Toshiba introduced the industry's first DVD player that combines the benefits of DVD-RAM and DVD-R recording with the time-shifting and assemble editing capabilities of an 80GB Hard Disc Drive (HDD). The Toshiba RD-X2 integrates a combination of advanced digital recording and high-resolution playback technologies into a single device, providing users with an unprecedented level of flexibility and utility. The Toshiba RD-X2 will be available in the fall at a suggested retail price of $1,499.00.
The introduction of the RD-X2 marks a revolutionary step in the progress of the DVD-Video format, allowing users to record and playback their favorite videos in stunning MPEG-2 digital video resolution. The unit's advanced time-shift capabilities and sheer immensity of HDD data space provides users with the lifestyle benefit of virtually unlimited recording of broadcast programming. In addition, a host of 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.
Record From Multiple Sources With Four Line Inputs
Equipped with four separate line inputs, the RD-X2 accepts a variety of playback video devices, allowing users to dub content from multiple sources to HDD, assemble-edit their final production and record to DVD RAM or DVD-R disc. The RD-X2's connections include three line-level (composite and S-Video) back-panel A/V inputs, in addition to an RF input and output for connection to a cable system or antenna. An additional set of S-Video, Composite Video and analog audio inputs are provided on the front panel for simple connection to a camcorder for dubbing purposes. The RD-X2 also features Composite, S-Video and ColorStreamÒ Component Video outputs - ensuring optimum playback picture performance. A pair of analog audio outputs complement individual optical and coaxial digital audio connections.
2 ½ 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," noted Craig Eggers, Director of Product Management for Toshiba DVD. "With today's introduction of the industry's first DVD-R/DVD-RAM/HDD combination recorder, Toshiba has taken a giant leap beyond 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, with no time-consuming rewinding or fast-forwarding, plus the assurance of high-quality recording and playback."
Eggers continued: "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. The RD-X2 is the first in a lineup of innovative Toshiba products that will demonstrate our clear leadership in this new category."
Multiple Recording Options For All Consumer Needs
The RD-X2 gives users more freedom than ever before in choosing the recording option (HDD, DVD-RAM, DVD-R) that's best for their needs. In addition to one-touch recording directly to the HDD, users can choose the benefits of built-in DVD-RAM or DVD-R functionality. The RD-X2's 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
RD-X2 is capable of nearly instantaneous recording, eliminating the time-consuming need to search for blank space on a disc. DVD-RAM recording also permits high speed dubbing (x2, x4, x8) from the HDD without any deterioration of the digital MPEG2 signal. Another benefit of DVD-RAM is that it permits two-sided recording, allowing a maximum of 9.4 Gigabytes to be stored on compatible DVD-RAM disc. (Competing formats including DVD-RW and DVD+RW as well as DVD-R can only offer single-side recording.)
Unique Features and Benefits of DVD-RAM/HDD Recording
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, allowing eventual high-speed dubbing to side B of the DVD-RAM, with no loss of picture quality.
To ensure that users never run out of disc space when recording to the DVD-RAM, the RD-X2 features a special recording mode entitled Relay Recording. As an 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 then record the 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. Again, this process can be performed at high speed with no loss in digital picture quality.
Finally, a unique no-fault Disc Budget Recording feature directs the RD-X2 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 Provides Universal Compatibility
The addition of DVD-R recording capability offers universal compatibility with virtually every DVD-Video player ever manufactured. Video enthusiasts can now dub home movies to the HDD, edit the content, add custom titles and chapters and then create High Quality DVD-R copies to send to their friends and for playback on their DVD players.
Easy Off-Air Recording, With Advanced Timer Programming Functionality
Equipped with a 181-channel cable compatible tuner and 2-month, 32-event timer programming functionality, the RD-X2 makes it easier and more convenient than ever before to record broadcast television programming. Users may 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 XDS auto clock set function virtually ensures the player will never blink 12:00. A unique EXTEND feature even lets users time-shift programming ahead in those instances when a football game or news event is running overtime, threatening to delay the allotted start time of a scheduled program.
