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Sony RDR-HX715

DVD recorder with 160GB digital video recorder plus digital video output and upconversion

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  • Sony RDR-HX715

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  • Sony RDR-HX715

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  • Sony RDR-HX715

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Item #: 158HX715
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Sony RDR-HX715

by Amanda P.
Sony

Sony's RDR-HX715 combines exceptionally flexible recording features with cutting-edge picture quality. Its built-in digital video recorder (DVR) gives you convenient storage for your TV shows and home videos. Plus, it's one of our first DVD recorders that can upconvert standard DVD video to a resolution that more closely matches that of today's popular HDTVs. Just hook it up to any TV with a digital video input to enjoy crisp, detailed playback from all your DVDs.

The included TV Guide On Screen interactive program guide gives you an easy way to find the shows you want to watch and record. This free guide lets you view 8 days of program listings and sort them by category to find what you're looking for. To schedule a recording, all you have to do is highlight the listing and press a button. The 'HX715 can even control your cable box, so you never have to worry leaving it on the right channel.

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You'll love the DVR's flexible, disc-free recording capabilities. It can hold over 260 hours of programming — that's enough space to save entire seasons of your favorite shows, plus movies, sports events, and more. Access your recordings through an intuitive menu. Once you've watched a program, you can delete it to make room for new material or dub it to DVD to add to your collection.

Finding the show or scene you want to watch is a cinch. This smart recorder automatically creates chapter markers with thumbnail images when it notices drastic changes in lighting or sound, such as during a scene transition or a commercial break. You can use these same chapter markers to easily edit material you've recorded to the DVR — just highlight the chapter you want to delete, and press a button.

The 'HX715 is also a great choice for backing up home movies. Front-panel inputs let you hook up your VCR or camcorder and make recordings with the push of a button. Record your footage directly to DVD for a durable copy. If you'd like to make multiple copies, dub your footage to the DVR first, then burn DVDs to share with family and friends.

Highlights:

  • digital video upconversion
  • selectable 480p/720p/1080i output via HDMI digital interface (separate adapter available for TVs with DVI input)
  • built-in 160GB hard drive for recording/playback (holds 21 hours at best quality, 269 hours at lowest)
  • TV Guide On Screen free interactive program guide
  • IR blaster for controlling most brands of cable boxes
  • 9 recording quality settings
  • timer and manual recording options
  • simultaneous recording and playback
  • auto title/date/channel stamp with thumbnail image
  • intelligent scene chaptering
  • Visual Search for quicker editing (when using the DVR)
  • high-speed dubbing from DVR to DVD (16X max.)
  • auto channel set
  • selectable progressive-scan mode for smoother video with HD-compatible TVs via the component video output (progressive-scan mode is playback only)
  • optical and coaxial digital audio outputs for Dolby® Digital/DTS®/PCM
  • front-panel digital camcorder input (IEEE 1394) with one-touch recording
  • 3 sets of audio/video inputs (3 composite, 3 S-video, 1 component) including 1 front-panel
  • 1 set of audio/video outputs (composite, S-video, 480i/480p component video, and HDMI)
  • RF input/output (tuner pass through only)
  • standard TV tuner
  • records to the following types of discs:
    • write-once DVD-Rs and DVD+Rs, for making permanent recordings
    • rewritable DVD-RWs and DVD+RWs, for making recordings you can watch and then erase
    • compatible with DVD+R double-layer discs (hold up to 8.5GB)
  • plays DVD-Video, DVD-R & DVD-RW, DVD+R & DVD+RW, and Video CD
  • plays CD, CD-R & CD-RW, and MP3 CDs
  • plays digital photo CDs (JPEG)
  • remote control (multibrand for TVs)
  • 108MHz/12-bit video DAC
  • 96kHz/24-bit audio DAC
  • 16-15/16"W x 2-15/16"H x 14-9/16"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • internal dubbing of copy-protected DVDs is not possible
  • designed for use with "Region 1" coded DVDs

