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TOSHIBA D-VR3Even though its list price is $150 less than the LG's, the Toshiba D-VR3 is really a step-up model because it adds both VCR Plus+ programming and DVD-RAM compatibility. DVD-RAM is the most versatile recordable-DVD format because it not only supports the same sort of playlist editing you can do with DVD-RW in VR mode but also lets you play a recorded program while another is being recorded, a feature otherwise available only on hard-disk video recorders (like TiVo). Unfortunately, DVD-RAM discs are not widely compatible with other DVD players or standard computer DVD drives.
The Toshiba also adds a 6-hour recording mode (compared with LG's 4-hour maximum) for all three disc types it records on - DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, and DVD-R. While picture quality in this mode is pretty dismal (worse than VHS EP), it can be useful in capturing really long live events on DVD or for everyday TV shows you don't plan to archive.
Additional features that some will find appealing include a "commercial-killing" 30-second fast-forward VCR function, playback of S-VHS tapes (not recording), and a picture-in-picture (PIP) function that lets you watch a DVD and a TV program simultaneously. The Toshiba handset is preprogrammed to control a wide variety of TVs, but unlike the LG and JVC remotes, it has no glow-in-the-dark buttons (much less backlighting), making it harder to use after you turn down the lights to watch a movie.
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 17 x 3 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches PRICE $499 MANUFACTURER Toshiba America , www.tacp.toshiba.com, 800-631-3811
PLUS• Good performance • Records on DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW
MINUS• Remote hard to navigate in dim lighting