Just picked up a Toshiba sx35 w BB 30% off open box coupon. After one evening of comparing it to my 11 months old Pioneer 531H....Good things for Toshiba:
1: Created DVD menu options are best of DVD recorder breed.
I'm just learning how to use the Toshiba RD-KX50SU (which should be pretty function identical to the XS series), and I have to say the functionality is really mindblowing. Just the DVD menu creation is pretty amazing, imo. You can rename/hide/pick'n'choose chapters/titles/disc name, generate thumbnails, use a favorite scene as a menu background, pick colors for menus/characters/cursors. Insane, eh? I'm not saying it is an easy machine to use, but it is a kitchen sink of options.
Note: the Toshiba XS35 also will show only one choice on created DVD menu (no blank entries) if you have only one title on the DVD, as opposed to required muli-choices on Pany(6+) and Pioneer(3+).
2: Picture quality appears to very good. I judge subjectivily as equal to Pioneer. Good range of input adjustment options.
3: Three manuals, basic (setup), advanced operations(180 pages) and reference.
4: Has DV input, 160Gb disk and looks good(styling).
5: The recorded DVD-RW worked as designed in several players.Bad (not so good) things compared to Pioneer 531H:
1: Flags almost everything off my TWC digital cable box as copy once.. Can't copy it to a DVD. WTF... I did find a analog advertising channel that it said was ok to copy to DVD. None of my other DVD recorders have this "copy once" problem.
2: Doesn't pick up Recording title info from cable box like Pioneer.
3: Doesn't respond to any cable box generated VCR record/stop commands like the Pioneer. I tried all 8 Toshiba sets and the three xs35 option combinations.
3: Not as easy to use as Pioneer in virually any mode.
4:Title text entry is difficult. Pioneer can use number keypad (aka telephone style) in addition to on-screen matrix.
5: Hate the hidden buttons on remote, understand its similar to new 640 remote.
6: The FAN IS LOUD and keeps running on the Toshiba.
Toshiba has a lot of features and with features comes complexity It is capable of creating very good recordings on the hdd... Bad Items 1,2 and 3 are fatal flaws for me and my cable system. I did not try to load the TVGOS.
Soooo it'll be going back to BB.