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DVD Recorder Tops Toshiba’s Lineup For ’02

Toshiba unveiled its first DVD recorder, which is based on the DVD-RAM/-R format, among its new lineup for the format.

The unit, model RD-X2, combines an 80GB hard disc drive for personal video recording and is slated to ship in the fall at $1,499.

The rewritable DVD-RAM format is not compatible with most DVD video players, including Toshiba’s, but Craig Eggers, Toshiba’s DVD product management director, said DVD-R discs are backward compatible with most brands of DVD players. Consumers who want to make recordings for other people can use the DVD-R format.

He said he saw the DVD-RAM discs being used primarily for editing video, backing up recordings on the hard drive and time shifting. The deck also offers relay recording which will allow programs being recorded on disc to automatically continue recording on the hard drive when space runs out — and vice versa.

For the PVR, Toshiba does not have a partnership with a program listings service, as UltimateTV, TiVo and ReplayTV do. Instead, the unit incorporates the Gemstar VCR+Plus service to make it easier to program the unit to record programs via special codes and a built-in timer.

Also introduced was a new portable DVD-video player with an 8.9-inch LCD screen that offers both progressive scan and DVD-Audio output for use with home theater systems.

Jodi Sally, Toshiba DVD marketing director, said the company strategy is to stay at the high-end of the high-growth portable category. Model SD-P2000 is slated to ship in June at $999.99.

In total the 2002 DVD lineup includes four models with progressive scan output and two models with DVD-Audio support (in addition to the SD-P2000 portable). Toshiba continued to evangelize the DVD-Audio format, and Eggers said the company had no plans to support the rival Super Audio CD format.

Sally said Toshiba will offer an expanded lineup of combo products this year, including TV/DVD players and “Tri-Play” TV/DVD/VCR combination units.

In Tri-Play the company is now offering the 20-inch and 24-inch screen sizes with flat-glass picture tubes, at $599.99 and $699.99, respectively.