On board are four recording presets that let you change the picture quality in order to fit more programmes on the hard-disk or DVD when recording from external sources. You can fit 53 hours of programmes onto the hard-disk in XP mode, increasing to 106, 211 and 421 hours in SP, LP and EP modes respectively, with bitrates ranging from about 8.5Mbps in XP down to 1.2Mbps in EP. These recording modes are more useful when recording onto DVD where space is limited, and you can fit one hour onto a single layer DVD in XP mode and up to 8 hours in EP.
There’s also a Flexible Recording setting, which finds the most suitable recording mode according to the time remaining on a disc. But unusually, when recording from the Freeview tuner the deck limits you to FR mode, which means you’re stuck with whatever recording mode it deems suitable for the selected channel. The idea is to stop you eating up unnecessary disc space by selecting a better mode than you actually need for the source material. A good idea in principle, but some users may not like being restricted in that way.
Recordings are stored in the Title List menu, a smartly presented screen that plays the highlighted recording in a small box and lists the recording codec, date, time and recording mode. It’s a shame it doesn’t automatically label each recording with the correct programme name, but you can rename them using a virtual keyboard.
There’s also a list of editing options, which among other things allows you to split or delete part of a recording, while the impressive Playlist feature lets you fuse together scenes from any recording using a surprisingly user-friendly editing tool. It’s easy to move scenes around or replace them, and the resulting list plays back with only a momentary pause between scenes and no picture break up around the edit points, no matter how short the scenes are.
There are plenty of other features on board, including pause live TV (Time Shift), simultaneous recording/playback, Anynet+ HDMI CEC, video upscaling to 720p, 1080i and 1080p, Dolby Digital and DTS bitstream output, progressive scan component video output and 3D Noise Reduction for recording.
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