Product Type: LG Electronics DVD players
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Silver Dream Machine
LG DVD 3200
Member Name: Slim Lee
LG DVD 3200
Date: 15/05/01, updated on 22/05/01 (1617 review reads)
Advantages: Great value for money, Multi-Region!!, RCE compliant
Disadvantages: Length of time to load discs
But, in the interests of fairness, I’ve been testing my new DVD player out to the full in the meantime. Well, that’s my excuse anyway, and it’s been great fun researching this opinion!
• Why the LG3200E?
As the only DVD player I had was one that came with my PC, it was about time I splashed out on a proper machine. Countless hours watching (straining at?) the PC screen, with dodgy speakers to boot, wasn’t the best way to experience the wonder of DVD. I’d got some Dolby Pro-Logic surround sound speakers already and an amplifier, so it was only a matter of time before the DVD was essential.
I initially set a target of spending under £250 on a DVD player, and after spending weeks / months trawling through dozens of DVD magazines (and annoying the hell out of a few dooyoo users!), I finally decided on the LG3200E. For my budget it was one of the most feature packed and highly recommended models on the market, and also was available to be made multi-region.
I came highly recommended, as best buys, by both the “DVD Buyer” and “Home Cinema” magazines for DVD players under £300, so I thought it couldn’t be that bad.
• Erm, who are LG Electronics then?
Better known for other products including microwaves, air conditioners, televisions, Hi-fi systems and video players, they are a relative newcomer into the DVD player market, and seem to be pricing their products ve
ry competitively and aggressively. They recently sold the UK version of this machine (i.e. Region 2 only) through branches of Tescos for a number of months at a price (£145), you would have found very difficult to beat elsewhere.
LG are actually a South Korean company, but don’t let that put you off. The UK arm, LG Electronics Ltd are the distribution and service representation side of the group over here.
Check out the LG website (the English version) at the following address:
• LG3200E specifications
-Connections include Scart, audio outs, composite video out, S-video outs, coaxial digital audio out;
- Sound formats supported are Dolby Digital, MPEG and DTS;
- Slow motion rates of 1/16, 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2;
- Scan mode x2, x4, x16 and x100;
- Frame advance (even slower than the slow motion as it moves frame by frame);
- Repeat and A-B repeat
- Random and program modes
- 3D Spatialiser surround sound;
- Screen saver facility (not that it’ll ever be used though)
- Parental lock;
- On screen menus;
- Dimensions of 430(width) x 88(height) x 215(depth) all in millimetres
- The weight comes in at a feather light 3.2kg
- Capable of playing DVDs, CDs and DTS CD;
- Video output is PAL to PAL, and NTSC to NTSC / PAL60 / PAL50;
- TV select switch at the rear to move between NTSC, PAL and automatic settings;
- Mains supply ratings of 100-240v running at 50 / 60 Hz;
- Regional coding selection: Automatic and manual (feature supplied by techtronics.com chipping);
- Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE) compliant, with no workaround tricks needed. RCE is a script or program which is now being written into many US DVDs to try and stop them being played on multi-region players abroad, so a very useful feature to have right now (feature supplied by techtronics.com chipping);
r><br><br>• Instructions / Owner’s Manual
I’m going to have to split this part into two sections, one for the standard LG instructions and another for those supplied by Techtronics (for the multi-mod chip).
The LG DVD-3200E Owner’s Manual is nicely and clearly laid out, and is simple enough even for a novice such as myself to wire it up to the TV and speakers. It weighs in at thirty-nine pages in all, detailing installation and connection of the player, the player’s functions (and where they are on the remote control) and some trouble shooting advice. All in all it’s a good handbook, and reminds me much of the ones I have had previously for Japanese electrical equipment, particularly video recorders.
The Techtronics manual is without doubt short on the presentation side of things, as it is only a photocopy of the original one. Hey, it saves on cost so fine by me. Basically, it deals with the terms and conditions of the upgrade and some general instructions on the use of the Multi-mod upgrade, such as switching from automatic regional coding selection to manual selection, and disabling macrovision.
