Have you ever bought a low-priced, consumer electronics gadget (like, say at Costco), without really knowing the full extent of what it does and how it works? Costco is notorious for luring us into buying somewhat obscure inexpensive home electronics gadgets such as, TVs, DVD Players, Recorders, etc.,
When I say, obscure, I mean they use brands or model numbers that are difficult or impossible to research ahead of time or even after you’ve bought them! Often times, you might buy one of these items on impulse because of the great price, and Costco’s excellent return policy. By the time you bring your item home, you’re still not exactly sure of all of its features, benefits and shortcomings, but you know it’s probably good enough to do what you need or want it to do. That said, here’s the story behind the D-KR10KU Toshiba DVD Player and Recorder:
About the Toshiba DVD Player and Recorder
Knowing there are more complicated, technically advanced gadgets out there, I went ahead and bought a Toshiba DVD Video Recorder at Costco a few months ago. Easy and simple isn’t always best, but at least it’s affordable. I’ve rarely purchased a product from Costco that was inadequate or completely disappointing. My impressions of the D-KR10KU Toshiba DVD Recorder will hopefully reveal some of the mysteries about the most common asked questions, features and benefits of the product. For $100, I wasn’t expecting to buy a DVD Video Recorder with the latest and greatest features, but what exactly does this recorder not have that the other more expensive ones do? The answer to that question requires a little bit of exploration into the features, benefits and capabilities of today’s DVD Recorders.
D-KR10KU Key Features and Benefits
Before we talk about the recording functions, it is worth mentioning that this Toshiba DVD Player and Recorder functions as a fully equipped DVD Player with 1080P up-conversion, and full Dolby 5.1 and DTS Surround sound playback. The D-KR10KU records standard television programs on
DVD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+RW and DVD+R media. The D-KR10KU includes HDMI output and supports playback of commercial DVD movies in upconverted 1080P. This gives you the very highest picture quality for commercial DVD movies on a non-HD or Blue Ray DVD Player. You can record programs to a the DVD blank disks you would buy for your computer. Depending on the setting you choose you can record in five different quality modes and durations: XP: 60 Minutes, SP: 120 Minutes, LP: 240 Minutes, EP: 360 Minutes, SLP: 480 Minutes. You can choose between two different aspect ratios for playback, depending on your television screen capability: 4:3 or 16:9. As for audio; if you choose the high quality XP Recording mode, the D-KR10KU will record the highest quality PCM audio. Full Dolby Digital Audio recording is supported in the lower-quality recording modes. You can set your show recordings to a timer either by a 1-touch button or through a more advanced recording set-up screen. Recorded programming of the D-KR10KU can also be started from a signal of an external satellite link. The D-KR10KU includes some basic DV Dubbing features for use with your camcorder or other external video devices. Also, there are some pretty handy front inputs which include DV, SVHS and RCA Connectors. The included remote gives you full VCR style control of your program: pause, play, rev, skip, fwd, stop, rec, rec-mode, zoom, etc.. There are also menu, setup, input and number buttons to change tracks or chapters. That is pretty much a quick run-down of the D-KR10KU’s key features and capabilities. Here is how it all connects:
The output and input connections are rather limited, but cover most of the essentials. Here’s what you get:
I have to confess to being a bit underwhelmed when I set my D-KR10KU up for the first time. My first disappointment occurred when I realized that though I had an HDMI output, there was no high definition input. In other words, there is no way to get a high quality digital picture through the DVD Video Recorder tuner. My choices are SVHS or RCA inputs. Either of these give a pretty lousy picture, especially on a Digital Television like my 42″ LG LCD Flat Screen. I quickly reminded myself that I only paid $100 for this thing and I really just needed something to archive shows and football games off of my DVR tuner. I didn’t expect to get HD quality DVD archives, but it would have been nice to get something similar to commercial DVDs being played in 480P Progressive Scan. Note: The quality of recordings looks quite good on a standard analog television, particularly when recorded in the high-quality XP Mode. One other shortcoming is that while you can play movies in 5 or 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound, you can only record in either PCM or Dolby Audio stereo. Again, look at what I paid and remember there’s a reason that some recorders cost a few hundred dollars more. On a positive note: You can still watch your television show in HD while your show is being recorded through the SVHS or RCA analog inputs. Speaking of recording shows, So, now that you’ve had a basic overview on what the D-KR10KU DVD Recorder can and can’t do, lets talk about how:
Recording TV Shows on the D-KR10KU DVD Recorder
Connect one of your television, Cable or Satellite Box video/audio outputs to either the SVHS or RCA inputs of the Recorder. Recording a show is as simple as putting a blank DVD disk into the drive and pressing the record button. The default recording setting is XP which will give you one hour of the highest-quality recording time. If you would like more time, pressing the record button repeatedly will increase the recording time in 30 minute increments, all the way up to a full 8 hours (480 minutes). Keep in mind, 480 minute recordings are going to look like the were produced on a 1974 Fisher Price Toy. You can also do timed recordings through the menu setup feature using the remote control. In order to play a recorded DVD on other players, you will need to perform a ‘finalization of the disk’ which can be found in the DVD Setup menu.
Recording Digital Camcorder videos onto the D-KR10KU
The D-KR10KU comes with a handy front DV input made for your camcorder. Simply plug your Camcorders firewire cable into the front of the recorder, then press the ‘input’ button on your remote to select the DVD input. Press Play on your tape, then record on the DVD Recorder. That’s about all there is to it. You can also dub stereo audio tracks, which is something I haven’t tried.
Playing 1080P Up-conversion DVD Movie Titles with the D-KR10KU
There are four playback modes with indicator lights on the front of the recorder: 480P, 720P, 1080i and 1080P. Choosing 1080P is simply a matter of pressing the HDMI button on the DVD Remote until its indicator is lit on the front panel. On lower quality recordings, I noticed that it is worth experimenting with these four different choices. For Commercial DVD movies, I’d never use anything less than 1080P. They really look pretty close to HD, even though standard DVDs are not meant to be played that way.
Final Thoughts on Toshiba DVD D-KR10KU
Before I bless or curse this product with my final rating, It’s worth noting a few annoyances:
Loading and playing a DVD or CD is annoyingly slow.
I am unable to get any of my other remotes to control the unit. Perhaps there are codes somewhere for programming it, but I can’t find them.
There is no front panel indicator for song tracks when playing Music CDs.
I could use a USB connector for loading and playing MP3 music or videos.
The D-KR10KU is worth the $100 I paid for it at Costco. Now, that I’ve had a taste of what it can do, I look forward to the higher picture recording quality and capabilities of an upper-end DVD Video Recorder.
D-KR10KU Ratings (1-100)
Features and Benefits:70
Performance and Operation: 76