Toshiba's RD-XS34 is a great way to record your TV shows and home movies. This flexible, intuitive combo deck features a built-in DVD recorder and a digital video recorder (DVR). Between its free interactive program guide, spacious hard drive, and smart DVD recording features, you'll never want to give up this user-friendly recorder.

Finding and recording your TV shows is a cinch with the TV Guide On Screen program guide. It lets you access 8 days of program listings. You can search them by keyword or sort them by category to quickly find what you want to watch. When you locate a show you'd like to save, simply highlight the listing and press "record."

With its 160GB DVR, this deck is fully equipped for disc-free, worry-free recording. No more rushing to find a blank DVD before the start of ER. Just schedule your recording, then let the DVR take care of the rest. And for added convenience, the 'XS34 can switch your cable box to the right channel at the right time.

The 'XS34 makes it a snap to save material to DVD, too. It helps keep your recordings organized by automatically capturing the date, channel, and a thumbnail image for each. You can also set chapter markers in each title for jumping right to the good stuff. And this Toshiba is a great choice for folks who want an easy way to back up their home videos. Handy front-panel inputs make it a breeze to hook up a VCR or camcorder. Plus, when you connect your digital camcorder through the digital video input, this smart recorder puts interactive controls on your TV screen for effortless copying.

Shipping Note: Sorry, we can only ship Toshiba products to the 49 continental United States and Washington D.C.; we can't ship them to Hawaii or U.S. Territories. (Solamente es posible enviar productos de la Toshiba dentro los 49 estados unidos continentales y Washington D.C.)

Consumer Alert: This component has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission's digital television website at: www.dtv.gov

Product Highlights:

  • built-in 160GB hard drive for recording/playback (holds 36 hours at best quality, 284 hours at lowest)
  • TV Guide On Screen free interactive program guide
  • records to the following types of discs:
    • write-once DVD-Rs, for making permanent recordings
    • rewritable DVD-RWs and DVD-RAM discs, for making recordings you can watch and then erase
  • plays DVD-Video, DVD-R & DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, and Video CD
  • plays CD, CD-R & CD-RW, MP3 and WMA CDs
  • plays digital picture CDs (JPEG)
  • IR blaster for controlling most brands of cable boxes
  • 11 recording quality settings, including 1 user-customizable setting
  • one-touch recording
  • timer and manual recording options
  • simultaneous recording and playback
  • auto title/date/channel stamp with thumbnail image
  • playlist editing and auto chapter creation
  • high-speed dubbing from DVR to DVD-RAM (24X max.) and DVD-R (32X max.)
  • selectable progressive-scan mode for smoother video with HD-compatible TVs via the component video output (progressive-scan mode is playback only)
  • optical digital output for Dolby Digital®/DTS®/PCM
  • front-panel digital camcorder input (IEEE 1394) with on-screen camcorder dubbing controls
  • 3 sets of A/V inputs (composite and S-video) including 1 front-panel
  • 1 set of A/V outputs (composite, S-video, and 480i/480p component video)
  • RF input/output (tuner pass through only)
  • TV tuner
  • remote control (multibrand for TVs)
  • 17"W x 2-1/2"H x 14-3/4"D
  • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • internal dubbing of copy-protected DVDs is not possible
  • designed for use with "Region 1" coded DVDs

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Silver DVD recorder with built-in 160GB hard drive and attached 6' AC power cord
  • Wireless remote control (SE-R0144)
  • 2 "AAA" batteries
  • 4.7GB blank DVD-RAM
  • 58" A/V patch cord (stereo RCA audio and RCA composite video plugs on both ends)
  • 5' RF coax cable
  • IR blaster with attached 16.25' cord (1/8" mini-plug on the end)
  • Dual-sided tape (for attaching IR blaster)
  • Operating Instructions
  • Installation Guide
  • Quick Reference Guide (English)
  • Quick Reference Guide (Spanish)
  • Notes on TV Guide On Screen (English/Spanish/French)
  • Product Registration card
  • Note on contacting Toshiba

Product Research

Recording Features
Playback Features

Remote Control

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Recording Features

Product Overview: The Toshiba RD-XS34 can record video and audio to blank DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD-R discs, including blank discs in cartridges. It can also record video and audio onto its built-in 160 GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). The unit also features TV Guide On Screen programming guide and a front panel DV input for digital camcorders.

