Toshiba Launches New Hard Disk Recorder with HD DVD in Japan

31 October, 2007

New Recorder Allows Recording of Up To Two Hours*1 of HD Video*2
on 4.7GB DVD-R Disc*3


TOKYO--Toshiba Corporation today announced the launch of a new digital video recorder (DVR) with HD DVD drive that integrates key new features that bring greater freedom of recording to the HD DVD, including recording of HD video to standard DVD discs. The new DVR, HD DVD VARDIA RD-A301, integrates HD Transcoder, which achieves longer recording time for high-definition (HD) video, and also supports"HD Rec", which allows recording of HD video*2 to standard DVD discs*3 in HD quality. The RD-A301 will be available in the Japanese market in the middle of December, and advance orders will be accepted from November 1.

The RD-A301 integrates an HD Transcoder that converts MPEG2 video, the standard for digital HD broadcasts, to MPEG4 AVC, a high-efficiency video compression technology that supports longer recording times while maintaining picture quality. As a result, longer HD videos can be recorded to HD DVD-R discs. The DVR also supports "HD Rec", which facilitates recording of HD video*2 on conventional DVD discs, such as DVD-R discs*3. "HD Rec" allows a single-layer 4.7GB DVD-R disc to store up to two hours*1 of HD video, working in combination with HD Transcoder.

By utilizing the MPEG4 AVC HD Transcoder when recording HD broadcasts to its integrated 300-gigabyte (GB) hard disk, the RD-A301 can store as much as 159 hours*4 of video in HD picture quality, compared to about 39 hours*5 for HD DVD recorders without the new features. The new DVR also integrates an HD DVD recordable drive that supports recording and playback of HD DVD-R, DVD-R, DVD-RAM and DVD-RW discs, allowing consumers to record to various kinds of DVD discs. The powerful combination of these capabilities with the new HD Transcoder and "HD Rec" offers viewers a wide range of choices of recording media, including highly affordable DVD discs.

The RD-A301 also supports dual recording of HD broadcasts, a very popular feature of earlier VARDIA models, and can record two digital HD broadcasts simultaneously. This is a must-have feature when viewers want to record two programs that are on at the same time. The new DVR also achieves significant advances in downsizing, with a height of only 69mm.

From November 1, 2007 to January 31, 2008, Toshiba will run a HD DVD player and recorder marketing campaign that will include a free HD DVD of "Transformers", this year's mega-hit movie, for purchasers of a relevant HD DVD product who register for the campaign.

The new DVR is compliant with the EU RoHS*6 directive on environmentally hazardous substances, which came into force in July 2006.

Product Outline

Product Outline


The growth of digital terrestrial broadcasting and increasing penetration of large screen, high definition TVs are spurring demand for the ability to record HD broadcasts easily and to enjoy the full potential of recorded HD content. Toshiba's RD-A301 provides longer recording times for HD broadcasts on HD DVD and conventional DVD discs. By enhancing the HD DVD VARDIA series with RD-A301 as an additional entry-level model, Toshiba aims to boost its share of the market for hard disk DVR with the next generation DVD.

Key Features of New DVR

1. Support for "HD Rec" feature that can record HD video in conventional DVD discs

The new DVR is the first model to support "HD Rec", a format for recording HD video*7 to conventional DVD discs*3 standardized by the DVD Forum. Furthermore, by initializing a DVD disc with HDVR format, titles recorded in VR-mode, TS-mode and MPEG4 AVC transcoded TSE-mode can all be stored together in a single DVD disc. "HD Rec" is suitable for viewers who want a simple method for recording HD and SD broadcasts in standard DVD.

2. Integration of HD Transcoder: longer recording of HD video

By integrating HD Transcoder, which transcodes the MPEG2 video used in digital HD broadcasting into MPEG4 AVC, the new DVR achieves longer recording times for HD video. As video is transcoded at the same resolution as the original broadcasted, full-HD can be recorded at the same picture quality. As audio data is not converted in transcoding, recorded broadcast sound remains as it is in AAC up to 5.1ch x 2 stream. The data transfer rate in transcoding can be selected from among 47 rate settings, from 3.6Mbps to 17Mbps, offering consumers a wide variety choices that can be matched with the disc used for recording. When recorded in HD Transconding (TSE-mode)*8, a single-layer 4.7GB DVD-R disc can store from approx. 29 minutes (17Mbps) to two hours (3.6Mbps) of HD video, while a single-layer 15GB HD DVD-R disc can store from around 1 hour 45 minutes (17Mbps) to seven hours (3.6Mbps).

3. Support for dubbing from D-VHS using i.LINK

In addition to standard support for "i.LINK dubbing" of HD video by connecting the DVR with another Toshiba DVR that supports i.LINK, the new DVR also supports "i.LINK dubbing" from D-VHS. This allows viewers to build an HD DVD and DVD library of HD content*9 recorded in the past on D-VHS tape.


Support HD DVD for enhanced experience of HD picture quality


The integrated HD DVD recordable drive supports recording of HD television programs to HD DVD-R discs and playback of HD DVD titles. Alongside superb image and sound recording and playback, the new DVR also supports the extensive range of advanced features*10 offered by HD DVD titles.

