If there's one sure thing about the so-called HD TV format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD it's that none of us should be rushing out to buy either right now. The latest high-definition recorders from Toshiba Japan underline that in heavy red ink.
Toshiba's two new Vardia-brand HD DVD machines both record HD TV to HD DVD-R disks and combine that with huge hard drives. The RD-A600 (¥200,000, £835) has a 600GB drive, while the RD-A300 (¥150,000, £626) has, as you might guess, half the capacity.
One step forward
The bit about not buying into any of this makes sense when you consider that the predecessor to both these machines was launched just last July at a cost of almost £1,700. The RD-A1 had a monstrous 1TB hard drive but an equally huge weight of 15kg and simply wasn't as good.
The two new Vardia weigh less than half of that and offer considerably more features. Most significant are the dual HD TV tuners that allow recording of two broadcasts at once, an improved menu system and up-conversion of standard DVDs to 1080p.
Throw in FireWire dubbing and the ability to act as a server to stream high-definition video to other networked devices using the DTCP-IP protocol and you have a pair of machines that are clearly very capable, yet somehow make us want to wait for the next great leap forward.