Among current basic DVD recorders, the Toshiba DR430 gets some recognition from experts but much more from owners. About.com's Robert Silva calls the DR430 "a budget-priced DVD recorder with very practical features." (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.) You won't find a digital tuner or wide compatibility with different file types (neither Windows Media nor DivX video files are supported), but you can play back music (MP3) and photos (JPEG) from a USB drive, and desirable extras such as chasing playback (you can begin watching a program before it's finished recording), time slip (watching one program while another is recorded) and commercial skip are present. A satellite link feature that turns on the recorder when it senses a video signal simplifies recording for cable TV subscribers -- assuming their converter box has its own timers.
The biggest drawback of the Toshiba DR430 is that it lacks its own tuner. That makes it a less-than-ideal choice for those who don't use a cable-company converter box or a satellite TV receiver to get their programming. If you get some or all of your TV programming over the air (via an antenna) or bypass using a cable-company box in favor of your TV's tuner or a CableCard, you'll want a DVD recorder with a tuner instead. Unfortunately, those are relatively scarce at present. The best choice is the Magnavox MDR515H/F7 ( *Est. $330). While this DVD recorder is much more expensive and a bit hard to find outside of Walmart.com, it does have the benefit of including a 500 GB hard drive. That allows the MDR515/F7 to mimic some of the capabilities of a digital video recorder (DVR) and removes some of the frustrations inherent in making DVDs with other types of DVD recorders.
User reviews of the Toshiba DR430 are fairly complimentary -- certainly much more so than for other basic DVD recorders of its type and in its price range -- though not everyone is pleased. Complaints are typical for DVD recorders -- especially those that lack their own tuners -- and include confusion about DVD formats and challenges in translating the manual into instructions that can easily be followed. Some build quality concerns are raised, and a few owners comment that their DR430 failed prematurely. Toshiba's customer service also comes in for some criticism. Still, far more seem perfectly happy with performance and usability. Most are pleased with picture quality, though those who choose to record at lower speeds are less so.
There's just a bit of feedback for the Toshiba DR430. The sole professional review comes from About.com, though Robert Silva's critique is more based on features than on testing. Users have lots more to say -- and more than 125 do just that at Amazon.com. We also found a smaller but still considerable body of reviews at both Walmart.com and BHPhotoVideo.com.
More than 125 owners leave comments about and ratings of the Toshiba DR430. While some are unhappy, most seem relatively pleased with its picture and performance, considering its price. Some confusion over this recorder's capabilities and features are the source of most negative reviews, but we also saw grousing over the quality of the DR430's construction, and a few say that their recorder died far too young. Still, the overall rating of 3.9 stars out of 5 is a bit better than basic recorders like the Toshiba DR430 typically earn.
Review: Toshiba DR430KU DVD Recorder - Black, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Toshiba DR430 is the only entry in About.com guide Robert Silva's list of the best DVD recorders. The review is brief and focuses on features rather than performance. Silva calls the recorder basic but practical, at least for cable TV or satellite TV subscribers who won't mind the recorder's lack of its own digital tuner. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: DVD Recorders - Top Picks, Robert Silva
Just under 40 owners review or rate the Toshiba DR430 at Walmart.com. Satisfaction scores just a touch higher than at Amazon.com, though positives and negatives seem similar. Roughly 83 percent say that they would recommend the DVD recorder to a friend.
Review: Toshiba DR430 DVD Recorder, Contributors to Walmart.com
This is the web site of B&H Photo and Video in New York City. Here, just under 30 owners share their impressions of the Toshiba DR430. Opinions largely mirror those found at Amazon.com, and the DVD recorder earns an identical rating of 3.9 stars. Still, 86 percent say they would tell a friend to buy one.
Review: Toshiba DR430 DVD Player/Recorder, Contributors to BHPhotoVideo.com
Only a handful of owners post their opinion of the Toshiba DR430 here, but satisfaction is much higher than at any other user review site. The recorder earns a score of 4.6 stars, and every owner says that they would recommend it to a friend.
Review: Toshiba DR430 DVD Recorder, Contributors to JR.com