Hard Disk Drive (HDD): The unit's built-in 160 GB Hard Disk Drive lets you record up to 270 hours. The HDD is designed as a temporary storage device for recorded content for viewing once, editing, or saving to a DVD disc.

Recording Modes: You can choose one of ten preset recording modes to obtain a desired picture quality:

Picture Quality Rate Bit Rate (Mbps) Sound Quality Approximate DVD Recording Capacity
(on a 4.7GB disc)
Approximate Hard Disc Recording Capacity
XP-Audio 8.0 L-PCM 1 hour 36 hours
XP 9.2 Compressed/384 kbps 1 hour 36 hours
EXP-Audio 4.8 L-PCM 1.5 hours 51 hours
EXP 6.2 Compressed/192 kbps 1.5 hours 51 hours
SP-Audio 3.2 L-PCM 2 hours 68 hours
SP 4.6 Compressed/192 kbps 2 hours 68 hours
MP 3.0 Compressed/192 kbps 3 hours 102 hours
LP 2.2 Compressed/192 kbps 4 hours 136 hours
EP 1.4 Compressed/192 kbps 6 hours 204 hours
SEP 1.0 Compressed/192 kbps 8 hours 284 hours

Note: There are also three manual settings with the bit rate variable from 2.0 to 9.2 and selectable sound quality.

Sound Quality: When recording, sounds are converted into digital signals in one of three formats; L-PCM (Linear PCM/uncompressed), compressed at approximately 384 kbps (Dolby Digital/M2), or compressed at approximately 192 kbps (Dolby Digital/M1).

Title Capacity: Programs and chapters within programs recorded on this unit can be given titles. You can record up to 396 titles on the HDD and up to 99 titles on one disc. You cannot record the same program on the HDD and disc at the same time.

TV Guide On Screen: TV Guide On Screen is a free, interactive TV program guide built into the RD-XS34, allowing you to easily select programs to record or watch. The guide provides up to eight days of programming information, and gives you handy search tools to easily find the program you're looking for.

Quick Menu: The Quick Menu provides convenient options relevant to the current status of the recorder. When the recorder is in the playback mode, the Quick Menu give you multiple playback options, such as repeat, random and memory playback.

Aspect Ratio: When recording on DVD-R or DVD-RW discs you can set the recorded aspect ratio to 4:3 or 16:9.

Dubbing: You can dub programs from DVD to the HDD, or from the HDD to DVD. Using high speed recording with compatible discs you can transfer an entire disc in a short time. Note: You cannot dub any commercially available DVDs that are copy protected.

TV Tuner: The DVD recorder has a built-in NTSC TV tuner. Like a VCR records to a VHS cassette, TV shows can be recorded to HDD, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, or DVD-R with this unit.

Chapter Create: When you record on a DVD-R or DVD-RW the RD-XS34 can automatically add chapter marks every 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes. This feature can also be turned off.

Copy Protection: Some TV programs have encoded copy protection, (using CPRM--Content Protection for Recordable Media) allowing them to be recorded only once. When a "record one time" program has been recorded on DVD-RAM or HDD, you can "transfer" the program from one drive to the other (ex. from HDD to DVD-RAM) with the recorded content deleted from the source drive. "Record one time" programs cannot be recorded to DVD-R or DVD-RW discs. Note: Most pre-recorded DVDs have copy protection that prevents them from being recorded at all.

Relay Recording: When a DVD-RAM disc has about 10 minutes recording time left and more time to go on the programmed recording, the recorder starts recording the same content on the HDD and simultaneously places a chapter mark on both. When there isn't room on the hard drive relay recording is canceled and it can be turned off manually.

