A main feature of all three players is the ability to transcode in real-time an off-the-air MPEG2 high-definition signal into the more efficient MPEG4 AVC compression system. When used it means recorded HD content will take up less space so more can be stored in the recorder's hard-disk drive or on an HD DVD disc.
Toshiba says about 6 hours of content can be stored on a single-layer HD DVD-R disc.
Because the MPEG4 AVC data takes up less space it's also possible to store about 2 hours of content on a DVD-R using the recently standardized HD REC format.
The high-end RD-X7 recorder from Toshiba features 1080p (1080 horizontal lines with progressive scanning) video output at 24 frames per second, which is the highest of several grades of video signal judged to be high-definition. The other two recorders, the RD-A101 and RD-A201, didn't appear to offer this output based on available information from Toshiba.
The company hasn't announced when the recorders will hit the market but three manufacturers of recorders based on the competing Blu-ray Disc format, Sony Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic) and Sharp Corp., have all in the last month announced new machines for the year-end shopping season. To compete, Toshiba will likely have to release the new recorders in the coming weeks.