The new DVR also supports various discs, including playback of DVD packaged software, recording and playback of DVD-RAM, DVD-R, and DVD-RW discs, and playback of music CD.

5.  Other features

By connecting the new DVR with Toshiba REGZA LCD TV through an HDMI cable, a remote controller for the REGZA TV can be used to operate the DVR. For example, playback of HD DVD movie software and recorded content, or setting program recording using REGZA's full-HD electronic program guide on display.

(2) Support for dual-recording of HD broadcasting program
By integrating digital tuners into two systems covering the full range of HD broadcasting sources-- terrestrial, broadcast satellite (BS) and 110° communications satellite (CS) broadcasts-- the new VARDIA DVR can record two digital HD broadcasts simultaneously, an essential feature for viewers who want to record two programs at the same time.

6. Toshiba HD DVD Campaign of "Transformers"

From November 1, 2007 to January 31, 2008, Toshiba will promote a marketing campaign that offers a free HD DVD of "Transformers" to purchasers of a relevant HD DVD product who register for the campaign. The scope of the gifts is shown below.

Toshiba HD DVD Campaign of “Transformers


When recorded at the transfer rate (about 4.0Mbps and 5.1ch audio in one stream) of TSE mode (MPEG4 AVC). It is required to record to hard disk in TS mode first, then transcode the recorded data in TSE mode, and transfer to a disc.


Application for approval to record HD broadcasts to DVD is pending at the Association for Promotion of Digital Broadcasting (Dpa). (As of October 31, 2007)

*3 A 3X speed or faster CPRM compatible single layer DVD-R disc is required. HDVR format can be used for DVD-R DL, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM discs, but these discs may not playback when recorded in TS mode at a high bit rate.
*4 When recorded at the transfer rate (about 3.6Mbps and 5.1ch audio in one stream) of TSE mode (MPEG4 AVC). At the launch, direct recording to hard disk or DVD disc in TSE mode is not possible. It is required to record to hard disk in TS mode first and transcode the recorded data in TSE mode. Direct recording to hard disk in TSE mode will be supported later by firmware update. The update schedule will be published on Toshiba's web site in due course.

Recording of digital terrestrial broadcasts at approx.17Mbps in TS mode in HD picture quality.


RoHS is a European Union environmental directive that eliminates the use of six hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

*7 Direct recording to a DVD disc is not possible. Recording to a DVD disc can be done by dubbing from HDD.
*8 When recording 5.1ch audio one stream broadcast. At the launch, direct recording to hard disk in TSE mode is not possible. Recording to a DVD disc can be done by dubbing from HDD.
*9 Applicable only for copy-free content
*10 Updates to recorder firmware may be required for some interactive features, depending on content, which may also require an always-on broadband internet connection. Some features may require additional bandwidth. Some features may be subject to delayed availability.

Key Specifications

Key Specifications

Key Specifications
  • RD-A301 supports AACS (Advanced Access Content System), the latest content protection system.
  • An HDTV or HD display equipped with D3/D4 input, HDCP capable HDMI input, or component video input is required for high-definition viewing. Other TVs or displays can display content, but not in high definition. Also, some content may not playback or playback in lower resolution on equipment with D3/D4 and component video output.
  • HDMI and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks of HDMI Licensing, L.L.C.
  • HD DVD and DVD are trademarks of the DVD Format/Logo Licensing Corporation.
  • Manufactured under license from Dolby Laboratories. Dolby and the double-D symbol are registered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories.
  • DTS and TDS Digital Surround are registered trademarks of DTS, Inc.
  • i.LINK is a registered trademark of Sony Corporation.
  • Other company names and products names are the trademarks or registered trademarks of each company.
  • Service via the Internet may be subject to temporary cessation or termination without notice.
  • Some discs may not playback or record.
  • Some discs may be incompatible with playback and/or record.
  • Recording of audio and video is for personal use only, and unauthorized use is prohibited under the copyright laws.
  • While Toshiba has made every effort at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, product specifications are subject to change without notice.
  • Not all discs and output connectors are compatible and no guarantee of performance is made hereby.
  • Actual writing speed may decrease from the actual speed.
  • These digital AV products integrate diverse software. The hard disk and HD DVD drive are connected via an ATAPI interface, a PC-based connection standard, and both the hardware and software are managed via operating system software, like a PC. For this reason, it takes some time to load the system.
  • While designed to be robust, the hard disk contains moving parts, and may be damaged if proper conditions of use are not observed. If a part of the hard disk platter becomes damaged, programs recorded on that part may exhibit block noise with increasing frequency when played back. If you notice such noise or problem, you will have to replace the hard disk, at cost.
  • We do not recommend using the hard disk for long term storage of programs. Transfer important programs that you want to save to a recordable DVD disc. Recordable DVD discs are also susceptible to damage if not handled and stored carefully, and as a result some of all of the programs stored on them may become unplayable. Reduce these risks by using high quality DVD recordable discs and checking their playability from time to time. Recovery of programs deleted from the hard disk is not guaranteed.
  • Hard disk capacity is calculated on the basis of 1GB =1 billion bytes.

Information in the press releases, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the press announcement,but is subject to change without prior notice.