Editing: Once a program (title) is recorded, it can be erased (in full or in parts), named, protected from accidental erasure (HDD and DVD-RAM), and thumbnail images can be created and changed. Within each title, you can name, erase, divide, or combine chapters.

Playlists: On the HDD or a DVD-RAM you can arrange chapters in any order to create a playlist. Once a playlist is created, you can name, copy, erase, and change thumbnails. Within each playlist, you can add, move, divide, combine or erase chapters.

Finalizing Discs: Like a CD recorder, this unit can finalize a DVD-R or DVD-RW after recording so it can be played on another DVD player (finalizing a DVD-R or DVD-RW effectively converts it into a DVD Video). DVD-RAM discs recorded with this unit are not finalized and cannot be played in most DVD players.

Playback Features

Disc Compatibility: In addition to recording and playing back DVD-RAM, DVD-R, and DVD-RW discs, the RD-XS34 can playback DVD-Video, Video CD, Audio CD, CD-R, CD-RW, and MP3, WMA, and JPEG files (on CD-R and CD-ROM).

MP3 Playback: This unit can playback MP3 files recorded onto a CD-R or CD-ROM disc with a computer (CD-RW is not recommended). Discs must conform to ISO9660 Level 1, 2 or Joliet. The compatible sampling rates range from 8 to 48 kHz and the compatible compression rates range from 8 to 320 kbps. Both constant and variable bit rates are supported. This unit is compatible with ID3 tag version 2.

WMA Playback: This unit can playback WMA files recorded onto a CD-R or CD-ROM disc with a computer (CD-RW is not recommended). Discs must conform to ISO9660 Level 1, 2 or Joliet. The compatible sampling rates range from 32 to 48 kHz and the compatible compression rates range from 48 to 192 kbps. Both constant and variable bit rates are supported.

Still Picture Playback: You can view JPEG images on your TV. The unit can handle a maximum of 1000 files and 256 folders on a disc. Compatibility is best if neither the height nor width of the file is greater than 5000 pixels.

Chasing Play: While recording on a DVD-RAM disc or HDD, you can start watching the same program being recorded from the beginning, while the unit records a later part of the same program.

Simultaneous Record and Play: While recording on a DVD-RAM disc or HDD, you can watch one show on the disc while the unit is recording another. Editing programs during Simultaneous Record and Play is not possible.

Pause: Any remaining space on the hard drive can be used to temporarily store the current program. This way you can pause live TV.

Audio D/A Converter: This unit includes a 192kHz/24-bit audio digital-to-analog converter for superb audio reproduction.

Video D/A Converter: This unit includes a 54MHz/10-bit video digital-to-analog converter which reduces digital artifacts for a better picture.

Progressive Scan Output: You can set the player to output a progressive scan (480p) or interlaced (480i) video signal from the component video output. Progressive-scan viewing requires a TV with a progressive scan compatible component video input.

Video Noise Reduction: There are three noise reduction circuits; 3D-Digital Noise Reduction, Mosquito Noise Reduction, and Block Noise Reduction. Each can be independently turned on and off to best suit the video playing.

Virtual Surround: If you are only using two front speakers in your system, this feature simulates a surround-sound environment. Virtual surround works with Dolby Digital recordings only.

Resume Function: When the Stop button is pressed, that position is stored in the memory. When the Play button is pressed after pressing the Stop button, playback resumes from the position where the disc was stopped. The resume function is canceled if the disc tray is opened or the Stop button is pressed a second time.

Multi-Angle Function: This function allows you to choose the viewing angle of scenes that were shot from a number of different angles. Note: This function is limited to DVDs recorded with multiple camera angles.

Repeat: Titles, chapters, tracks, discs, original titles, and playlist titles can be repeated. A specific part of a disc can also be repeated (A-B repeat).

Random Play: The titles and chapters on a video disc and the tracks on an audio disc can be played in random order.