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

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
Number of Discs 1
Hard Drive Recorder Yes
Hard Drive Capacity 160 GB
Multibrand Remote Yes
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year
Compatibility
CD-R Capable Yes
CD-R/W Capable Yes
MP3 Playback Yes
WMA Playback No
SACD Playback No
DVD-Audio Playback No
Inputs
RCA Audio Inputs 3 Pair Stereo RCA
Composite Video Inputs 3
S-Video Inputs 3
Component Video Inputs 1
Outputs
HDMI Outputs Yes
S-Video Outputs 2
Component Video Outputs 1
RS-232C Port None
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • DVD Recorder with built-in 160GB hard disk drive
  • Wireless remote control (RMT-D218A)
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 80" AC power cord
  • 57" RF coax cable with slip-on "F" connectors on each end
  • 47" A/V patch cord (with stereo audio RCA plugs and composite video plug on each end)
  • Set top box controller (IR emitter) with 58" Cable and 3.5mm mini-plug
  • Double-sided tape (5/8" x 1/2")
  • Operating Instructions
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty sheet
  • On-line product registration sheet
  • Notes on using the TV Guide On Screen system and finalizing discs

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.

Features
Input and Output Notes

Features

Product Overview: The Sony RDR-HX715 can record video and audio to blank DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD+RW discs, or to the built-in 160 GB HDD (Hard Disk Drive). The unit has a front panel DV input jack (also referred to as iLINK or IEEE1394) for dubbing from Mini DV and Digital 8 camcorders. Three line inputs (two on the rear and one on the front) allow you to record from several sources. The built-in TV tuner, along with TV Guide On Screen, let you program your DVD recorder to catch your favorite TV shows.

HDMI Output: The HX715 features an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output, letting you enjoy superior quality digital picture and sound from one cable when connected to a TV or A/V receiver with an HDMI input. You can use the HDMI output to connect to a TV with a DVI input by using an HDMI-DVI adapter. Since DVI does not carry audio signals, a separate audio connection is needed from the DVD player to the TV. Note: The DVI jack must be HDCP compliant.

Video Scaling: The unit can scale video signals to High Definition quality 720p or 1080i and output them through the HDMI jack. In the Screen Setup menu, you can select the HDMI output as 480p (720 x 480p), 720p (1280 x 720p), 1080i (1920 x 1080i), or Auto (player selects the highest resolution acceptable to your TV).

Blank Disc Types: This unit can record on five types of blank DVDs. Here are the major differences in the disc types:

  • DVD-R: You can record only once on DVD-R discs (16x speed or slower, Ver.2.0, Ver.2.1), they are not erasable or rewritable, you can play finalized DVD-R discs on other DVD equipment
  • DVD+R: You can record only once on a DVD+R disc (16x speed or slower), they are not erasable or rewritable, you can playback only on DVD+R compatible players
  • DVD+R DL (Dual Layer): You can record once on a DVD+R DL disc, 2.4x speed
  • DVD+RW: You can erase and record over previously recorded material, however, it is more difficult to edit recorded contents without another recorder, DVD+RW discs can be played back on DVD+RW compatible players (Compatible with 8x speed or slower DVD+RW discs)
  • DVD-RW: You can erase and record over previously recorded material (Compatible with 6x speed or slower DVD-RW Ver.1.1, Ver.1.2 with CPRM). This disc can be formatted in two different recording modes:
    • DVD Video Format (Video Mode): Disc recorded in this mode can be played in many other DVD players, but editing is limited
    • DVD Video Recording Format (VR mode): Discs recorded in this mode won't playback in other DVD players as readily (VR compatible players only), recorded material can be edited on the disc without disturbing the original recordings, you can also add chapters after the recording

      Note: 8 cm discs cannot be used for recording

Recording Speeds: You can select from eight variable bit-rate speeds when recording to a blank DVD or the HDD. The picture quality generally improves as the recording time decreases. The recording speeds and approximate recording times in hours are:

Recording Mode HDD 4.7 GB DVD Dual Layer DVD
HQ HQ+*: 21 1 1.8
HQ: 33
HSP 51 1.5 2.7
SP 67 2 3.62
LSP 85 2.5 4.52
LP 103 3 5.42
EP 137 4 7.23
SLP 204 6 10.85
SEP 269 8 14.47

* HQ+ records pictures in higher quality than HQ on the HDD.

