When looking for an easy to use DVD recorder player that offers top quality results at a genuinely bargain price, it’s hard to beat the Toshiba DR430. If you’ve had the opportunity to read our reviews of top DVD/VCR Combo Players, this review may seem rather familiar in that one of the top ranked units in that category is also by Toshiba and offers only a couple of additional features. The good news is that, if you don’t need those extra features, the DR430 will provide the same quality product for less than half the price. We think it’s the best deal around for a good DVD recorder with some pretty remarkable advanced functionality and that's why we gave it our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award.
There is no shortage of home entertainment options available to today’s consumer and, frankly, which one is best for a given individual can often be a bit confusing. We often find that the best solutions are often among the simplest ones and the Toshiba DR430 will be just that solution for many people. While it’s true that Digital Video Recorders (DVR) like TiVo seem to get most of the attention for recording TV programming, a DVD recorder can be a good alternative and often a preferable one.
When programming is recorded onto a DVD, it’s essentially permanent unlike recordings made to a DVR which are superb, for example, for time shifting but are not a good way to keep entire seasons of favorite shows. That’s where the DVD recorder excels. With the DR430, recording programs is about as easy as it can get. Select your station and press the record button and you’re done.
It’s also a great platform for dubbing from existing VHS video tapes or DVDs. A VHS or another DVD player can easily be connected to the unit’s RCA or S-Video inputs and again, recording is simply a matter of selecting the input source and pressing record. If you already have a VHS player and would like to save precious memories to DVD, this is a superb, inexpensive solution. For those who have a library of VHS tapes that need to be archived but don’t already have a player, we suggest looking at our DVD/VCR Combo Players review site for handy alternatives.
The front panel DV input is an exceptionally simple way to make camcorder recordings permanent on DVD as well.
It’s important to note that this device doesn’t have an integrated tuner so, for recording incoming TV signals, it does require the connection of a cable or satellite box or, in the case of those who receive broadcast programming via antenna, a digital converter box. For consumers who find this unit to be ideal except for the lack of a tuner, check out the Toshiba DR570 which is essentially identical but adds a tuner.
An important step in creating a DVD recording is the finalization process. When a recording is complete, it’s necessary for the recorder to accomplish this task or the DVD will be unusable on another deck. The unfortunate part is that it’s easy to forget this step. Not so with this recorder which features Auto Finalization virtually eliminating this potential problem. It also boasts a rather unusual finalization undo capability so if a disc has been finalized then you decide that you want to record more material to it, it can be done.
A favorite feature that the DR430 shares with many of the best contemporary DVD players is the ability to up convert standard DVD content to near high definition 1080p via the HDMI interface. When so connected to an HDTV, the picture quality can come remarkably close to true HD. This applies to homemade discs as well as standard definition, factory produced DVDs.
This recorder supports five distinct recording modes. The best is XP and will record an hour of content to DVD. Recording time can be doubled to two hours with the SP mode with very little quality loss. It also supports LP, EP and SLP modes yielding four, six and eight hours, respectively, but each step down will result in quality degradation which, especially at the lowest levels, will be unacceptable for many applications. Audio CDs can be used to playback MP3 and WMA file types and, as with DVD playback, audio is in Dolby Digital with Virtual Surround Sound for discs that support it. It will also display JPEG photos recorded on disc.
The Toshiba DR430 is an excellent option for anyone who wants to make permanent DVD copies of valued content in their VHS library before that technology becomes completely obsolete and unusable. It’s also a great way to dub from other DVDs or to make a lasting library of television programming. It’s up converting capability will also help make the most of standard DVDs when paired with an HDTV. The results are high quality and at its low price, the unit is a great buy.