Last night I had a dream about soba noodles in which I explained the enjoyment of sitting at a noodle bar beside otherwise silent, hungry salarymen and slurping away in harmony. I explained that the experience would never be quite the same outside of Tokyo, much like how this new Toshiba Vardia RD-A301 is not yet available outside Japan.

A beefy home theater media component, the A301 can suck in content through HDMI or a variety of other inputs, or rip standard DVDs on its 300GB hard drive. Any of this content can then be burned to HD DVD, offering a simplish way to store HD content. If the $865 A301 just had a few slots for CableCARDS and a decent program guide, we'd be sold—especially since it looks to be about half the size and a quarter the cost of its big brother predecessor, the Varidia RD-A1. [akihabaranews]

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