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Toshiba Unveils `Super MultiDrive’ DVD Recorder

HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Building on its early attempts to develop the DVD recording market with a hybrid DVD-RAM/hard-drive video recorder, Toshiba unveiled its first multi-format DVD recorder.

The deck, model D-R1, will incorporate “Super MultiDrive” functionality to record and play back video using the DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD-RW recordable disc formats. It can also be set to output video signals in progressive scan format for playback through most digital television sets and monitors.

When using a disc based on the DVD-RAM rewritable format, the deck’s “Time Slip Function” has the ability to simultaneously record and play back recordings, enabling consumers to pause live television as well as begin viewing a program from the beginning while that recording is still in progress. However, Time Slip cannot be used with either the DVD-R or DVD-RW formats.

It will be equipped with a Gemstar VCR+Plus programming system. The deck is being promoted both as “a replacement to the VCR and it is also positioned for the more advanced user who wants to do some editing to the content,” said Stokely Marco, Toshiba A/V Group product planning director.

At a $599 suggested retail price, Toshiba believes the primary customers will continue to be early adopters and high-end users, therefore deck cosmetics feature a back-cut front panel and silver color to match with up-market flat-panel TVs.

On-deck control buttons are placed on top of the deck, in anticipation that many will be placed on lower shelves of component racks and TV stands.

Other key features include an XDS auto-clock system, multiple inputs and outputs including HD component video output, RF input, composite and S-video in/out jacks and an IEEE-1394 DV input to interface with camcorders.

Progressive scan output is provided through the HD component video jacks. Also added is a digital zoom function, virtual surround sound, onscreen control interface, and 10-second instant replay button, which jumps back 10 seconds into the video every time the button is pressed.

Incoming video signals are processed three ways: digital Y/C separation on composite and RF sources, digital 3-D noise reduction and digital time-based correction with a variable bit-rate buffer.

A Quick Menu system is added to easily access the most commonly used features, and an onscreen instruction manual is included.

Recording modes include long play (LP) and standard play (SP), with recording speeds of 4.6Mbps and 2.2Mbps, respectively. Users who wish to fine tune recording speeds can process video signals anywhere from 1.4Mbps to 9.2Mbps, adjustable at 2Mbps increments.

Audio quality is also adjustable with Dolby Digital output available at 2-channel 192Kbps or 384Kbps rates. Linear PCM recording is available along with video at selectable 16 or 48 bits.

An Intelligent High-Rate Allocation function is offered for use with the maximum 9.2Mbps video resolution to continuously analyze scenes. The feature can extend recording time on a disc anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes on average. This will help to ensure a full hour of programming that is recorded to a disc at the highest setting, the firm said.