Dubbing: You can copy a recorded title on the internal HDD to a disc, or vice versa. You can select to dub one title at a time, or multiple titles at once. You cannot dub copy-protected DVDs to the HDD, or a program containing copy-protection signals from the HDD to the DVD. There are two dubbing methods:

  • High-speed Dubbing: Allows you to dub from the HDD to a high-speed DVD (8x-speed DVD+RWs, 6x-speed DVD-RWs, 16x-speed DVD+Rs, 16x-speed DVD-Rs, or slower versions of each type) without changing the recording mode, dubbing time varies based on the original record speed and the DVD speed
  • Rec Mode Conversion Dubbing: Allows you to dub from the HDD to a DVD, or vice versa, recording in a mode different from the original recording (example: dub an HQ title with its large data size to SP mode, you reduce the data size, using less space)

Chasing Playback: The Chasing Playback feature, available when recording to the HDD and DVD-RW discs in VR mode, allows you to view the beginning of a program while it is being recorded. You do not need to wait until the recording finishes. Playback starts at the beginning, and you can fast forward to the point that you are recording.

Simultaneous Record and Play: Simultaneous Record and Play allows you to view a previously recorded program while recording another program. Playback continues, even if a timer recording starts. While recording to the HDD, you can play another title on the HDD or play a previously recorded program on DVD. While recording to a DVD, you can play a previously recorded program on the HDD. While recording to a DVD-RW (VR mode), you can play another title on the same disc.

Instant Replay/Instant Advance: Instant Replay jumps backward 10 seconds to let you replay a scene or portion of dialog you may have missed. Instant Advance jumps ahead 30 seconds to quickly skip to another scene.

D/A Converters: This unit is equipped with a 12-bit video digital-to-analog converter with 108 MHz processing for high quality video performance. It also has a 96 kHz, 24-bit audio digital-to-analog converter for playback of multi-channel Dolby Digital and DTS-encoded soundtracks.

AV Sync: When the sound doesn't match the pictures on the screen, you can adjust the delay between the picture and the sound. The delay can be adjusted from 0 to 100 milliseconds.

Audio CD/MP3 Playback: The RDR-HX715 can playback audio CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and MP3 files recorded onto Data CDs (CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW). The MP3s must be recorded in ISO9660 Level 1, Level 2, or Joliet format with a bit rate up to 160 kbps for the recorder to recognize the tracks. The recorder can recognize up to 199 folders with up to 200 audio tracks within a single folder (maximum 999 combined files and folders). The mp3PRO format is not supported.

JPEG Disc Playback: This unit will play JPEG files recorded onto CD-ROM, CD-R and CD-RW discs using the ISO 9660 level 1/level 2, or Joliet formats and recorded on DVD-ROM, DVD+RW, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD-R discs using Universal Disc Format (UDF). You can display images in a slideshow and rotation images clockwise or counterclockwise.

Copy Protection/Copy Control: Pictures with copy protection cannot be recorded on this DVD/HDD recorder. When the recorder receives a copy guard signal while recording, the unit continues to record, but only a blank, gray-colored screen will be recorded. Some broadcasts that contain Copy Control signals may have one of three signal types: Copy-Free, Copy-Once, or Copy-Never. The recorder limits the recording according to the copy protection signal. Copy-Free encoded signals can be recorded at any time on the HDD or with any compatible blank disc type. Copy-Never encoded signals can not be recorded on this unit. Copy-Once programs can be recorded on the HDD or on a DVD-RW disc formatted in the VR mode, and can be played only on CPRM-compatible equipment.

DV Dubbing: You can transfer the contents from a MiniDV or Digital 8 digital video camera to the DVD/HDD recorder. When the two units are connected via an i-LINK cable, the recorder's remote controls the camcorder, allowing you to fast forward, rewind, play in slow motion, and stop the tape to select the scenes you want to record. A single i-LINK cable is required for connecting the camcorder and DVD recorder.

TV Tuner: The recorder has a built-in TV tuner to receive UHF, VHF, and cable broadcasts. Like a VCR records to a VHS cassette, TV shows can be recorded to the HDD or blank DVDs for time-shifting or archiving. Once the recorder has been connected to the antenna or cable, the Easy Setup guides you through the steps of setting the time, date, and searching for receivable channels.

