Toshiba – SD-R5002 DVD writer review

a DVD writer for all formats
Photo of Toshiba – SD-R5002 DVD writer
£249.00 + VAT

With the burgeoning market for DVD writers, it was about time we saw the first offering from Toshiba. The SD-R5002 supports both secure, write-once DVD-R General technology and rewriteable DVD-RW formats.

Toshiba claims that 98 percent of existing DVD movie players and DVD-ROM drives will play DVDs created using the Toshiba SD-R5002 DVD-R format, compared to 70 percent using the DVD+R format. Our experience would show that this may be an over-simplification, with many older players having problems with DVD-R. However, if you’re using a playback drive manufactured in the last couple of years then this shouldn’t be a problem.

As well as writing DVD-R/RW the SD-R5002 is backward compatible with existing CD-R and CD-RW formats, and along with DVD playback it will read and write most of the standard CD formats including Video CD and Photo CD.

The SD-R5002 connects using the standard internal E-IDE bus and will function as a direct swap out for existing CD readers/writers or double up on the second channel alongside your existing drive. Both analogue and digital audio outputs are included for connection to a suitable sound card.

Performance is typical for a DVD writer, with write speeds of 16x for CD-R, 10x for CD-RW, dual speed for DVD-R and single speed for DVD-RW. Standard DVD-ROMs, meanwhile, can be read at 12 speed. CD performance may appear considerably slower than the latest 40x CD writers but in reality the performance is only marginally slower and not a third as the figures imply. With the now obligatory buffer under-run protection, using the drive for write operations is almost foolproof, too.

Along with all the necessary cables and fittings Toshiba supplies a good selection of software bundled with the retail version of the writer. This includes Intervideo’s WinDVD for DVD movie playback, VOB Instant CD/DVD writer software for general DVD and CD burning and the star of the package, Pinnacle Studio’s 8SE video editing software.

The latter will give you all the tools required to grab video from a DV camera using a digital FireWire port or suitable analogue video port on your graphics card. You can then edit and arrange clips on a story board with full DVD menus structures, add audio and still images, apply a good selection of transitions and special effects and finally burn your masterpiece to the SD-R5002.

Company: Toshiba

Contact: 0800 169 45 27

For Toshiba's entry into the DVD burner market, the SD-R5002 bares a close resemblance to the latest Pioneer DVR-A05; not surprising as both companies are members of the DVD-R forum. This is a well specified DVD/CD writing drive with some great software. You'll be up and running with DVD authoring in no time and it's conveniently backward compatible with earlier CD-R/RW formats.