Pros I could return it
Cons Component input is not what you think it is
Summary For all of you looking to purchase the Sony HX715, you can thank me now for this review and also the MPAA for crippling virtually every consumer digital video recorder you hope to purchase. Sony does you a major injustice by not informing you that "component input" is really a white lie because it won't work for the purposes intended by the majority of you.
(1) Most important: As many of you know who have high definition tuners, video is broadcast in widescreen or 16:9. Virtually all current DVD recorders can record 16:9 but only contain S-VHS inputs. The HX715 is the first high end DVR to include component inputs. So you thought you could connect your high definition cable box's component inputs into the HX715, right? Wrong. Sony crippled the component inputs to make them absolutely worthless and say so on page 15 of the manual. You can only input 480i!!! That's right, no 480p, 720 or 1080 or else you get a blank white screen. If you try 16:9 at 480i from your HDTV tuner you'll get unacceptable jerky video. You can only do low resolution 4:3 over the component inputs.
(2) At $700 you'd think that you'd get quality accessories. I was shcoked to discover a remote control that was of lesser quality than the $100 DVD player I bought for my parents. It is not well designed. It has no backlighting either. It's cheap. It should tell you something when such a high end unit comes with zero accessories. You get a cheap coaxial cable to connect to the antenna, a cheap A/V cable for composite video and a cheap small IR blaster. Even DVRs costing $300 less came with some media and while unnecessary, it explains what Sony was thinking.
(3) I only checked out the menu system briefly because after finding out that the component inputs were nothing but a sham, I knew it was going back anyways. While there are some nice "cool" aspects to features, Sony decided to animate all the menus. This results in significant wait time while menus swoosh and sweet from the corners of the screen to animate themselves until you can choose the selection. Very cool but you will become beyond impatient.
(4) There is no flexible recording. You can only record 1 hour and then half hour intervals afterwards. On all other DVRs costing over $200-300 less you get this feature which allows you to set recording to approximate how long a video is so you can maximize video quality. Thus if you had a DV cam and filmed 1 hour and 1 minute of video, you could probably fit it on a 1hour setting or 1 hour and 10 minute setting. You'd lose at most the extra 7-9 minutes of video space. On the Sony you must go to 90 minutes, thus wasting almost 33% of the disk, 27-29 minutes, which could have been better utilized to improve the quality of the video.
(5) Who cares about HDMI output? Unless you are playing some DVDs of very high quality in this unit, the HDMI will be of minimal benefit, if any. In fact, it might even be better to use the component video outputs. The quality of pure digital recordings will not come close to being able to make any perceivable difference using HDMI and it's a red herring.
Basically, you'd have to be crazy to spend $700 on the Sony HX715. Sony and the MPAA should be ashamed of themselves for misleading consumers into thinking that the component inputs in the HX715 would work as expected.Updated
Apparently the 480i problem is from the cable box but regardless, you can't use the HX715 as a throughput. So if you have a high definition tuner, you'll be playing with the settings every time you want to record something to this unit and you'll have to buy a splitter or some junction box to seperate the cable out to the box and to the TV. It's too bad. This records 16:9 but except for a DV cam... how?Updated
FINAL CONCLUSION - 4 stars: The HX715 has some nice features but Sony took 2 steps forward and 4 backwards by omitting basics that were omitted from its old models. That shouldn't happen at this price, costing almost twice that of Pioneer, Toshiba and Panasonic recorders. Other than having a component input that is limited, the other models are clearly superior and cost half as much. Be aware that if you buy this DVR it will cost you an extra $100 or so if you have an HDTV or EDTV. While recording widescreen and various formats is nice, Sony didn't bother to enhance or improve its menu systems from years ago. Editing is a large chore. If you think that this very expensive DVD recorder will put out impressive looking DVDs comparable to players that cost less than half as much then you're going to be incredibly disappointed.Updated
FINAL CONCLUSION: The HX715 has some nice features but Sony took 2 steps forward and 4 backwards by omitting basics that were omitted from its old models. That shouldn't happen at this price, costing almost twice that of Pioneer, Toshiba and Panasonic recorders. Other than having a component input that is limited, the other models are clearly superior and cost half as much. Be aware that if you buy this DVR it will cost you an extra $100 or so if you have an HDTV or EDTV. While recording widescreen and various formats is nice, Sony didn't bother to enhance or improve its menu systems from years ago. Editing is a large chore. If you think that this very expensive DVD recorder will put out impressive looking DVDs comparable to players that cost less than half as much then you're going to be incredibly disappointed.
Pros Excellent upscaling with HDMI connection to SXRD set
Cons TV guide won't work with a digital tuner signal
Summary The best thing about this unit is the upscaling of DVD playback for just your regular rented dvds. The upscaling with HDMI gives a signal which is recognized by the Sony SXRD set as 1080 and is Almost HD component video sharp. I have the recorder set up with s-video input and the recordings at the higher HQ+ setting are very good. The problem is mainly with the TV guide which simply does not function with a digital input (I have charter digital cable with the HD tuner) I can do timer record without problem but have to transpose the scedule from the tv guide built into the cable tuner. It comes in ok but with none of the annotation (name etc) that you would get if the TV guide worked right. It only works with an analog signal....Why would you have a recorder like this if you only had an analog signal??? A good question for sony and I guess the cable companys to solve. The 64x dubbing is very handy.
Pros nice dvd player
Cons sony messed this one up
Summary this unit can not be used if you are using the cable card in your sony tv. I have a KDF-55XS955 which I am currently using the cable card on. The cable card allows me to use the true picture in picture capability of the tv. The only way this unit will work is to get the high definition converter from your cable company in my case this is 6 times more costly monthly than the cable card. When I contacted sony about the problem they told me that they didn't think of that. What kind of crap is that. I'm not very impressed and am thinking of returning the unit.The tuner in the dvd is only analog and poor at best. The sony tv has no video out this dosen't help.
Pros Writes to DL DVDs "now" but ...
Cons Won't be able to write to HDDVD/Blu-Ray Discs
Summary Review written by for Sony RDR-HX715 claims:
"the RDR-HX715 is the first of its kind with an all-digital HDMI output, which upscales standard-definition video and DVDs to 720p or 1080i resolutions."
I own a Toshiba RD-XS52 DVD Player/Recorder w/160 GB HDD and an HDMI output w/upscaling that I bought in in early September for just under $500.00
Guess it is second of its kind. Very poor article research IMHO
Pros Unable to tell as I have not been able to use it
Cons Poor testing before shipping