What Hi Fi Sound and Vision
Mon, 13 Oct 2008, 9:00am
Ticks all our boxes for spec and performance – if you want a huge hard disk, this should be your weapon of choice
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- Stylish, simple to use
- good specification
- excellent TV picture and recordings
- good DVD picture
How much TV content do you really need to keep on your recorder's hard disk? Can you settle for burning those must-see-but-actually-never-got-round-to-watching movies to a disc, or must they remain on your hard disk? And are you really going to watch the rest of Ashes to Ashes or accept it just wasn't the same?
We only ask as the premium for this, the Sony
RDR-HXD995, over the cheaper RDR-HXD890
, is chiefly accounted for by its monstrous 250GB hard disk.
On-screen menus are easy to navigate
The unassuming, yet stylish 'HXD995 is very easy to navigate. The connection that sets this one apart from the cheaper model is the CI slot for TV cards, should you wish to top up your channels.
Elsewhere, there's an HDMI out with 1080p upscaling, two USB ports, a DV input and a digital audio coaxial output, alongside the Scart, component and S-video selection.
There are analogue and digital tuners (digital supports pause live TV), while disc compatibility is exhaustive, with only dual layer DVD+-R/RW discs off the menu.
Decent recordings, ample storage
The quality of the digital tuner is excellent. Colours are vivid yet natural, edges are drawn carefully and sharply, motion is smooth, and deep black levels are handled well.
Not only is the recording process a painless one, but the results are pleasing. The top modes prove utterly faithful – with 250GB to play with, why bother with anything lower?
The icing on the cake is a clean, detailed and involving DVD picture when using the recorder's on-board scaler. Sonically this recorder is decent too, digital audio making a decent stab at filling our room and delivering detail and dynamics.
So another full thumbs-up for a Sony DVD recorder – you just have to decide how much storage you need.