toshiba xs34 - my thoughts


Standard Member
I picked one up a couple of weeks ago, after reading plenty of threads on here - thanks to everyone for their advice.

I got it from Costco Oldham (last one!) for £325-ish (after VAT). I couldn't find anyone online with a cheaper one in stock - and I was impatient!

Here are my first impressions:

The manual is big, badly translated and not much help!
Setting up was OK though, most things are self explanatory. I've not done any editing or anything yet.

All I've done so far is record to the HDD, I wonder if/when I'll use the DVD recorder (probably for archiving only).
It came with a DVD-RAM disk and all the leads I needed.

The pic quality is great - indistinguishable from real TV, and much better than VHS.
Timeslip is great. LOVE IT! Easy, works well.

It will control my Sky box (a Pace), very nice touch, and the feature which convinced me to get this over the competition. Very handy, and works very well.

It IS noisy in use. Not hugely, but quite distracting when nothing else is on.

So far I feel I've barely scratched the surface of what it can do, but I'm very pleased with it.


Yeah, everyday you find some new feature on it....makes a nice change!


Distinguished Member
There are 2 aspects to DVD-compatible mode, only one of which applies in the UK.

The first, and important one, relates to use of a non-standard resolution used with recording rates between 3.0 and 3.8 inclusive. If DVD compatible mode is off, the XS34 uses a resolution which is not allowed in the DVD-Video standard, but is OK for –VR mode. This gives a better picture when recording to the HDD, but means it can’t be high speed dubbed, or recorded directly, to a DVD-video. Note that with a recording rate of 4.0 or above the XS34 always records in full resolution, with less than 3.0 it is always half resolution.

So, if you want to make DVD-Video compatible recordings and are likely to use a rate of 3.0 to 3.8, you want to turn DVD-compatible mode on.

That brings us to the second aspect. In some countries, on NICAM (analogue) broadcasts, they use one channel for one language and the other for another language. The choice of “Mode I” or “Mode II” relates to which language you get. Where this doesn’t apply (like in the UK) it doesn’t matter if you set DVD-compatible mode to Mode I or Mode II – as long as you set it to one of these. I set mine to “Mode I”.



Standard Member
Thanks Mark.
So as long as I don't use a rate between 3 and 3.8, DVD-compatible isn't relevant? And if I do, I should use DVD-compatible unless I'm sure I won't want to back-up / archive?


Distinguished Member
Correct – unless you use a rate between 3.0 and 3.8 it doesn’t matter if DVD-compatible is on or off.

And note this only is relevant for dubbing to DVD-Video (-r or –rw). You can always backup to DVD-RAM even if the recording is not DVD-compatible.

The only reason you would want to use these rates would be if you wanted to create a DVD-video, and the length of the recording forced it. For example, you want to record a 2.5 hour movie, and save this on a single DVD. The max rate you can use for this is 3.6 – any higher and it won’t fit on a DVD. If you are recording something which you plan to watch and then wipe from the HDD, then as long as your HDD isn’t filling up I agree you can record on the highest quality setting.


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