At a recent press event, Toshiba launched its new digital video recorder (DVR), the HD DVD VARDIA RD-A301. Using its built in HD Transcoder, the RD-A301 can record 159 hours of high-def video to its built in hard drive or nearly 16 hours onto a 30GB HD DVD disc. The RD-A301 also supports Toshiba's new HD Rec feature which allows it to record up to two hours of high-def video onto a single layer DVD-R disc.

Toshiba Corporation today announced the launch of a new digital video recorder (DVR) with HD DVD drive that integrates key new features that bring greater freedom of recording to the HD DVD, including recording of HD video to standard DVD discs. The new DVR, HD DVD VARDIA RD-A301, integrates HD Transcoder, which achieves longer recording time for high-definition (HD) video, and also supports"HD Rec", which allows recording of HD video to standard DVD discs in HD quality. The RD-A301 will be available in the Japanese market in the middle of December, and advance orders will be accepted from November 1.

The RD-A301 integrates an HD Transcoder that converts MPEG2 video, the standard for digital HD broadcasts, to MPEG4 AVC, a high-efficiency video compression technology that supports longer recording times while maintaining picture quality. As a result, longer HD videos can be recorded to HD DVD-R discs. The DVR also supports "HD Rec", which facilitates recording of HD video on conventional DVD discs, such as DVD-R discs. "HD Rec" allows a single-layer 4.7GB DVD-R disc to store up to two hours of HD video, working in combination with HD Transcoder.
The HD DVD VARDIA RD-A301 will ship in mid-December and is expected to cost about 100,000 Yen ($868US). More information, including a full list of specs, can be found here.