updated 10:15 am EST, Thu February 1, 2007
Toshiba Media Recorders
Toshiba on Thursday revealed a pair of new media recorders. The Vardia RD-S600 and RD-S300 let avid TV enthusiasts record their favorite programming both permanently and temporarily. Equipped with dual digital TV tuners, either model records scheduled analog cable and over-the-air broadcasts to an integrated hard disk, even while another show is playing. Shows can also be saved for posterity through the integrated DVD burner. Up to 78 hours of HDTV or 1071 hours of analog vido can be stored on the S600's combined 600GB of hard drive storage; as suggested by its name, the S300 holds half that amount. In either case the interface is simpler than for most of these devices, Toshiba claims. Only 24 easily-read buttons sit on the remote, and virtually every function is controlled through an easier on-screen menu system that visually labels clips for quicker access.
DVD playback is a standard feature, and all non-native sources are automatically upscaled to 720p or 1080i to match newer HDTV sets, the company adds. Both an HDMI port and Japan's native D4 connector are provided for connecting at full resolution; dual pairs of analog RCA and S-video inputs and outputs optionally give the Vardia recorders the option of recording or displaying to a conventional source. The Japanese electronics firm expects to ship both by February 28th in its native country and is likely to be converted for use in other countries in coming months.