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Sony RDR-HXD-890 Hard Drive & DVD Recorder
Record to hard drive, DVD drive, watch and record at the same time .
I needed to read the instruction manual !
Ease of Use
Range of Features
Value for Money
Ease of InstallationVery Easy
Remote ControlGood Quality
InstructionsHelpful / Easy to Follow
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Last weekend our old video-recorder started chewing tapes, so it was about time that we upgraded. We already had a DVD recorder, but had been using it in tandem with our video recorder through an aerial booster that split the signal between the two machines without loss of quality.
When it comes to such gadgets, being the sort of person that likes to see what I am buying, I went off to Comet's to see what was available. Being a Sony lover I was impressed by the RDR-HXD-890, one of the latest hard disk drive/DVD recorders from Sony's Range. It seems that black is back in vogue which I have always preferred; when I bought the last recorder, all I could get was silver, but there is a choice of black or silver with the RDR-HXD-890.
When I got the machine home, I discovered that there were so many options on this machine that I had to sit down and study the manual closely. Not that it was complicated, but just a lot different to my last Sony machine.
The RDR-HXD-890 has a built in digital tuner for freeview, and an analogue connector for those who cannot yet receive a digital signal. It has two scart lead connections and HDMI output to connect to a high definition television.
The machine has a 160GB hard disk drive and a DVD Recorder. The hard drive will store a maximum recording of up to 455hours and 23hours in HQ+ recording mode. There is a button on the handset you need to push to select the hard drive, and then record as you watch, record by timer manually, or use the EPG menu, by pressing the guide button on the handset and simply select the program you want recording. With the press of the "enter" button, the machine will then tell you the timer is set and the program will be recorded.
Whilst you are recording to the hard drive, you can watch DVD or vice-versa (i.e. whilst recording to DVD, you can watch a program on your hard drive). Also whilst on the hard drive, you can playback your stored programs while new ones are being recorded and it is capable of freezing, rewinding and fast-forwarding real-time television, should your viewing be disturbed by a phone call or visitors.
If there are programs you want to keep, you can transfer them from the hard drive to a DVD disk. I have not tried this, but according to the handbook, due to copyright laws, a recording can only be transferred once and is removed from the hard drive once on a DVD disk.
HQ stands for Highest Quality EPG stands for Electronic Program Guide.
If you have other Sony products (we also own a Sony Bravia TV), the RDR-HXD-890 is designed to work seamlessly with all other Sony home cinema products, so that they can be controlled by just the one handset. However, I am still using separate handsets so that my brain can cope with what I am recording and where I am recording it, and what I am watching until I fully familiarize myself with the machine's capabilities.
What I have noticed but not yet attempted to use on the machine…
*A Series Link: With the touch of a button you can record automatically all episodes of your favourite soaps or series so that you will not miss anything during the season.
*PictBridge: This is a socket that I can connect to my printer that also has a PictBridge facility. That would be useful whilst viewing photos with friends that are stored on the hard drive or DVD. If they fancied having a copy of one, you can print it for them there and then without having to power up your computer.
*Enhanced Photo Slide Show: This is a feature that provides transition effects from one photo to another, and then there's the option to put frames around your photos and burn them later onto a DVD for sharing.
*USB and iLink Connection: There is a USB connection if you have a hard drive camcorder or camera that uses USB, or an iLink (firewire) connection if your camcorder uses this form of connection. This way your home videos and pictures can be copied over to DVD or the hard drive in the machine.
*Digital Music Jukebox: This is where you can store and playback up to 999 of your favourite songs.
I have only owned this machine for a short while so cannot comment on its durability, but I expect it to be like other Sony products that I have owned in the past. They may be a little more expensive than other makes, but I find them to be reliable and of a good build quality.
But having said that Sony products tend to be on the expensive side, I thought the price reduced from £250 to £230 for this machine was quite reasonable considering what its capabilities are. I did need though, to spend another £30 for a HDMI connection cable so that I could view in HD format where available. If you are prepared to buy from an Internet source, I should imagine there would be even better deals out there.