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This review is for the Toshiba RD-XV59DT.
Well the DVD player is pretty easy to get ready but you will take a while to sort out the options. You plug the mains into the socket and you just have to wait for the system to load up.
You find the right channel usually for me it would be an AV scart section and you have a blue screen pop up. You use the remote control to select options such as your destination, time and whether you want the DVD recorder to actually find channels which is not advisable as will be explained later on.
Once the settings are done you can then go ahead and play anything you wish to on this system without any hassle at all.
The DVD recorder is mainly black which is perhaps obviously from the picture. On the front you have the main buttons and functions; you have the opening for the DVD's to be placed into and a VHS opening as well for the videos we all used to play all the time.
You have the power button on the front of the recorder which is the biggest button there and is situated on the left hand side and next to this button is the main LCD feature screen which displays information regarding what you are playing and channel you might be on currently.
Just below the LCD screen is the basic buttons like the Play, Record, Fast Forward and rewind buttons which are going to be useful for the VHS section mainly. At the back you have the scart connections and the mains power cable and that is all which is there.
Overall the colour suits the overall recorder and every button which is pressed is always highlighted in a green colour which again sets in well with the black overall colour of the product.
This product weighs 5.8kg in weight and if you want my advice this is false and I have weighed mine and it weighs just over 6kg so there is a difference from what you are told. Overall it is extremely heavy to pick up and move around.
The size of the recorder is 43.5cm in width, 10cm in height and 38cm in depth, so you can tell that the recorder does have a large depth which can be a big problem when trying to find a place to store this product.
The player has a 250GB hard disk space to save programs onto which I think is quite a large total and very acceptable for any recorder to have. The resolution is 1080i and I think this is not too bad but I feel could increase this quite a bit if they wanted to.
Pictures of Toshiba RD-XV59DT
machine has two scart sockets at the back so it is very good but they are one above the other which can be a problem but overall they look not too bad.
You can record 65 hours worth of high quality programs on to the HDD drive and if you want you can record 420 hours of low quality programs so you do have a big difference there but still quite a big space there.
This item also has Dolby Digital surround sound and is a multi regional DVD player as well.
Well the best feature without a doubt has to be the ability to save programmes of the television and watch them again later. I think that when we all sit there and see programmes and wish we had the Sky Plus feature we never consider other options available to us. This item actually is very good at letting you find the channel you want to record.
You find a program such as a movie and if you want it to record you just click on the HDD button and then record and it records that channel for as long as you tell it to. Sometimes you do get an option of recording for a set time period so you can tell it to record for a set period of time if you wish to do so which is very handy. So the ability to record any programme you want on to the HDD drive and watch again later is fantastic.
You can if you wish as well when the item has been recorded and you want to save it to DVD you can buy transferring it to DVD and I need to say this is illegal only if you try to sell the DVD, so please do not do this. I will admit I do save the odd movies the older classics and I keep them for myself so no harm to anyone. If you wish you can even transfer the items you have saved in the HDD drive to VHS but I think that would be a waste of time overall.
I like the way you can also if you are like me and have tones of VHS videos and your thinking by the time I get them on DVD it is going to cost me a fortune well this option can be averted and you can do it via this machine. You put your video inside and you then tell it to transfer to a blank disc you have got inside the DVD player.
Now you want a DVD+R in the DVD recorder so you can go ahead and transfer the film or whatever is on the video safely to the DVD you have got. This can take a very long time and usually the entire duration of the movie you are transferring.
You can use many types of DVD's as well which is fantastic. You can use the DVD+R and DVD-R and you can use DVD-RW and DVD+RW so there is a variety of features there for you to use.
When you are watching a movie you can actually change the dimensions of the screen you are using. At first I thought you had to have a certain television for this feature to work but you do not at all, you just tell the remote control what you want it to do. You can make the screen go Widescreen which I find is superb for the movies and if you wish to zoom into the movie due to the picture being small you can do that as well, which is additional help.
I like the way that when you are watching Freeview which is installed on this device you can actually pause and record live television so in theory it copies the concept of the Sky Plus idea and yet this is just a DVD player in theory so I think that is a fantastic added bonus to this item.
The ability to have everything you record turnout like HD programmes is another great feature the ability this machine has to turn normal programmes into top looking ones is tremendous and with the movies it makes them seem like movie releases which is superb in itself.
Without a doubt the ability to backup those videos and transfer the items on to DVD which will save you a lot of money in the process and be easy to do. I think how the HDD drive can store such a large amount of items and has such a large volume of space makes this item extra special. You can compare this to other sort of recorders around and there are bigger sizes available but most are around the same sort of size bracket which is very good for us as consumers.
I think the way you can change the picture as well is nice because I know sometimes you can turn a movie on and the screen size looks so small and yet you cannot alter the image so the ability to zoom into the movie you are watching can be beneficial for that reason and for people with vision which might not be the best.
The way the recorder is constantly keeping you informed with what you are doing I find really good as well. If you are like me and confused with buttons you press sometimes this device highlights all the buttons you press in green so you know what you have pressed and can easily keep control and not delete things accidentally.
Finally the remote control is so easy to use that if you need any help the control reveals to you what to do. The control has got ever single button labelled correctly and you can easily see what each button does so that again is very good and useful and not something which is difficult to use like some controls can be.
A small problem is how long the device takes to load up. You press the power button it takes you 30 seconds to wait for it to get ready and then you choose what you want to do, if you choose to watch a DVD the system takes 2 minutes to get ready to open the device to put the DVD inside and load it all up so that for me is too much time and effort and could be quicker.
Sometimes I find when you record a program to the HDD drive it doesn't always show up clear and concise as it did when it was aired on television. I am aware that it has been recorded and then watched again so you cannot expect top quality programming but this happens even when you record HD programs which the device is apparently capable of recording. So the problem at times with how the outcome of a recorded show in the HDD drive turns out can be a big cause for concern
If you try and locate channels to store on to this device you sometimes end up with issues when you are about to record a programme. For example if you load up a channel such as Sky One and want to record Sky Sports you will find the device will record what is currently on Sky One rather than your original choice, so you are best off not bothering to install channels and use the simple scart connections as they are easier to use.
Occasionally if you have a programme you have watched and recorded to the hard drive and had it in high sound for some reason it will turn the sound down and I have no idea why this is done for but it happens so often you do wonder. If can take away the depth of the sound and surround sort of style the programme had so this can happen occasionally.
The final issue I have found is that the overall size of the product. The depth for which this device can go is a big issue for me. I have a television which sits on top of this device and yet I could fit another two on top due to the depth. You might want this to put somewhere like a cabinet or to be in line with other items you have but due to the size it might end up looking totally out of place. So the depth for me is a big concern and doesn't need to be the size it is.
The device has a few good features and all easy to do and complete. You are never going to get confused as the control helps you as does the fantastic manual which accompanies this device.
I have had a few of these devices and this is the best one yet, you have clear images, top quality recordings and the ability to have this item record so many hours worth of programmes it is superb.
One of the things people need to watch is that the sound can disappear on recorded programmes which are a slight shame and the size of the device is big. Currently this item is around the £200 mark which is steep because Freeview and the huge storage are obviously increasing the price for this box but I feel it could be lower than this.