TV Guide On Screen: The TV Guide On Screen system is a free interactive television program guide that receives its data from local broadcast stations, a cable box or a direct cable connection; the TV Guide On Screen feature doesn't work with satellite TV services or over the air digital television broadcasts. It displays up to eight days of program listings, including titles, descriptions, and promotions. The data for each television program is carried by the broadcast stations and is received through the antenna or cable box. Beyond the channel/time chart, you can find a program by listing them in alphabetical order, according to category, or using a key-word search. Once you have found the program you are looking for you can set the timer to record it. You can also have the guide Remind you a program is starting without recording it.

Recording TV Programs: The RDR-HX715 allows you to record programs in several ways:

  • Manual Recording: Record the currently tuned channel until you stop the recorder, the HDD or disc is full, or eight hours passes, whichever comes first
  • Quick Timer: Record the currently tuned channel in 30-minute increments up to 6 hours
  • Synchronized Recording: Automatically record from a connected component that has a timer function (cable box or satellite receiver), when the other component turns on, the recording starts automatically
  • Timer Recording: There are two types of timer recordings:
    • Manual Timer: You set the date, time and channel of the program manually
    • TV Guide On Screen: Choose a program listed in the TV Guide On Screen; this will work for shows received from local broadcast stations, a cable box or a direct cable connection; this feature won't work with satellite TV services or over the air digital television broadcasts.

Auto Chapter: When the auto chapter function is turned on a new chapter is created approximately every six minutes during recording.

Editing: This DVD recorder offers various options for editing recorded material. Basic editing functions include setting protection against erasure, labeling a title, erasing a title, erasing multiple titles, and erasing a section of a title (A-B Erase/DVD+RW only). Recordings on the HDD and a DVD-RW in VR mode offer more advanced editing options such as creating and editing playlists, rearranging the title order, combining multiple titles into one title, erasing individual chapters, and dividing a title into multiple titles (HDD only).

TVS (TV Virtual Surround): TVS was developed by Sony to produce home surround sound with just a stereo TV or stereo receiver. There are five TVS settings:

  • TVS Dynamic: Creates one set of virtual rear speakers
  • TVS Wide: Creates five sets of virtual rear speakers
  • TVS Night: Creates five sets of virtual rear speakers--effective at low volume
  • TVS Standard: Creates three sets of virtual rear speakers--effective when you use two separate front speakers
  • TVS Off: No surround effect

Parental Control: You can restrict playback of some DVD videos according to a predetermined level, such as the age of the users. Scenes may be blocked or replaced by different scenes. The parental control feature is protected by a 4-digit password.

Child Lock: You can lock the disc tray to prevent children from ejecting the disc.

Remote Control: The supplied remote control (RMT-D218A) can control the DVD recorder, as well multiple brands of TVs (basic functions) and A/V receivers (volume only). If you own another Sony DVD player or recorder, you can change the Command Mode of the recorder to one that doesn't interfere with the other player or recorder.

Input and Output Notes

A/V Inputs: This recorder features 3 audio/video inputs, two on the rear panel, and one on the front. These inputs include stereo audio RCA jacks, as well as composite and S-Video jacks.

Component Video Input: You can connect a cable box, satellite receiver, or other component with component video outputs to the DVD recorder. You cannot connect an HDTV tuner to the component video input, because it is compatible with standard definition interlaced signals only.

A/V Outputs: There are two audio/video outputs on the rear panel, each includes stereo audio RCA jacks, composite video, and S-Video jacks.

Component Video Output: The recorder can output video from the DVD and HDD through the unit's component video outputs. You can select interlaced or progressive scan playback from the component output.

Digital Outputs: This unit offers a coaxial digital and a Toslink optical digital output. These outputs are compatible with Dolby Digital and DTS, so you can connect the recorder to a surround sound receiver built-in with Dolby Digital and DTS decoders. You can also use the digital outputs to connect the DVD recorder to a MiniDisc or DAT deck. Note: You must select the proper settings in the setup menu for the type of digital output you desire.

DV Input: The front panel DV input (4-pin i-LINK) allows you to connect the recorder to a MiniDV or Digital 8 camcorder with a DV jack via a single cable. It is compatible with the i-LINK standard, and allows you dub from the DV-compatible device to the recorder. The DV IN jack is for input only. Note: Micro-MV format digital video cameras are not compatible with this recorder, even though they may have an i-LINK jack.