Multiple Recording Modes Mean More Viewer Choices
To provide users with the ultimate in recording flexibility, the RD-X2 offers a variety of pre-set and manual recording modes. For example, users may choose LP picture mode (2.2mbs video data rate) and record as much as 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 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 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) and Full CD-quality PCM (1546kbs).
The RD-X2's recording process utilizes constant bit rate MPEG encoding. However, to enhance picture quality, Toshiba added a variable bit rate (VBR) buffer that varies the bit rate slightly in conjunction with picture complexity, improving picture performance when recording complex images or scenes.
Sophisticated Recording Features For Total Freedom From Time Constraints
With its built-in 80GB HDD, the RD-X2 offers a variety of sophisticated recording options, providing users total control over their viewing and recording needs - free from the constraints of real-time viewing/recording. With Chase TV Recording, for instance, users may watch a programmed recording already in progress, playing the program back from the start and even operating the Fast Forward/Rewind functions to skip past unwanted content.
With the RD-X2's advanced Time Slip feature, users never have to miss a second of their favorite programming, even if interrupted by a telephone call or a ringing doorbell! Time Slip permits users to "pause" live programming being recorded and then return later to the exact moment they were watching. 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 even enjoy their own version of "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 ten seconds of a recorded video. This feature is especially useful when watching fast-paced sporting events like tennis or football.
Easy High-Speed Dubbing From Hard Drive to DVD
Once a program has been recorded on the RD-X2's HDD, users can edit with the addition of menus and chapters, with thumbnail images, then dub it directly to DVD-RAM disc at high speed (x2, x4 or x8). The actual dubbing speed will vary based upon the length and complexity of the original program. One major benefit of this process is that during High-Speed Dubbing, from the HDD to the DVD-RAM, audio and video signals retain their original integrity. The video signal is not decoded to baseband then re-encoded to MPEG-2. This helps to insure consistent digital picture quality and reduces artifacts when dubbing to DVD-RAM.
Organize and Maintain an Extensive Video Library
Using Toshiba's unique Library function users can create, store and then access as many as 3000 titles in the RD-X2's database, each sorted or arranged by title, genre, day, date or week recorded. And for unprecedented convenience in the creation and organization of their video libraries, the RD-X2 offers a variety of title creation and editing capabilities. The unit's Title 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 titler provides consumers the ability to create and assign titles to programs as well as individual chapters within the title.
Once a title is recorded, the RD-X2 lets users divide the programming content into chapters utilizing the Chapter Create menu option. Chapter marks can then be used to easily edit out unwanted scenes in the video, or define favorite scenes in a video. Chapter marks are also defined by individual thumbnail images, and can be assigned a specific title, utilizing the on-screen alpha numeric keyboard.
The RD-X2's extensive editing capabilities offer have several advantages for movie collectors. Once a title has been recorded, users may create customized "virtual titles" (with objectionable scenes deleted) for future playback or dubbing to DVD-RAM or DVD-R disc. Disc menu-related items, such as chapter thumbnails or chapter descriptions, when applied, can also be recorded along with the edited audio/video content.
Best of all, consumers and video enthusiasts with multiple hours of home movies collecting dust can now dub their entire collections onto the RD-X2's HDD. Then they can go to work assemble-editing their videos, deleting unwanted scenes and creating concise, professionally edited home movies they will be proud to share with friends and relatives.
Simple Access to All Features via Quick Button
Navigation through the many features of the RD-X2 is made quick and easy using the 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. For added ease-of-use, if users should make an error anytime during editing or programming, an onscreen message will appear, instructing the user in the proper procedures. These two features significantly improve the consumers understanding and interaction with
The RD-X2 also features an advanced setup menu, permitting consumers to program the basic functionality of the player including menu transparencies, monitor display modes, background colors, 3-D noise reduction, custom picture settings as well as output audio settings.
Concluded Mr. Eggers: "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. Toshiba has once again set the standard for years to come."