There’s also an HDMI output, and because it’s specified as version 1.3 it supports Deep Colour, though with Deep Colour content only likely to be found on Blu-ray we’re not sure how useful this will be. Of greater interest is the built-in video upscaling to 576p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p, all of which are available from this socket (and can be selected using a handy button on the remote). This makes it an ideal pairing for a Full HD TV, particularly if you intend to use the Toshiba as your main DVD player.
Other connections include component video output, coaxial digital and analogue stereo audio outputs plus antenna input and loopthrough sockets, but if we’re being picky an optical digital audio output would have been nice. On the front panel are DV, S-video, composite and stereo audio inputs but no USB ports, which is a missed opportunity given the unit’s DivX, MP3 and JPEG support. As it stands the only way to play these formats is from CD or DVD.
Before recording you can choose one of five recording modes – XP offers the best picture quality giving one hour of recording time on a DVD, while the SP mode offers two hours at a slightly lower picture quality (but in our experience the difference is hardly noticeable). To increase the time further, you can select LP, EP or SLP, which offer four, six and eight hours respectively, but you will notice a big drop in picture quality using these modes.
After you’ve made a recording, it’s stored in the well-presented Title List, which uses moving thumbnails to help you identify recordings, but sadly doesn’t display the name of the programme for Freeview recordings. From here, you can access a range of editing features that allow you to rename, delete or add/remove chapter markers to your recordings. When using a VR-formatted DVD-RW disc, you can additionally add the title to a separate playlist or chop out unwanted scenes. When doing the latter, there’s a really useful feature that lets you view your edit before deleting the section. The equivalent feature for DVD+RW or DVD+R is the Hide Chapter mode, which skips chapters during playback but doesn’t delete it completely. Overall this is an excellent selection of editing features.
And the lack of a hard-disk doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some of the same features – as long as you’ve got a VR-formatted DVD-RW disc in the tray. The Time Slip mode does the same job as pause live TV, allowing you to pick up where you left off if the phone rings – but as it just creates a title on the hard-disk, you might as well just press record. Additionally you can watch a recording from the start while it’s still recording (chase playback) but both of these are only available when the recording mode is set to LP, EP or SLP.