The Toshiba RD-XV47 is a resourceful 'Combi' recording device and player, that not only stores programmes on the hard drive to watch later, but enables you to transfer these files, and those it converts from VHS tape, onto DVD.
Although only having an analogue tuner and no longer being my direct TV recording tool, the RD-XV47 is still a relevant part of my multimedia armoury.
Its twin SCART connectivity allows me to hook it up to a PVR and transfer those digital recordings I want to dub to DVD. Its basic editing tools are easy to learn and enables the cutting of unwanted padding and adverts to tidy recordings up. If like me you like to do a neat job, you will be frustrated that your cutting points can be several frames out by the time it reaches DVD. I soon learnt to allow for this however.
Archiving your old VHS tapes to DVD is another task that will keep the unit in gainful employment for a considerable time, as you progress steadily through your collection. This may require some tracking adjustment and re-dubbing before you achieve the optimum quality. You may find that some of your tapes have deteriorated beyond satisfactory salvage. Prepare for more disappointment as well, as copy protection will sometimes intervene if you are trying to rescue a commercial VHS tape.
Please note: In the UK it is only actually legal to archive TV recordings to DVD to watch once for the purposes of time shifted playback. The general consensus is that format shifting from commercial VHS to DVD is permitted with restrictions. Other than your own material, you must only copy for personal use and not rent, sell, show in public or give away. I must stress that this is my interpretation of a very unclear aspect of law.
The unit has the ability to transfer from source directly to DVD, but I prefer to do this via the hard drive so that I can edit. Bear in mind that, unlike much PC activity today, transfer from most sources to the hard drive is done in real time and therefore this unit is only for the patient user. The exception is the DVD to HDD function, but again don't expect it to allow you to do this with copy protected material. It will play or copy home made DVD's as long as they have either been made on this unit, or on the PC in the DIVX format it supports.
There are a number of compression choices available for both recording and dubbing, making it possible to squeeze in more material where needed. Bear in mind however that compression affects video quality. I have found that there is no quality difference between SP and LP when recording, but wouldn't recommend the other options. The only HDD to DVD dub setting that is quicker than real time is 'Fast', yet oddly this is the only option that doesn't result in picture jumping, in my experience.
There may be more advanced units out there now that cater for some of your recording needs with more pazazz, but none that gives you so much in one box for the price. If you can still pick one of these up, it will be worth its weight in gold.
* I have also written this review on Ciao
This Toshiba RD XV47 is rather a large, heavy and cumbersome beast weighing in at a respectable 5.8kg. Its measurements are 435mm wide, 100mm high and has a depth of 380mm. Constructed from an alumimium type alloy and coated in a semi-glossy black finish, this Toshiba is no slimline beauty by any stretch of the imagination.
The front facade of the machine has an attractive thin silvery grey aluminium strip running through the centre in order to break up an otherwise totally black coloured machine, save for the buttons which are silver.
This Toshiba has three main functions which are:
1 Video Recorder
2 DVD Player
3 HDD Recorder (160GB)
These three features are useful in as much as you can play VHS tapes and DVD all in this one unit without the need for a seperate Video Cassette Recorder and DVD Player, which apart from being more practical. is also space saving.
The internal 160 GB HDD (hard drive) also allows you to record directly onto this drive without the need to use any blank recordable DVD's although if you prefer, this machine also allows the convenience of recording your favourite programme directly onto a DVD-The choice is yours!
The reasonable 160 GB HDD will allow you to record up to 34 hours of programmes in its 'best quality' mode, and as much as 272 hours on its 'lowest quality' mode.
This Toshiba comes with all necessary cables, a full infra red remote control and a decent instruction manual that you can actually understand!
Setting up the machine on first use was a breeze because after making all the necessary connections, you just press the 'on' button and then another quick press of the 'enter' started the Auto Channel Tuning which quickly picked up all available channels or stations such as Sky or Freeview etc.
On the left-hand side of this machine is where the Video Cassette Recorder is situated with its accompanying buttons, stop/eject, REW, FWD, Play and REC, all of which can obviously be activated via the remote control.
The right hand side houses the DVD Player/Recorder with its accompanying buttons also.
Near the centre of the machine are three buttons for VCR mode, HDD mode and DVD mode. Whichever of these modes are selected activates its corresponding mode obviously, with a nice feature being that these three different modes also light up three different colours on the front panel of the machine for your ease and convenience, an intense orange glow when in the VCR mode, a vivid blue glow when in the HDD mode and a bright yellow glow when in the DVD mode.
Being a three in one there are plenty of options available to you. You can copy a VHS tape onto a blank DVD or onto the HDD, even copy a DVD onto a blank VHS tape if you wish. Record any programme onto DVD , VHS or the internal HDD. If you copy a programme onto the HDD you can later put it onto a blank DVD if you decide you want to, or even copy your DVD film or whatever onto the HDD! The possibilities are endless!!
This machine can play nearly all formats of DVD including Xvid (according to Toshiba) but in my experience this is not the case.
The rear of the Toshiba has two Scart Sockets,, Svideo connectors and all the necessary jacks etc. for your audio equipment.
There is a plethora of features to this machine but way too many to list them all here in this review!
However, there are a couple of annoying aspects to this Toshiba model. Firstly it takes almose twenty five seconds to load up a DVD, but more annoyingly, despite its makers claims that it can play virtually any type of DVD format under the sun I find it sadly lacking in that departement. Not only that, but if you should put in a DVD that the machine can not read, then, unlike other machines which will simply say something like 'no play' and then you simply eject the offending DVD out, this Toshiba RD XV47 will actually freeze up the machine rendering it totally inoperable. This happened to me TWICE!
I had recorded a film onto a blank Sony DVD (the type recommended for use in the instruction manual) and when I tried to play it back nothing happened and the whole machine froze. No amount of switching it on or off made any difference and the Sony DVD was completely stuck in the drive.
In fairness to Toshiba,they came and took the machine away and repaired it for me. However a few weeks later it happened again abd so they took it to repair again only this time there was an accompanying letter stuck to the machine informing me that I had been putting 'incompatible' DVD's into the machine and should this occur again, after them warning me, then they would charge me for an more 'repairs' despite me still being 'under guarantee'.
I thought this extremely odd as they were telling me that the DVD I was putting in was 'incompatible' despite me using the 'recommended' ones. Also, why was the machine being rendered unusable after an incompatible DVD being placed inside??Why did it not simply spit it out like any other DVD Player, and not keep it stuck in the drive and freeze the machine up.
Nearly 20% of all DVD's fail to play in this machine which Toshiba claim will play this, that and the other. Which is odd, because I have a cheap Argos bought DVD Player in my spare room which cost about £15 compared to the £350 I paid for the Toshiba, and it will happily play all the DVD's the Toshiba RD XV47 fails to cope with. There's food for thought!!
So now whenever a DVD gets stuck in the machine and freezes it up I have to take the covers off the machine and slowly pull the DVD out. Then switch the machine off, and back on again which seems to solve the problem but is not recommended!!!
This is a MAJOR fault with this machine, which is a pity because in all other respects this is a useful machine but it's simply 'pot luck' whether the machine will 'play' your DVD or 'freeze up' your machine!!