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Toshiba Freeview HD Blu-ray recorder?

Though it’s somewhat late to the Blu-ray party after nursing the HD-DVD hangover, Toshiba is ready to lead the pack when it comes to Freeview HD. The company has revealed that it plans to launch a Blu-ray recorder with twin DVB-T2 tuners and a hard drive to cover all your free HD recording needs in 2010.

Keen AV gadget-watchers will probably notice that this set up will make it a kind of spiritual brother to Panasonic’s DMR-BS850. Yes, that’s right, Panasonic really did have the temerity to release a £1000 TV recorder with the letters ‘BS’ in the name, no doubt echoing the thoughts of most Curry’s patrons when it’s suggested to them.

Toshiba’s confirmation of support for Freeview HD comes as perennial early adopter Humax announces its first DVB-T2 receiver. The earliest version will have no PVR, but you’ll be able to record to a hard drive attached over the USB port. 3view just about bested Humax though, with a twin-tuner receiver including 320GB of storage and an Opera web browser.

Freeview HD broadcasts began in earnest in London and Manchester on December 3rd, but it seems those in the right area will need to be patient for some time longer. It is expected that over 50% of the UK will be able to receive the HD broadcasts by the time the World Cup begins, if you’re willing to upgrade your equipment.

Initially, Freeview HD’s offering will be limited to BBC HD, Channel 4 HD (or S4C HD for you Welsh types) and ITV HD, with Channel 5 expected to join them later. Not all programs will be in HD, but the broadcasters are beginning to take advantage of the technology for those shows that would benefit from the boost. At the BBC alone, several studios have been upgraded and 2009’s Children in Need was the first ever available in HD. Other shows to get a video bump are Strictly Come Dancing (fair enough; it’s pretty glamorous), Ready Steady Cook (well, it’ll make the food look nicer I suppose) and Eggheads (wait, what?).

Look, it doesn’t matter that Eggheads is pointless in HD. Keep your eyes on the real prize: The World Cup. In free high definition. And England have got a fairly easy group. I’m experiencing the highs already. Does this mean a horrendous low in 10 days’ time? Damn.