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Looking for a Toshiba RD-X2 owner to help with black level bug experiment  

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm looking for a Toshiba RD-X2 owner to help with an experiment to determine conclusively if it suffers from the same "black level" bug that the older Panasonics did. Basically, I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to record some test patterns, such as from the Avia Guide to Home Theater disc, onto DVD-R using their RD-X2 and send me the recording (I'll pay the expenses). I'll look at the MPEG file on the disc and see if black is at the right level. If anyone's already done this, or some other objective test, let me know so I don't duplicate the effort. :)

I'm interested because I've considered getting an RD-X2 or whatever model with a hard drive Toshiba brings out next in the US (if they ever do), but I'm concerned about this bug. I know the RD-X2 is pretty hard to come by these days, but at the very least I'm curious...

If anyone is willing to do this, send me a private message or post here and I'll send you one, so we can make arrangements.
post #2 of 7
Just curious why you are still interested in the RD-X2 after all these months with the E80 (no black level bug) now on the street including 80GB HDD and lossless/high speed DVD-RAM to DVD-R dubbing with custom chapter stops which were practically the only advantages that the RD-X2 had over the HS2 at the time? Is there another feature that the RD-X2 has (assuming that you could even get your hands on one) that the E80 doesn't?

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
One reason I'm still interested in the RD-X2 is that you can manually set the bitrate (in 0.2Mbps increments). An example of when I imagine this could be useful is when you want to record something at the maximum bitrate that would fit it, minus commericals, onto one disc. As I understand it, on the Panasonics you can only either choose one of the four pre-set bitrates XP, SP, LP, or EP; or you can use the flexible recording feature. If you use the flexible recording feature, it will choose a bitrate such that the entire recording, including commericals, will fit on the disc, meaning a lower bitrate than necessary if you're going to edit them out. I know that the standard solution to this on the Panasonics seems to be to record in XP, then edit and reencode using flexible recording, but on the Toshiba, as long as you can estimate the right bitrate you can avoid the reencoding.

There are also other features, like thumbnail images on DVD-R menus, lossless dubbing of playlists (although I think I read that the E100 adds this), and being able to dub from the hard drive back to the hard drive (for instance, to make a single program out of a playlist). I also have the impression that it will dub 16:9 material to DVD-R and flag it as 16:9 (I'm not sure about that, though), whereas the Panasonics (I think) will always flag it as 4:3 when writing to DVD-R.

It's not clear if Toshiba will ever release their newer models in the United States, but the latest one, the RD-XS31, can also write to DVD-RW.

I may end up buying an E80 in any case, as it seems like a great recorder and it's not clear that any of the Toshiba features I mentioned are crucial. I'm kind of interested in whether Toshiba has the black level bug even if I end up getting an E80, though - if it does, I'll see if I can get anywhere in convincing Toshiba that they should fix it in future models and give Panasonic some kind of competition. :)
post #4 of 7
I have an RD-X2 and would not mind assisting you. I don't have the Avia Disk but I have one on order.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Here are the results of the experiment - thanks to Macsog for sending me the test disc. He used a Pioneer DVR-7000 as the source to record parts of the Avia disc onto the RD-X2.

The RD-X2 definitely does have the black level bug. Black is recorded as a luma value of 33, rather than 16 as it should be. In addition, whites are lowered - white, which should be a luma value of 235, is recorded as 223. This is different from the HS2; on it, white was too high.

One of the test patterns we used was "Vertical 10 IRE Steps." The luma values from this pattern are shown below. "IRE" is what each test bar is supposed to produce, "Avia" is the luma value for that bar on the original disc, and "RD-X2" is how it was recorded by the RD-X2:
IRE    Avia   RD-X2     Difference
7.5      16      33             17
 10      22      37             15
 20      45      58             13
 30      69      79             10
 40      93     101              8
 50     116     119              3
 60     140     140              0
 70     163     160             -3
 80     187     182             -5
 90     210     202             -8
100     235     223            -12
So, everything below 60 IRE is too high, and everything above 60 IRE is a little too low.

A couple of other observations: the video is 720x480; I seem to remember reading that the Panasonics use 704x480 (this doesn't really matter because the resolution of the viewable area of the screen is the same; the extra pixels just make the picture extend further into the overscan area). Also, the file is VBR, as advertised by Toshiba.

By the way, I talked to a Toshiba rep recently (not about the black level as I hadn't done the test yet), and he insisted that the RD-X2 has not been discontinued, despite the fact that no one seems to sell it anymore. He gave me URLs for a couple places that supposedly do, but when I went to the sites I couldn't find any mention of the RD-X2. He also didn't know anything about the upcoming Toshiba D-R1, which was announced some time ago. :(
post #6 of 7
Braniac Toshiba has apparently bypassed the D-R1 for another see this
hope the RD-SX31 has the black level fixed because I really like the frame accurate editing on the RD-X2.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Macsog - thanks for the link to the article about the RD-XS31. One thing they're not very clear about is whether they're talking about a release in Japan or in the US. They mention a price in yen so it may be just for Japan... :(

If so, it would be the fourth model since the RD-X2 that they haven't released here (in Japan, there has been an RD-X3, RD-XS30, and an RD-XS40).
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