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I've given this unit 5 stars; but that is in the context that it is an early machine and that it is best for people who want a cheap 'playabout' machine that they can upgrade and 'mess' with. If you just want a basic PVR and your not the type to play around with firmware, change hard drives and dvd drives, then other units would probably suit you better. The really good points about the liteon is the fact that you can put a big hard drive on it (I've got a 320gb on mine) and it still works fine. Also, with certain firmware (installed) available on the internet, you can record VHS tapes and DVD films directly to hard drive or DVD through the front inputs. You can't copy encrypted DVD's to the hard drive from the machine itself ... you have to go in the front and record them in real time - But it does work ... I've put many of my (bought, paid for and completely legal) DVD's onto my hard drive ... That just saves me the pain of finding them and going through the menus (and adverts!!) Just to play my favourite film ... The menu system on the liteon is the best I have seen; better than Phillips or Goodmans or even Samsung - It's really easy. The recording quality is ok ... not brilliant by any means; just ok, it's better than a video but not much. I do feel though that if you wanted one of these machines that that would not really matter - just use it as a workhorse 'allrounder'. It does have timeshift but I don't really see the point of it because you have to press 'timeshift' button to start it - So, really your just pressing record ! To clarify that for anyone new to this ... I have a Phillips PVR as well and that records whether you like it or not ... as long as it is on it records up to 6 hours of video on whatever channel is selected ... so the 'timeshift' is always on no matter what. To sum up : I really do like this machine; someone gave it to us because they could not get the hang of it, but I think it's dead easy. And I'll say again ... if you are the type that likes playing around with a machine and seeing what it can do then this is a great cheap option ... I know I had a couple of weeks fun finally setting the thing up and now it is, I just use the thing for what it is best at ... Recording programmes and putting my VHS on hard drive ... Oh, and lastly I forgot about this ... Because it's an early model it's a FAT32 hard drive which you can take out and attach to a PC, and see all the files on the disk !
After lots of deliberating over which dvd recorder to buy I decided the lidl version of this recorder (targa) a couple of years ago and it has worked really well. It has a 160gb hard drive to record to and a dvd recorder which can write to almost all media available including the 8.5gb dual layered DVD discs. As well as being able to play DVD's it can also play xvid and divx videos which have been burned to dvd or cd. The HDD gives the advantage of being able to do time slip on video meaning you can pause live tv. You can also start recording a program and play it from the begining whilst it is still recording. For outputs it provides either scart or component, the later allows for a 480p signal if the TV supports it so it looks reasonable on a flat screen tv. There are plenty of inputs as well allowing for sky, freeview and cable to be connected as well as having a firewire port and front av ports to connect a hand camera to. I've used the custom firmware on mine so as to be able to convert many of my old VHS tapes to DVD so as to remove the old VHS player from the cabinet. The only downsides are that there is that the video editing features are quite limited, the clock has a tendancy to lose time and needs reseting and the HDD is a little noisy when recording. The targa one came with a three year warrenty which luckily I haven't had to use.
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