* Prices may differ from that shown
Everyone these days has some form of television recording device, be it a hard drive gizmo attached to the inside of what looks like a DVD player, such as a freeview or freesat option. Or maybe even a hired box from a big named company who charge a monthly fee so you can record your favourite shows to watch when ever you want to.
But if you're not into any of these new fangled ideas, maybe it's all too much like complicated hard work to try and decipher how these things actually work, relying on the fact that your old video recorder was so easy to use, wishing that things would be just as easy these days.
Luckily, they still sell those easy to understand and even easier to use devices, and I'm not talking about those really old fashioned video home system devices, but what I'm talking about is pretty damn close to them though, coming in the form of a DVD recorder which works in a very similar manner to the old fashioned VHS recorders.
One particular device, which I have had the fortune of using for quite a while, is from a well known company whose products I have used many times, with products such as mobile phones, televisions and even as far as a digital photo frame. So when I came across a DVD player from this well known company I didn't hesitate in getting my hands on one, and I have not been disappointed with what it has given me.
This DVD recorder I am talking about is called the LG-DR175, and since using it, having it connected up to the television in what the kids called their 'chill out' room, although I simply call it 'the tip', it has managed to record several DVD's of some of the kids, and my, favourite shows.
Firstly, let's take at gander at what it actually looks like...
It looks like any other DVD player/recorder, being a long rectangular shape with a slot in the middle, the disc tray, and a rectangular LCD screen to the right. So far so good.
Under the LCD screen there is a small cover which hides a few little ports for things as DV in, AV in S-video and AV in Video/Audio, (it'll all make sense one day).
Above the screen there is an array of buttons which control the machine, such as disc tray open/ close, play/pause stop, etc etc, (you get the point).
It's not the smallest or the most fashionable device on the market, being about 430mm wide by 275mm deep and 54mm high, and it is a rather straight edge looking unit with the buttons along the top, the play, pause, rewind etc, all being nice and round disc types, which just about protrude from the main body, giving the machine a nice gentle look indeed.
That's it' that's what it looks like, well, apart from the on/off button which is on the top left of the machine.
And that's honestly it, it isn't designed to be the most fashionable DVD player/recorder on the ,market, but then again you're not going to be taking it out on a date are you? (or are you...???)
As for it's capabilities, it can read such discs as CD-RW/-R, DVD+RW/+R/-RW/-R and can record on discs such as DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW and DVD+R.
It can not record onto CD-R/RW but it can read them and play them.
It supports video formats such as DivX, MPEG and XviD, also supports music files such as WMA and MP3 and even JPEG for pictures.
Recording modes are XP, SP, LP and EP, which is technical terms for the length of recording time you can get on a disc.
Therefore, on a standard 4.7GB DVD XP, the best quality option, will give you about 80 minutes of recording time, SP offers around 2 hours of recording time. LP will give about 4 hours and finally EP, the lowest quality option, gives about 6 hours of recording time
It offers three picture modes, normal, widescreen, letterbox plus what is called Pan and Scan, which allows you to zoom in and scan around the screen when on pause
It also offers a programmable timer, PAL and NTSC media format, 2x and 4x picture zoom and, for security, there's a parental lock, which can be set up by following the simple to understand instructions, although I Haven't actually set this up as yet. This lock can help stop your youngsters watching DVD's that they're not supposed to watch.
It has several connection ports, or sockets, what ever you want to call them, these being...
* On the front...
Composite video/audio input
* On the rear...
Power consumption of 25 watts when operating and only 0.5 watts on standby.
As for the set up, well, this is easy enough, especially with the auto set up process, which takes the hassle out of it, leading the less tantrums when things go a little wrong.
All I had to do was press the power button, switching it on, and the set up wizard kicks in, doing the rest of the work for me... simples, although I did have to press the 'enter' button few times, when choosing the language and then for initialising the channel search.
Once the channels have been found they were automatically stored in place, ready for when you want to flick through them.
You can opt for a manual set up, although this does take a bit of time to do of course, but the outcome is more or less the same.
Playing a DVD or even a CD is as you would any other player, open the disc tray, place in a disc, close the tray, press play on the remote, or on the unit itself, sit back and enjoy your viewing. Simple as buttering bread.
Then there's the recording feature, which is almost as easy to do, and gets easier with practice and use. Open the disc tray, put in a blank DVD, not a CD as you can't record onto one of those, close the tray, wait for your show to start, (probably a soap or reality show if you live in my house), press the record button on the remote or the unit and leave the machine to do what it's programmed to do.
Or you could even set a timer to record a program using the timer recording method, which is explained in the instruction booklet and is quite simple to do.
When you put a blank disc into the machine it will 'initialise' the disc so that the machine can record onto it. Then it's a matter of choosing a few settings, such as the quality, XP- EP.
When I'd recorded a full disc it was a matter of what they call 'finalizing the disc', which is a press of a button, this stops any future editing or recording onto the disc so there's no 'accidental' erasure.
Before finalizing make sure that the disc has everything on it that you want as once finalized there's no turning back.
Once finalised discs can not be altered, although a DVD-RW can be un-finalised so that you can then edit or record onto it.
Also, if the 'disc protect' is on then finalising is not available.
You can also 'label' the discs, which means that you can digitally write information onto the disc such as the name of the program you've recorded or even the name of the disc itself.
There's even a slide show option which allows you a chance to show off your pictures, (JPEG format) through your 58 inch plasma screen.
What about the remote..?
It's infrared and looks like any other remote, being a long rectangular shape and crammed with so many buttons that you'd think it was used for launching the space shuttle or something.
The buttons are all labelled so that there's no trouble figuring out what does what and which ones you need to use for what you want to do. With the main television buttons being towards the top of the remote and the recording buttons being towards the bottom, with the 'cursor' in the middle.
** My opinion...
For me it's not the most up to date machine but for what it is used for it certainly does exactly what it states on the tin, so to speak.
As I said this one is set up in 'the Tip' and it's that simple to use that the kids no longer need my assistance to record there favourite shows, which turn out to be those stupid reality shows that are classed as entertainment these days.
They do also use it to watch DVD's on too, which it does that particular job just as good.
The silver colour looks good even amongst the other devices scattered around 'the tip', even though a lot of those devices are mainly black, but even so, this machine sits happily on the shelf below the television, waiting for the hands of death, (my kids heavy handed mannerism in using most pieces of equipment in our house), to jab at it with the destructions to record a certain show.
Speaking of the hands of death, well this machine has had its fair share of being prodded and poked, having discs jammed into it with the ferocity of a lion striking at a fleeing zebra, and this machine has stood the test of time. More specifically, it has stood the test of my kids, even the disc tray is still sliding in and out with a certain grace.
Using this as a DVD recorder is great, which is what it's really designed to do, with the laser standing up to the many hours of use it has had to endure, giving great results every time.
Although I do have to say that whilst watching a few recording which were done in EP mode I noticed some rather strange looking lines appearing to go p the screen, resting at the top for a few seconds, sometimes up to a minute, then disappearing block by block.
This happened on almost every recording I did and I was beginning to think that the machine was on its way out. But, after a quick look on the internet, it turns out that this is quite normal when recording in EP mode, apparently it's down to the fact that it's recording in 'low quality' mode, so at least I know it's not the machine then.
In all, this is a fine DVD player/recorder and, although not one of the top of the range devices, having a hard drive the size of a small family car, but for a simple recording device it is certainly worth thinking about purchasing.
As for the price, well it's a little pricier than a standard DVD player, as you can pick one of them up for around £40.00 these days, but this one is not just a DVD 'player', it's a recorder as well, so the £110 - £150 price tag is not too bad at all.