We bought this Toshiba DVD recorder a couple of months ago for the bedroom. We already had a recorder downstairs (a Sony RDR-HXD710) but we thought we needed another one to allow simultaneous recordings in case we wanted to record two programmes at the same time, as it sometimes happens. We didn't want to spend too much money on the second recorder (the Sony had cost us in excess of £500) so we ordered this cheaper model online from Comet for under £200.
As soon as we opened the box, I could tell that the build quality was nowhere near as good as our Sony. It just feels cheaply made and less sturdy. Connecting to the TV was easy enough through the HDMI cable which came with the unit. The picture quality is pretty good, especially when playing a pre-recorded DVD. I have no complaints about that. However, I have the following negative remarks to make about this unit:
1) The speed. It takes quite a long time for the unit to power up, bring up the EPG, load a disc, and to respond to other commands from the remote control sometimes. This can be very frustrating.
2) The noise. This is a very noisy machine when it's turned on. We thought the Sony was noisy, but this one is a lot noisier. As soon as you turn it on, the constant whirring in the background is very noticeable. It is therefore not suitable for bedrooms!
3) The Interface. Well, let's just say, the interface is not exactly user-friendly. For example, when you want to set a programme to record through the EPG, you're supposed to just press OK once you've find the appropriate title. That would be easy enough, but the problem is nothing happens - you just find yourself in a dead end situation. I can usually back out of this by pressing the EXIT button and then check if the programme is indeed set to record, as you don't get any confirmation from the machine. It took me a while to figure this out. Also, you can't select a programme from the EPG to watch, only to record. If you want to watch a programme, you have to back out of the EPG, remember the number of the channel you want to watch and then try to find it again using the channel numbers on the remote. How troublesome is that? When you're in the EPG of the Sony, it gives you the option whether you want to record that channel or just watch it.
4) The reception. This DVD recorder has a built in freeview tuner, but unfortunately it is not able to receive all the channels that are available through our other tuners. For example, it can not receive signals for Channel 4+1, and generally all the +1 channels. Why is that? The signal is strong enough and none of our other three tuners have any problems with reception.
All the above problems we could live with. However, there's another big problem that pretty much makes this machine useless for us. When we set a programme to record, let's say three days from now, the machine immediately puts itself into standby mode (with the accompanying whirring noise) and can not be turned off! What's that all about? The Sony goes into stand-by just a few minutes before a programme would start recording. I would have thought that's the norm. Why does the Toshiba need to be in constant stand-by? Is this a faulty unit? Or is this normal behaviour? In any case, we need to take it back as we can't live with this constant noise.
If you're looking for a DVD recorder, I wouldn't recommend this one. I hope we can get our money back and choose another model. It's best to pay a bit more and get a good one, a Sony or a Panasonic.