The problem is that the inputs on a dvd recorder are composite and s-video. The composite and s-video outputs on my Motorola dvr only distribute letterboxed, not anamorphic widescreen. I wish dvd recorders had component or hdmi inputs so that it could copy anamorphic programming (even though downrezzed from HD).
The only way to do this is to get a device that converts the component output from your source to composite/S-video for your dvd player. Here is a thread that talks about that very subject:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=828063
I use a device from Ambery, but it seems the website is no longer there. It also cost more than the dvd player itself, but it does the job.
The good news about the Toshiba dvd recorder is that you can set the widescreen flag. It's the only recorder I could find that has this option and the reason I bought this one. Although the recording is the same regardless of the flag, playback uses the flag. If you play a movie with the widescreen on a 4x3 tv, it will still display correctly with bars on the top and bottom instead of thin faces.
Amazing that they make this stuff so complicated. You'd think there would be a standard way to record anamorphic widescreen content onto a dvd that would play correctly on both 16x9 and 4x3 tv's without doing all this.