Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Wide support for recordable DVD formats, MPEG4 recording, Memory card slots, DivX support
- Analogue tuner
The LG-RH1999G has a lot of great features, including wide support for DVD recordable formats and SD/HDTV upscaling, but is let down by poor signal reception.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
The LG-RH1999G is a good system, sporting a wide range of recordable DVD formats, DivX support, SD and MD memory card, HDMI out and 250GB of hard disk storage space.
LG is keen to promote the core strength of the LG-RH1999G - the 'Super-Multi' DVD recordable formats. Indeed, the whole gamut is covered including DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+RW, and DVD+R. Additionally, there's support for MD/CF cards and MMC/SD memory cards, DivX for recording and playback, and even MPEG4. It can also display JPG files and play MP3s. There's certainly no argument that this is a versatile machine.
In addition to DVD recording, the unit comes with a 250GB hard drive which can store between 66 and 625 hours of TV, depending on the level of compression.
The LG-RH1999G unfortunately only has an analogue tuner, which means it's only able to record signals in 576i, despite the fact it can upscale and output at up to 1080i.
One of the key advantages of a hard disk recorder is the ability to 'pause' or timeshift live TV, and the LG-RH1999G performs admirably here. When activated, a popup box tells you it's preparing, which is a bit obtrusive, but after a few seconds the show resumes, now streamed from the hard drive.
On that note the menus are excellent, with clearly defined sub-headings that are simple to navigate. In addition to an overall setup menu, the key functions of the player - from watching recorded TV to viewing slideshows of images - can be accessed through a drop menu at the top of the screen.
As an analogue tuner system, there's no EPG to take advantage of, so you can't schedule programs except via timer. Not quite the easy point and click affair of digital tuner based devices.
Recording and playback
We put the unit through its paces and recorded a variety of material at lowest and highest quality - four quality modes ranging from EP ('Extend Quality') to XP ('High Quality') allow different levels of compression. Yes, the acronyms seem to have no relation to their descriptions.
The XP mode provides exactly the same resolution and quality as live TV, and so works well. The 66 hours that can be stored in this mode is plenty, especially considering you can burn recorded programs to DVD for later use.
At its highest compression mode, EP, the picture is horribly distorted, but that's to be expected. A massive 625 hours can be stored in this format, and clearly this option is more about quantity than quality.
Finally, the unit comes with a couple of other nice features, including MP3 playback, JPG display, and the ability to edit recorded programs to combine or split them apart.
Specs and ports
The LG-RH1999H sports one each of HDMI, component, S-Video, and composite ports paired with analogue stereo and both digital coaxial and optical out.
The unit is relatively slim measuring 430mm x 54mm x 275mm and is a tad heavy at 4.1kg. Still, considering it can play and burn DVDs and CDs, and includes a 250GB hard drive, it's not bad.
All up the LG-RH1999H is a well designed, feature rich, DVD and hard disk recording unit. Its only fault is its use of an analogue tuner; even if your TV isn't whizz-bang a digital tuner based unit does offer improved reception and extra features.
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