VHF/UHF In/Out: The VHF/UHF In jack allows you to input antenna and cable TV signals into the unit for recording your favorite programs. The VHF/UHF out jack outputs the antenna/cable TV signal, however the video signal from the DVD or HDD is not output through the VHF/UHF jack.

Set Top Box Control: The RDR-HX715 can control several brands of cable boxes and satellite receivers using the supplied Set Top Box Control. The IR emitter, which plugs into the 3.5mm mini-jack on the rear panel, can be attached to the cable box/satellite receiver, and can tune the set top box to the proper channel for timer recording.

G-Link: The 3.5mm mini-jack labeled "G-Link" is for service use only, it is not for use by the consumer.

 
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Sony RDR-HX715 Reviews

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1 out of 5

SONY RDR-HX 715

Written By jACK4465, CANFIELD,OHIO on Tuesday, November 25, 2008
 
I ORIGINALLY BOUGHT A RDR HX 900 AND REALLY LIKED IT.ALTHOUGH I HAD TO SEND IT TO SONY (OUT OF WARRANTY)FOR REPAIR (HD ERROR) AND THEY REPLACED THE HD AT NO CHARGE,FOR PARTS.WORKS FINE NOW.I THEN BOUGHT A NEWER UNIT THE RDR HX 715,(A DIGITAL UNIT) BASICALLY THE SAME THING.
THIS ONE WAS OUT OF WARRANTY ALSO AND I HAD IT 4 MOS. AND DURING THAT TIME IT HAD NUMEROUS PROBLEMS,IE:KEPT LOSING THE TV GUIDE,WEAK FRONT PANEL DISPLAY,LOCKED UP SEVERAL TIMES DURING VARIOUS FUNCTIONS,AND WOULDN'T SHUT OFF.I SENT IT BACK TO SONY AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT,THIS UNIT ONLY BEING 3 YEARS OLD,PARTS WERE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.THEY OFFERED ME AN APPROX.$100.00 CREDIT,LIST PRICE,TOWARDS A BLUE RAY PLAYER(WHICH I DON'T NEED) AND WOULDN'T DICKER AT ALL.
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4 out of 5

pleased with my decision

Written By Jennifer, ny, ny on Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
overall i like this unit. it did take three days for it to communicate with my cable set top box and get the grid but now that it's here, it seems accurate. the search feature in the grid is a bit tedious but it is also tedious in the time-warner grid. main gripe is:
1. if you have it set to record and
2. you turn on any of the grid menus (which show you your channel in the corner but feature the grid on most of the screen) and
3. you walk away from it left like that (on or off), when it goes into record mode you get the program just like you saw that channel last--in a little corner with the grid taking up most of the screen.

what it must be doing is telling the set top box to change to the right channel but since it's in grid mode, the viewing channel doesn't change but instead the grid shifts to show what is playing on that channel...so instead of the daily show, for instance, i got the grid with comedy central highlighted and another channel in the corner. don't recall leaving the grid up when i turned it off but i'll pay more attention from now on.
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

rudy

Written By Rudy, banning, ca on Tuesday, July 11, 2006
 
I have had this recorder for about 3 months now. The interface (menu) could be improved, its not very user friendly or intuitive, but I did manage to record almost all the world cup games. The quality of the recording is exceptional, it will be as good as your reception (not hdtv) and the playback shows no visible signs of degradation. However, for the money you might want something that records HDTV using blu-ray discs.
2 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Excellent DVR with a few exceptions.

Written By Joe, Nashville, TN on Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This DVR has been excellent and there are only a few things I would change, if I could. It would be handy if the front-panel display lights would indicate it is recording when 'power' is off. It has to be turned on to be sure it is recording. Also, the LEDs could be bigger.

Using the quick-timer function requires me to get close to the front-panel display to see how many 30-minute intervals have been selected. Displaying it on the screen would be handy.

So far, most of the functions have been easy to use and the manual is pretty clear about how to use each function or make settings.

This DVR is a little pricey but it has many features you will not find in a cheaper DVR. I am glad I bought it and it is the third one that I tried at home, but the previous two were returned.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Working well so far!

