recording Options
The RD-X2 gives users more freedom than ever before in choosing a recording option (HDD, DVD-RAM, DVD-R) to best suit their needs. The unit also offers one-touch recording directly to the HDD, but users can also choose the benefits of built-in DVD-RAM or DVD-R functionality.
DVD-RAM recording capability lets users record and overwrite as many as 100,000 times on a single disc. Because it utilizes sector-based, non-linear recording for HDD and DVD-RAM content, the Toshiba unit is capable of nearly instantaneous recording, eliminating the time-consuming need to search for blank space on a disc.
DVD-RAM recording is also said to permit high speed dubbing (x2, x4, x8) between the HDD and the DVD-RAM (and vice versa) without deterioration of the digital MPEG2 signal. Another unique benefit of DVD-RAM is that it permits two-sided recording, allowing up to 9.4 Gigabytes to be stored on compatible DVD-RAM disc.
To maximize the benefits of two-sided DVD-RAM recording, the RD-X2 allows users to select an A-B Recording mode from the Record Menu. With this unique feature, A-side content is recorded directly onto the DVD-RAM, while B-side content is recorded on the HDD, for future high-speed dubbing to side B of the DVD-RAM with no loss of picture quality. This process allows the user to record archival images at higher bit rates using both sides of the DVD-RAM disc for optimum recording quality.
To ensure users never run out of disc space when recording to the DVD-RAM, Toshiba built in a special recording mode called Relay Recording. Using Relay Recording, for example, a high-resolution two-hour recording destined for the DVD-RAM is recorded simultaneously on both DVD-RAM disc and the HDD. The DVD-RAM will actually record the first 60 minutes on side A. At the 50-minute point, the HDD will duplicate the last 10 minutes of the first hour and remaining 60 minutes of the program. Once the recording is finished, the user can dub the remaining 60 minutes of the program from the HDD to side B of the DVD-RAM after selecting an appropriate edit location in the program. The dubbing process can be performed at high speed and at high bit rates with no loss in digital picture quality.
Finally, a unique Disc Budget Recording feature allows the unit to read the space available on a DVD-RAM and automatically assign the optimum data rate for video recording based upon the length of programming and the audio mode selected.
DVD-R recording capability is designed to offer universal compatibility with virtually all DVD-video players. Video enthusiasts can now dub home movies to the HDD, edit the content, and then create High Quality DVD-R copies to send to friends and family for playback on their own DVD players.
The unit is equipped with 181-channel cable-compatible tuner and a 2-month, 32-event programming functionality, making it easier and more convenient to record broadcast television programming. Users may manually input their own program data or take advantage of the built in Gemstar VCR+ technology for simple timer-event programming.
A battery backup feature ensures that programming will not be lost during brownouts or power outages, and the unit has XDS auto clock set function.
A unique Extend feature lets users shift timer programming ahead in those instances when a program is running overtime, threatening to delay the allotted start time of a scheduled program.
To provide users with even more recording flexibility, the RD-X2 offers five pre-set and manual recording modes:
Users may choose the LP picture mode (2.2mbs video data rate) and record 75 hours on the HDD and 4 hours, 22 minutes on a single-side DVD-RAM or DVD-R disc.
The SP mode, which utilizes a video bit rate of 4.6mbs for near DVD picture quality, provides users with approximately 36 hours recording time on the HDD and 2 hours on DVD disc.
In the manual recording mode, users have the option of pre-setting the bit rate, selecting from 37 individual choices ranging from 2.0mbs all of the way up to the highest quality level of 9.2mbs.
The user can also select from three separate stereo audio formats depending upon audio quality desired:
Dolby Digital 1 (192kbs)
Dolby Digital 2 (384kbs)
CD-quality PCM (1546kbs)
The RD-X2's recording process utilizes constant bit rate MPEG encoding. However, to insure a consistent high quality picture, Toshiba added a variable bit rate (VBR) buffer that varies the bit rate slightly in conjunction with picture complexity, enhancing picture performance when recording complex images or scenes.
The built-in 80GB HDD allows the unit the ability to offer a variety of sophisticated recording options, freeing users from the constraints of real-time viewing/recording.
Chase TV Recording allows users to watch a programmed recording already in progress, playing the program back from the start and even operating the fast forward and skip functions to bypass unwanted content.
The advanced Time Slip feature means users never have to miss any of a program they are watching, even if interrupted by a telephone call. Time Slip permits users to "pause" live programming and then return later to the exact moment they left the program, watching from the point at which they stopped. During playback of both Chase TV and Time Slip modes, a bar graph can be displayed on screen depicting the "progress" or location of the playback signal in relation to the real-time recording signal.
Sports lovers can enjoy "Instant Replay" using the RD-X2's unique One-Touch Replay feature. By simply touching a button on the remote control, users can review the last 10 seconds of a recorded video. This feature is especially useful when watching fast-paced sporting events like tennis or football.
The Skip Instant feature allows viewers to advance playback in 30-second increments with each press of the button to find a special place within the program.
Create A Video Library
Using Toshiba's unique Library function users can create, store, and then access as many as 3,000 titles in the RD-X2's database, all sorted or arranged by title, genre, and the day, date, or week recorded.
The unit's Content Menu lets users view the entire title content of their HDD and DVD-RAM on-screen. A thumbnail image of the beginning of the program is displayed with a variety of additional information including original recording date, program length, program bit rate, program title, and more. This information can also be viewed on-screen in the Title Summary menu display. An on-screen, three-language (English/French/Spanish) alphanumeric keyboard provides users the ability to create and assign names to programs and to individual chapters within the title.
Once a title is recorded, the Toshiba unit lets users divide the content into chapters utilizing the Chapter Create menu option. Chapter marks can then be inserted to edit out unwanted scenes in the video or to identify favorite scenes. Chapter marks are also distinguished by individual thumbnail images, and can be assigned a specific title, utilizing the on-screen alpha numeric keyboard.
Navigation through the unit's features is made quicker and easier using Quick Menu. When the Quick button is pressed on the remote control, all user options applicable to the current operating mode are displayed on a graphic menu. Navigation through menu functions is accomplished via the intuitive 4-way cursor and Enter buttons located on the remote control.
If users should make an error anytime during editing or programming an onscreen message will appear, instructing the user in the proper procedures.
The unit also features an advanced setup menu, permitting users to program the basic functionality of the player features, such as menu transparencies, monitor display modes, background colors, 3-D noise reduction, custom picture settings, and output audio settings.
"With its built-in 'no-compromise' DVD-Video player functionality, massive 80GB HDD for recording and assemble-editing, multi-input capabilities, plus the universal compatibility of DVD-R and the versatility of rewritable DVD-RAM recording, the RD-X2 represents a revolutionary step forward in digital home video recording and archiving," said Ms. Sally. "Toshiba has once again set the standard for years to come."
The Toshiba RD-X2 became available at retail in the U.S. in October 2002 at a suggested retail price of U.S. $1,499.