Sony’s HDD/DVD recorder combination is willing to go the extra mile to please consumers even if it is perhaps double the price of its competitors. But is this just Sony being expensive like no other or is the extra cost justified? We take a look and find out.
Wrap this all up in an elegant case and there is no denying the desirability of the deck, even at around £500.
Any qualms about that price are put into perspective when you put the RDR-HXD910 through its paces
First, it offers a generous 250GB hard drive, which means you can cram as much as 428 hours on to it in the lowest-quality recording mode (so recording a year of Eastenders Omnibus editions would only just make the hard drive over 25 per cent full).
It can also record on to both DVD+R/RW and -R/RW discs and is even compatible with dual-layer DVD+R discs.
There is a built-in Freeview tuner, the ability to transfer material from the hard disk to a DVD at up to 64x normal speed and a good range of editing functions.
Connectivity is first-class. There is an HDMI output capable of delivering 1920 x 1080i, 1280 x 720p or 720 x 480/576p signals (which you opt for will depend on your TV’s capabilities) and there is a component video output or RGB Scart for those without an HDMI-ready TV.
Flexibility is enhanced by the provision of eight recording modes (fitting up to eight hours on a single-layered DVD), and there is even an extra high-quality setting just for the HDD, for capturing perfect footage from a digital camcorder - yes, there is a dedicated DV input as well.
In the higher quality recording modes it captures an image that is indistinguishable from the original broadcast (having an RGB Scart input helps when you are recording from a set-top box, but so many digital recorders forget this).
The picture only begins to show signs of compression when you get to the 2.5- and three-hour settings, and it remains remarkably watchable even in eight-hour mode, although fast-paced sporting action is too much for it to handle.
Sony has gone to great lengths to make sure you get the picture you want by offering a wealth of picture adjustment options, but chances are you’ll be happy with things in the factory settings.
Without doubt, one of the best combis we have seen, combining superb build quality, elegant design and powerful specifications. If your budget can stretch to this end of the market the Sony is a serious rival for any other model out there.