JUST MONTHS AGO, we heralded a 160GB Daewoo DVD recorder as great value, and praised a 250GB Panasonic offering for its' iarge hard disk'. This Toshiba officially sells at £3oo in the UK, if you shop around you'll find it for a good chunk less. It has a 250GB hard disk and an HDMI output; it can upscale video to 1080p, and supports DTS decoding as well as playback of Div X and MPJ discs. That's some value, right there. Naturally it all means less than Britney Spears' wedding vows if the performance isn't up to it.
In terms of design and styling, things get off to an inauspicious start. The remote, with its mass of identically sized buttons, is confusing, and both the TV's menus and the EPG look fairly dull and dated. Still, they're intuitive enough to work around and do the job required. The on-board digital tuner delivers a bright, detailed picture that displays good depth of field, and is for the most part free of noise and instability. With an HDD this size, there's really no need to record in anything other than the highestXP recording mode, and it produces faithful recordings nighon identical to the original content.
Drop down a mode or two, if you want to record a film to disc, say, and recordings still fare well just avoid the bottom SLP option. Switch to DVD and the icing on the cake is the quality of the ro80p video, which delivers clean, crisp, insightful action, with the added bonus of open, authoritative sound. Clunky menus apart, we find little to find fault with though a USB connection might have been nice. This Toshiba represents sterling DVD!HDD recorder value.