• What’s it like?
At last. On to the most important part of this opinion by far.
I may not be an expert in discerning picture quality of one DVD player compared to another, but what I can say about this player is that the picture quality is, for me, great. Testing it out on films like “The Matrix” and “MI2” gives you a good feel for the capabilities of this machine as I’ve seen other, more expensive players, struggle slightly on the explosion and special effects portions of the films.
The sound output is pretty solid too, but unfortunately I only have Dolby Pro-Logic speakers so cannot vouch for the quality of the DTS output. Playing CDs through the LG 3200E is satisfactory, without really blowing me away with qua
lity, but from a DVD point of view it is certainly adequate on the various films and music DVDs I’ve played to date (superb on “Gladiator”). It really only noticeably varies with the lower quality films that have been poorly transferred onto DVD.
It was easy enough to set up out of the box, and I would definitely advice you to purchase a full scart lead to get the best results. It’s one of the lightest players I’ve seen around so I wouldn’t want to place much weight on top of it. Keeping the back of the machine free is quite important too as this will stop it from over heating.
The features offered on the player are impressive too for the price but I suspect I’m like many people who, in reality, don’t use them too often. Yes, they’re nice to have but how important are they really? Zoom? I rarely use it! Frame Advance? I’ve used that once just to test it out but I doubt if I’ll ever use it again.
The remote control is a bit on the grey and plastic side (dull, dull, dull), but it’s functional. It fits the palm of the hand snugly enough, and the important buttons are nicely sized and chunky, so not much chance of tapping the wrong ones with clumsy fingers. The features buttons at the bottom are a bit small, but luckily you won’t need to use those ones too much.
The big bonus with this particular player is the upgrade to make it multi-regional and RCE compliant. This affords me the luxury of buying my DVDs from anywhere around the world and not being restricted to the inferior selection of UK discs. It saves me money and allows me to get hold of the latest releases sometimes months in advance of the UK discs. Nice!
The biggest complaint I have with the LG 3200E is the painfully slow time to load a disc. It takes roughly thirty seconds or so to load one up, whereas other players do it within four or five seconds (in my experience). Not really a big c
ompliant I know, but it’s a frustration nonetheless. I have even got used to the shiny silver case colour now!
There is also an option to buy additional insurance (warranty) on your LG player for up to five years, but with the player only setting you back under £200 then the insurance premiums of £129.00 really are quite laughable. Three years cover (two years extra to the standard manufacturer’s cover) at around £64 looks like a more sensible alternative to those of you that simply must have this additional peace of mind. Personally, I won’t be taking it up, as I’ll probably be looking to update it in three years time anyway.
Oh, while I’m on the guarantee, remember to post off the card for your one years free manufacturer guarantee. It’s something I always forget to do and one day I’m going to regret not doing it straight away! It’ll only take five minutes to fill out and only costs you the price of a stamp to post it off.
• Where to buy one
I narrowed down my search to two places in the end, both offering good value for money and with well-respected recommendations. I chose to buy my LG player from www.techtronics.com in the end as, although a little more expensive in comparison to the same model offered by www.richersounds.co.uk, it was chipped to act as a multi-region player and would then let me use cheaper foreign discs. For the extra £30 or so it was certainly worth it when you can get identical DVDs from abroad for around £2-£5 cheaper than UK ones, and quite often they will be released in advance of the UK release date.
The service I received from Techtronics was superb, from the information supplied via the website, to the emails they sent each step of the way during delivery. One thing to note about their website is that the prices are quoted without VAT (17.5%) included so you need to add that cost on yourse
The player came safely wrapped up (that was always my biggest fear) within a week of placing the order, and to this day has worked without a blip, which as many DVD owners will testify is quite some achievement! Not one picture-freeze or skip so far.
Right, I’m off to watch another masterpiece ….
P.S. No I didn't buy it off David Essex!!