This is exactly the same scenario my brother had with his now dead Pioneer DVR-320-S. Power went out and all was lost thereafter. Still has a DVD inside which I can't figure out how to extricate. There is no pinhole on the tray panel.
He seems to be happy with his 515 and to me looks damn near new. It came in a plain box but everything was there with remote, instructions and cables. No previous recordings were on it.
He did however complain that there was no TV volume control on the remote. My XS34 has that universal capability. What I noticed about it was the previews (similar to Panasonic's) which automatically play recorded shows within the title list. My Toshiba only displays a thumbnail of the recording which I prefer.
I did like the fact of one touch recordings up to six hours! I wish my Toshiba had that feature.
Seems to be a nice recorder. Since most of the DVD HDD recorder market is very limited due to cable and satellite DVR's, it's nice to know you can still retain your own recordings even if you switch providers. Wonder though how long this will last?