There was another interesting product at the Sony Experience expo: the Sony RDRHX760 DVD recorder. So what? This one has a built in standard definition digital TV tuner. About time!
Compared to the forthcoming Philips DVDR9000H it has some advantages and disadvantages. For the latter, mark down the (still more than adequate) 160GB versus the Philips’ 400GB, and the lack of a HDMI output.
But in its favour, at $999 it will have an RRP of just half that of the Philips. In fact, that’s a pretty reasonable price, putting it at $100 more than Sony’s current 160GB DVD recorder, which has an analogue tuner.
I had bit of a fiddle with it and generally it is pretty easy to use. But not all is perfect. For one thing, when you record something it is transcoded to one of the fixed Sony quality settings (1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 6 and 8 hours – I don’t recall the HQ+ hard disk drive high bit rate mode being there, so maybe, like Pioneer, Sony has dropped it. I can only imagine the millions of calls they get from people who have used this mode on hard disk recording, and then found they couldn’t copy it at high speed to a DVD-R). That means that quality advantages of having an inbuilt digital TV tuner, rather than having to sent it in via an analogue connection from an external tuner, are reduced somewhat. I do wish it had an ‘original bitrate’ mode, so that your recordings could be identical quality to what was broadcast.
There is also a ‘live pause’ capability. But this is horribly clunky. Once you invoke it, you can’t go back to live TV for something like a minute. There was talk of a buffer needing to be filled, but that doesn’t make much sense to me for no one else with a live pause option has this problem.
Still, this is Sony’s first bash at this and those issues are probably well worth living with simply because of the excellent price.
Due later this year.