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on June 30, 2011
I bought this unit to replace a failed 7 year old Sony RDR GX-300 DVD recorder. After reading all the comments, I had mixed feelings. Upon receiving the unit and setting it up, here's what I found.

The Toshiba DR430 DVD Recorder is a solid DVD recorder. It records and plays all formats you'll ever need (+R, +RW, -R, -RW, and others I never came across). If you're over 40, your eyes may have a hard time with the remote, but some squinting will overcome this. This remote is like all other black remotes with gray buttons.

In regards to comments that this unit loads and formats disks slowly, that's a bunch of nonsense. All DVD recorders take a bit of time, period. Your not playing a store bought movie.

You can record in SP, LP and EP. You'll get different recording capacities per disk depending on quality wanted. Longer time = lower quality, less time = higher quality. Just like on the old VHS VCR recorders. It's a no brainer. You set that up easily with the RECORD MODE button on the remote. I never use the timer, I always use the ONE STEP RECORD button. Each push gives you 30 minutes of recording time, then the recording stops. Want to record a 90 minute movie off your Tivo, then press the record button 3 times, its that simple.

Paid $113 with free shipping and had it in 4 good condition. No dents in the box. It isn't repacked in a larger box though, but I received mine just fine.

The video and audio inputs and outputs are on the back You can use RCA or S cable. I'm using both and it doesn't care. There an input on the front, behind a small door, for recording (downloading) from a camcorder (or any other device).

The manual covers everything, but you have to read it to understand it. I got going in 15 minutes with the QUICK START sheet (4 pgs). One important thing to remember, after you make your recording on a disk, you have to FINALIZE it, so it will play on other DVD players. Remember to read up on FINALIZE in the manual, and you should have no problems.

The menus are very basic, especially the TITLE EDIT button, but simple is good. My earlier Sony DVD recorder took some time to get familiar with. This one is alot easier. A recommended buy.
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on October 8, 2011
When I bought this, I wanted something which would basically replace my old, dead VCR, but do it all with DVD media, not outdated VHS tapes, and that meant a DVD recorder. After doing my research and noting that this item seemed to fit my needs and wants, and while I can surely say that I had some early connection problems, after a short time of owning and using this, it is basically just about (but not completely) everything I wanted out of an old VCR replacement, but utilizing DVD discs, not VHS tape tech.

And that is a good thing, since of course, magnetic tapes deteriorate much faster than DVD discs ever will. As for "time-shifting" various programs for later viewing, this is even easier to program than my old VHS recorder. In other words, using a DVD-RW or DVD+RW disc, I can record a lot of stuff for later (at my convenience) viewing. And using DVDRW discs, erasing and recording over temporary stuff dozens of times seems easy, depending on the brand of RW media used. Most brand RW DVD disks will work, but some may not at all or quirky, so I'd recommend sticking to Memorex and Maxell DVD RW media. With other brands, and incompatible DVD - WRITE speed discs, problems can occur, so my advice is to stick to the two mentions. Sony and some other brands of DVDRW disks might have problems. Recommended brand RW disks are mentioned in the manual however, and are your best bet.

Aside from some early connection difficulties, and a few minor, easily solved problems here and there, this seems to do exactly what I wanted it to do, and does so on DVD discs. Programming this unit is easy, and with DVD's not VHS, there is no more need for searching via fast forward or reverse for what you recorded or want to play, just go to the DVD menu, find what you want, in chapters (10 min. long and other preset time periods), hit enter, and you're there, and then fast forward or backwards to get precisely where you want to. Various settings are endless. And this has so many, including zoom, frame by frame advance, various slow and fast motion speeds, and so many more.

This product records and mostly plays DVD's (DVD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD+R), and plays CD's (normal audio ones, and/or ones full of burned audio MP3's and/or JPEG picture files), but is also an "upconverting" player (up to 1080p Hi-Def). Which means this will make most modern, purchased non-HD DVD's look close to Blu-Ray upon playback. Assuming one has an HD TV and can play back HD. This is NOT a blu-ray recorder, and can only record standard resolution, but the upconverting feature looks great for most commercial disks. IMHO, most of your purchased DVD's will look great on this (and with an HDTV of course), so no need to scrap your standard DVD collection for now.