Written By Franck, Annandale, VA on Thursday, April 06, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I must be missing out on something. I read all of the reviews on Crutchfield before purchasing the RDR-HX715.
I am just not experiencing most of the problems that others are having. There is only one thing that I have tried to record that has failed and it was my fault.

The problem may be that I am not using all of the features provided. I have this unit working just fine with the i-link, S-Video I/O from Cox digital cable box to S-VHS then through to my Wega via my video tuner box, optical out and recording from cable.
I have sucessfully done simple editing with titles from the HDD over to DVD with success.
The only thing that is not working that I really would like to function is the channel scheduling. I can not download the channel guide. I am not giving up yet but it is not functioning. I really can't complain, it has been written up many times on this site so the warning was there. I just use it like a VCR and it wakes up the cable box, changes to the proper channel and starts recording.

The only other problem I have had was asking it to record in a mode that would not accomodate the time needed. I tried to record a 1.5 hour show for my son and had it in a mode that would only record 1 hour (my fault at that point). It did not warn me about this even though it was set in the timed record mode. It should have seen that I was asking it to record too much time in the wrong mode and warned me or fixed it automatically. Instead, I got nothing at all. It burned something to the disk but wouldn't work at all.

The picture is excellent. I am glad I purchased this and have no regrets!
11 out of 13 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Misleading Information - Worthless Component Inputs

Written By Jeff, Concord, CA on Sunday, February 26, 2006
 
For all of you looking to purchase the Sony HX715, you can thank me now for this review and also the MPAA for crippling virtually every consumer digital video recorder you hope to purchase. Sony does you a major injustice by not informing you that "component input" is really a white lie because it won't work for the purposes intended by the majority of you.

(1) Most important: As many of you know who have high definition tuners, video is broadcast in widescreen or 16:9. Virtually all current DVD recorders can record 16:9 but only contain S-VHS inputs. The HX715 is the first high end DVR to include component inputs. So you thought you could connect your high definition cable box's component inputs into the HX715, right? Wrong. Sony crippled the component inputs to make them absolutely worthless and say so on page 15 of the manual. You can only input 480i!!! That's right, no 480p, 720 or 1080 or else you get a blank white screen. If you try 16:9 at 480i from your HDTV tuner you'll get unacceptable jerky video. You can only do low resolution 4:3 over the component inputs.

(2) At $700 you'd think that you'd get quality accessories. I was shcoked to discover a remote control that was of lesser quality than the $100 DVD player I bought for my parents. It is not well designed. It has no backlighting either. It's cheap. It should tell you something when such a high end unit comes with zero accessories.

3) There is no flexible recording. You can only record 1 hour and then half hour intervals afterwards.
Basically, you'd have to be crazy to spend $700 on the Sony HX715. Sony and the MPAA should be ashamed of themselves for misleading consumers.
62 out of 75 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Technology Done Right

Written By Snakeman, Tidewater Area, Virginia on Wednesday, February 15, 2006
 
I bought this unit back in January, for the Winter Olympics, wanting to record the early morning/daytime action without a huge pile of tapes. But now that I have it, I'm making DVDs of some of favorite movies that haven't (and probably never will) make it to DVD. Also been recording a couple fave TV shows and burning them to DVD instead of making another mountain of tapes. I really love the TV Guide feature - way better than VCR+

I must say that I was expecting another hopeless manual, but Sony have really done a great job on the documentation for this unit. I'm an engineer, so I'm very picky about this, and I think it's first rate. Kudos!

I don't have a big fancy plasma TV or surround system, just a plain old 27" Zenith color TV, a regular stereo from 1984, and non-digital cable. But the connections on this box will let me expand that when I can. And the picture quality, even with the plain TV is excellent.

The menus can seem a bit daunting, but so far I have not found anything that I can't either figure out myself, or solve with a quick read of the manual. And even the troubleshooting info has come into play, when I couldn't figure out why no video from the connected VCR - got to set the input mode to S-video, courtesy of the troubleshooting section.