Slow Motion/Frame-by-Frame: You can play video back in slow-motion in either direction at 1/2, 1/8, or 1/16 speed, when paused you can advance one frame at a time in either direction (forward only using VCD ).

Time Bar: The time bar displays the current position within the title playing, for example, minute 18 of a half hour recorded TV show, or minute 42 of a 136 minute prerecorded DVD.

Instant Skip: The Instant Skip button skips forward a specified amount of time during playback. The interval options are 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and 5 minutes.

Parental Control: You can select a parental control rating from 1-8, which is protected by a 4-digit password.

Child Lock: The disc tray can be locked to prevent any foreign object from being inserted.

Still Mode: You can specify the type of picture shown when the player is paused, Auto or Frame. Select Frame to display high resolution still images.

Black Level Control: You can adjust the black level of the video output signal (composite and S-video) by selecting standard or enhanced. Enhanced displays deeper, richer black levels than standard.

Dynamic Range Control: When playing a Dolby Digital-encoded DVD, you can turn the Dynamic Range Control on to limit the dynamic range (how loud the loud passages are) for late night viewing. This is often referred to as a Midnight Mode or Late Night Mode.

Karaoke: The main vocal track can be removed from a Karaoke DVD recorded in Dolby Digital Multi Channel format.

Remote Control

Remote Control: The supplied remote (SE-R0144) is pre-coded to operate the basic functions of most brands of TVs, so you can control the recorder and your television with one remote. The remote control code can be set to one of three codes so this remote doesn't interfere with other Toshiba DVD equipment in the same system.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Front Panel A/V Inputs: The unit has a set of audio/video inputs on the front panel behind a fold-down door. The inputs include stereo audio RCA jacks, RCA composite video jack, and an S-video jack.

DV Input: Next to the front panel A/V inputs, the RD-XS34 features a 4-pin DV input (IEEE1384/i-LINK) for connecting a digital camcorder.

Optical Digital Output: In addition to the stereo analog audio outputs, this unit has an optical digital output, compatible with Dolby Digital and DTS. To enjoy multi-channel surround sound from this output, you will need to connect a receiver/amplifier with a built-in Dolby Digital/DTS decoder.

Component Video Output: In addition to the composite video output and S-video output, this unit is equipped with a set of component video outputs on the rear panel. The component video output can be set for interlaced or progressive scanning depending upon the compatibility of the connected TV.

RF Input/Output: The RF Out connection is a pass-through output for the antenna or cable signal fed to the RF In connector. The video signal is not output through the RF Out connection, neither DVD nor HDD.

G-Link: This unit features a 1/8" female mini-jack on the rear panel for connecting the supplied IR blaster. This jack allows the recorder to switch the channels on a cable TV box.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Toshiba RD-XS34 Reviews

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Nice Device

Written By Louis, Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, October 30, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

pros
1. coolest piece of A/V equipment i've ever owned
2. the standard SP recording makes the playback look BETTER than the original broadcast
3. tons on inputs and outputs, including component and s-video
4. lots of editing features
5. very neat library/media listing

cons
1. way too many menus (very confusing) - all the options could have been condensed in a better way
2. a fan runs all the time, even when powered off - a little bit noisy and makes me worry about the bearings; i spoke with a crutchfield tech and he said this is the way it is supposed to be
3. the on-screen TV Guide does not list the channels by their sequential number by default. you need to manually re-order them
4. tv-guide moves a bit slow

Get everything you’ll need to enjoy your new Toshiba RD-XS34

Don't let your components go up in smoke. Use reliable power protection to keep it safe and improve its performance.
You need at least one audio cable going to and from your receiver (two if you want to run both analog and digital for recording purposes). Only one set of analog cables is included.
Your recorder has a built-in hard drive, but you'll want to save some recordings on a disc. You probably want at least one re-recordable disc to practice on first. None are included with this recorder.
Keeping clean discs and routinely using a lens cleaning disc will prolong the life of your recorder.
If you're connecting the audio signal from your DVD recorder to your receiver using the optical digital output, you'll need a cable. None are included with the recorder.
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