This has no tuner. Therefore, be aware you will NEED a cable and/or satellite service with multiple channels available, to use this fully, but if you're near a big city, and can pick up a lot of over-air stations with a simple antenna, that'll work. Hooking this up to cable (including on-demand) or satellite renders and engenders best and more numerous results however.

Do not place this on top of your TV and/or cable/dish box, as overheating of the unit can result in poor results and endless error messages. This needs space to breathe, so when setting it up, have this unit well-ventilated and away from the rest of your equipment.

The digital sound here is excellent, as is the quality of recorded media, even on an EP setting (where you can get 6 hours of stuff on one disc). There is also a front panel connection which you can use for gaming systems and/or digital cameras and videocameras (and even an old VCR if you have a working one and want to transfer VHS to DVD format). Overall, while I stumbled a bit along the way in setting all of this up to do what I wanted it to do, the simple fact is that this really is, as others have said, pretty much a perfect replacement for an old, outdated VHS recorder. It works much better with one-time use one time recordable DVD media than it does with RW disks, but the price of the former is so cheap these days, that shouldn't be a main concern.

I had some initial connection and overheating problems (simply solved by moving this away from nearness to a TV, cable/satellite box, game system, and/or other heat source), but since then, this has all worked really well. Old DVD's you might own (or had recorded on VHS/old TV's and/or had old VHS/DVD's transferred to DVD), might not playback in upconverted DVD but this is a bargain for now for what it does, and until actual blu-ray recorders become widely available and a lot cheaper, this is a very good buy. Comes with many available audio'visual inputs/outputs, in various formats. I'd suggest one have an HDMI cable for best connection to a HD display, but red, white, yellow connections are possible as well as RGB and "optical audio," so no matter what set up you might have/need, this will do the trick. Again, this does not create HD/Blu-Ray discs, but with upconversion, if you're trying to play in near HD most recently released standard definition DVD's, this works great. Actually, this unit does so many things and has so many great features, and settings, it would be near impossible to address them all here. Playing audio CD's and burned JPEG picture CD's are icing on the cake. Overall, this product offers much more than worth its price.

Finally, the manual included is very detailed and at over 100 pages, very complete AND easy to understand. Whatever your set up, I can't see anyone having any major problems with getting this to perform nicely. Plain one-time recording DVD's work best with this, re-recordable ones less so, but I have no major complaints. Why pay for nonthly DVR service on cable or satellite fees however, and not be able to save such to permanent or temporary hard DVD discs, when this will do the trick quite nicely?
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on December 1, 2010
I have 25 years of VHS tape of family events that I was worried might be deteriorating so I needed something to transfer them to DVD format. I read lots of reviews of various machines and finally settled on the Toshiba DR430. The low price was a big incentive. I am so glad I bought it. All I had to do was take it out of the box, connect it to my TV, connect the VCR to the Toshiba and I was on my way. No need to read the manual at all. Well, when it was done, I popped the first copy into another DVD player, I got nothing. No problem-I had not finalized it, which I found out when I called customer support (no manual reading for me!). He was very nice, directed me to the page in the manual, then waited while I followed the instructions to make sure I had no problems. It worked perfectly. The only thing that I would change is I would use DVD+RW discs instead of DVD+R so that I can edit the chapter names. I plan to buy some today. I brought the first copy to Thanksgiving and everyone watched the entire thing. Ha-I told them someday they would be grateful to me for videoing all those years and I was right. Even though then they were always waving me away.
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on October 15, 2010
Bought this DVR to enable me to transfer VCR tapes to DV. Although the manual does not specifically tell you how, it is really easy to figure it out. Play the VCR using AV cables into the front of the DVR and hit record. That is how easy it was. You do have to change the input to Front with the menu button. I have made many DV's with no problem and happy with it. I have also recorded TV shows directly from the Direct TV box via the S Video jack and the quality is superb!
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on November 18, 2011
>>> Introduction

Okay, I'll start by admitting that I am a geek, so my experience may not be reflective of yours.

I didn't even look at the manual initially. I looked at the back of the unit.


>>> First impressions

Each input and output is labeled clearly...and the recorder supports a lot more output options than input options.

One of the output options is HDMI, so I connected the recorder's HDMI out to one of my TV's HDMI inputs, which covers video and sound for that connection. They only provided three RCA-style cables in the box, so I had to use my own HDMI cable.