The only thing so far that gives me a pain is the scheme for doing titles for programs and discs - a screen with all the letters and numbers, and you navigate it one character at a time with the arrow keys on the remote. How much more could a small IR keyboard, or a PS2 jack on the front have added to the cost? But overall it's a minor thing.
4 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Sony RDR-HX715

Written By jrp351, east sparta , ohio on Sunday, January 29, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
i give the machine and remote a 5. the manual i'll be generous and give it a 1.5 so far the machine has been more than i dreamed it would be. rock solid. excellent picture and sound. smooth as silk. the buttons on the remote are a bit small; but function as they should. the manual,however is another story. be prepared to take your time reading thru this thing. i wrote my own manual just to keep each function in a more orderly manner. slow, but it helps. for this kind of money, you would think Sony could develope a manual that was just a bit more user friendly. over all a great machine.
9 out of 10 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

A word of warning

Written By Jack, Avenel, NJ on Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is a great unit and worth the price ... but just a word of warning. If you have a satellite system or digital cable (I have comcast digital) the electronic program guide stays blank. The disclammer is in the fine print under trobleshooting in the manual. There is no fix. I'd still recommend this unit, but that little detail should be in bold red type on the box, not buried on page 42.
24 out of 26 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

So far, So good!

Written By caissonrider, Iowa on Monday, January 02, 2006
 
I've only had this unit for a few days, but so far I really like it. I recently bought a Sony WEGA® HDTVKD-30XS955 high definition TV and have a Dish Network high def receiver, a Sony surround amplifier, a Sony CD recorder, a Sony VHS recorder and a Sony Commander remote control. OK, I'm a junkie.

I sure would have liked HDMI and/or optical input to go along with the output in this unit. It does have component video in which is nearly as good as the HDMI. My TV only has one HDMI in and I sure thought I would use that for the live high definition programs directly from the Dish receiver. This is not Sony's problem, but the Dish receiver will not simultaneously put out an HDMI and component signal! I guess that means I'm going to put that $120 HDMI connection away, buy another component cable and go all the way through the system with component connections. The components will be fine for the picture, but still no 5.1 Dolby pass through for recording to either DVD or the hard drive.

In the few short days I've had this machine I've recorded to the hard drive in the highest quality from a Sony Hi 8 digital video camera, from a VHS tape, from the Dish satellite receiver, and dubbed all of the above to DVDs from the hard drive. I've also time-recorded from the satellite receiver. All of the functions have gone perfectly and the quality of video reproduction is excellent. I have not yet used the component connections from the Dish receiver to the Sony DVR (because of the HDMI conflict on the Dish receiver noted above. I think I will only have even better picture reproduction once I go to the component inputs instead of the S-Video.
15 out of 17 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Amazing

Written By Buying Sony ES, Pasadena,MD on Saturday, December 24, 2005
 
This one recorder is the best i have purchased since they have came out i think sony is really starting to get thier act together this product and the ES products are great i havent had a problem yet. This product all around is very good quick and a good quility the picture is nice and the sound is very good just throw in a cd and it sounds so good on my sony ES rec. i had no problems with this except for the tv guide but if you have digital cable anyway u dont need it
12 out of 23 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Good DVR......but it really needs....

Written By P, Irvine, CA on Thursday, September 29, 2005
 
What's missing on this DVD/DVR Recorder is HDMI and digital optical inputs so people can archive their recorded hi-def programs on DVD discs.
245 out of 384 people found this helpful
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Add accessories for the Sony RDR-HX715

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. See all categories & accessories

Monster Cable Stereo Audio 200i Stereo interconnect cables with RCA plugs (2 meters/6.6 ft.)
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Maxell Recordable DVD-R Disc 4.7GB single-sided DVD-R, 16X-compatible (Single disc)
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Maxell DVD-LC DVD Lens Cleaner with Dolby Digital system sound check
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Monster HDTV Calibration Wizard Easy-to-use TV setup DVD
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Maxell CD-335 CD scratch repair kit
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Monster Video® 2 Composite video cable (2 meters, 6.6 ft.)
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Your Price: $29.95
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AudioQuest Forest OptiLink Optical digital audio cable (1.5 meters/5 feet)
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AudioQuest Cinnamon OptiLink Optical digital audio cable (3 meters/10 feet)
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CableTruth 303T Optical digital audio cable
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AudioQuest Vodka OptiLink Optical digital audio cable (1.5 meters/5 feet)
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