I then looked at input options. Like most such recorders, this one does not support component video or HDMI input sources. It just features composite video and S-video input jacks. Interestingly enough, it also lacks an RF (coax) input, which may make sense since it lacks a tuner, but this omission might impact folks who plan on connecting a very old VCR.


>>> Component, Composite, huh?

Component video uses 3 cables to deliver a video signal - with the various components of the overall signal (YPbPr) split across these three cables. In contrast, composite video uses a single cable for the entire video signal, which generally yields a lower quality video signal in comparison to S-video or component.

Hollywood and the movie studios pretty much blocked HDMI-based recording...and most DVD recorders omit component inputs since the recorders are just burning SD (not HD). I'd still rather connect the input video source with component inputs to get the best SD picture possible when down-converting HD video content from my FIOS DVR, but good luck finding that player for least without breaking the bank.


>>> Hooking things up

Since my FIOS DVR has both composite video and S-video outputs, I chose the higher quality S-video option (once again, using my own cable), hooked up the right and left audio channels, and fired it up. The result - sound on my TV, but no picture. Just a blue screen.

Okay, I'm not a I assumed that the recorder needs to know which video input that I am using, so I grabbed the remote, dropped into the Setup menu, and looked around...and after a couple of seconds, I found the setting to change video input from composite to S-video...exited the menu, and was good.

I then dropped in a blank disk, set the recording time for 4 hours, hit record, and then "play" on my DVR. I came back this morning and the recording worked fine on that recorder. It did not, however, work in another DVD player.

While I was in the Setup menu, I had selected "auto finalize", but it seems that option only works when you fill the disk or are using the timer to schedule a I jumped back into the recorder's menu and selected "finalize disc"...and after a minute, it claimed that it was done. I then dropped the disc in another player and it worked fine.


>>> Wrap up:

Yes, the manual could be better. I know, because I read it cover-to-cover while I was burning that first disc. :) The layout is poor...and it should have started with the physical connection of the device to the input and output sources in my opinion. It also could have been distilled to reduced some of the redundant content. That said, it does seem to contain all of the required info. The page that documents physically connecting the input source to the recorder via S-video even had a notation that indicated that I needed to refer to page 26 to see how change the video input setting that I discovered earlier on my own after encountering the audio-only blue screen.

Would component inputs be nice? Definitely. So would coax/RF for folks trying to connect a VCR that does not have a composite or S Video output, although I imagine that most VCRs that are still running should support composite and/or S-video should most DVRs.

So why four stars instead of five? Lack of support for dual layer burning. In fact, that omission bothers me enough that I considered dropping the rating to three stars...and would have awarded 3.5 stars if possible.

I suppose at the end of the day it's fairly inexpensive and provides an easy way to get content off of a DVR or VHS cassette without having to resort to a PC-based A/D I'll probably keep it, but if you are willing to spend more, you'll no doubt get a recorder that addresses some of these nits.

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on November 8, 2010
I purchased this digital video recorder because the disc burning function (only) of my Panasonic DMR-E80H (video hard disc recorder with internal dubbing to DVDs) stopped functioning. The Toshiba DR430 works fine for dubbing from the hard disc recorder for normal NTSC video. Images are sharp, and there is no color shift or contrast loss. I have not tried using the HDMI up-sampled output, only the normal NTSC analog video feed.

The DVD menu function is as basic as they come. Just a box with the small DVD title in plain text.
My 3-year old Panasonic provided (9) choices of title screens, all of which were much nicer looking than the ultra plain one on the Toshiba.

The unit has a USB port on the front panel, which will only work with a flash drive (no computer USB connection). Toshiba states that this will work with FAT16 and FAT32 formatted drives. Mine only works if the drive is formatted to FAT16. Virtually no other info is supplied for the use of this USB input. I found by experimentation that for a file to be recognized, it must be in the root directory. It won't be found if it's in a folder. I'd love to be able to record a slide show of images that are on a flash drive, but have no idea how to do this, or if it's even possible, although the manual implies that it might be. Plugging in a flash drive that contains JPEG image files displays the first one, but does not seem to allow recording a slide show to DVD. Again, the manual is useless.

Basic functions are easy to achieve, but the owner's manual is very poorly organized. Many functions are not mentioned in the table of contents, and there is no index at all. I'm still trying to figure out how to place "Chapter" markers on my DVDs. The manual implies that this can be done during the finalization process, but when I try, the "Place Chapter Marker" function is not available (only Titling).

Bottom line: An inexpensive, very basic, tunerless DVD recorder with a very poor owner's manual.

Come on, Toshiba, hire a technical writer and publish a coherent manual for this product.
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on October 2, 2010
I am very pleased with the performance of the Toshiba DR430 DVD Recorder. I learned that you have to finalize a disc whether it is formatted in Video or VR mode if you want to play it in other DVD players. The advantage of the VR mode is that you can go back and edit including "Undo Finalization". You can reformat in either mode. The manual is very helpful but I still had to go in the Internet to get answers. Adding titles to chapters is easy to do.

Delivery was prompt and the product was well packaged.
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on February 21, 2011
Had this a few weeks now and it is still working fine. It replaced a pansonic which only lasted for about a dozen recordings, unfortunately it died after the warrenty. Seldom used the panasonic and never put "library" dish in it. The Toshiba makes it so much easier to label segments that I am glad that I had to replace the panasonic. I only miss being able to change the clip index image (and the wasted money for the panasonic).
I thought that I would replace the panasonic with JVC or Sony but was surprised with all their negative reviews and the positive reviews for this Toshiba. It is important to read the manual carefully because it is poorly written and those tiny DVD icons are worthless and need to be annotated with a magic marker.
Also wonder why equipment designers use no common sense and insist on making equipment with tiny buttons and then making them black on a black panel but then having chrome trim where it is least needed.
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on October 13, 2011
I purchased this a few months ago to replace an old DVD/VCR recorder that was wearing out, and so far I am happy with it. It has a few little glitches or things I would have liked to be different, but overall it seems like a good reliable product.

Pros: 1. The recording and playback quality is great (have it connected w HDMI output and RYW input from satellite receiver), even on the lowest-quality recording settings. 2. After a little initial confusion with the menu setup and location of the remote buttons it's simple to use. 3. If you hit the record button once it will start recording, but pressing it multiple times sets the unit to automatically stop recording after 30, 60, 90, ... minutes, which is really convenient for recording a TV show or other standard-length event. 4. The user's manual is very detailed (~100 pages) but was straightforward enough that I (with very limited experience with this sort of thing) had the unit set up, figured out and running/recording in less than 15 minutes. 5. While the finalized DVD menus are basic, they have much more space for longer titles than my old Panasonic did, and show the complete title without truncating it. 6. It also lets you change the placement of chapter marks, but only with DVD+/-RW and DVD+R disks. I haven't used this feature because I record on DVD-R, but it seems like a great option. 7. And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than most of the other comparable models out there.

Cons: 1. It takes FOREVER to read a disk when first inserted, finish writing a recording to the disk, and finalize the disk. My old recorder would take a few seconds to do the first two and maybe 30-60 seconds to finalize, but this one seems to take much longer. Thankfully it hasn't happened to me yet, but if you ever decide to record something on short notice and don't have a disk in already you will probably miss the first minute or two of your program. 2. The finalized DVD menu is very basic, with just the text titles in rows. 3. It doesn't have a built-in tuner, so you will need to hook it up to an antenna, satellite, cable, or other video feed. 4. The DVD tray is fairly loud when it opens/closes and I'm not sure how good the quality of its motor is. 5. Last and probably least, the unit doesn't show the clock when it's turned on, just the input source (or at least I can't figure out how to make it show the clock instead).

To summarize, this might not be the newest or greatest DVD recorder, but if you're looking for a good recorder at a decent price with some neat features, look no further.
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on January 20, 2011
I'm very pleased with the Toshiba DR430 performance. One major reason for the selection is the inclusion of S-video connectors for input and output. So many of the new recorders have HDMI or video only. I wanted to convert a number of my VHS tapes to disc and the S-video capability of the DR430 was one of the very few on the current market that still have the S-video feature, so common on VHS players. I also appreciate the ability to pause during record (to bypass commercials or other material) unwanted on the disc. All-in-all, a great choice for me and everything works as specified.
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