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Back in December we looked and very much liked the UK's first Freeview Playback TV: LG's 42in 42LT75. So surely we can only have good things to say about the 37in version we're looking at today, right? Well, actually...
First things first, though, which in this case means explaining to anyone not in the know what Freeview Playback is.
Essentially it's an attempt by the terrestrial digital Freeview service to offer a recording system to rival the Sky+ system that satellite subscribers have been enjoying for years now.
What this means in practical terms for LG's Freeview Playback TVs is that they have to a) carry a built-in hard disk recorder, b) carry two digital tuners so you can record one digital channel while watching another, and c) support such key digital-age recording features as pausing live TV and setting up series links.
The HDD built into the 37LT75 is a healthy size at 160GB - enough, LG claims, to hold up to 57 hours of digital TV recordings. What's more, since the TV records the digital stream of a Freeview broadcast directly, all 57 hours of these recordings should look and sound absolutely identical to their original broadcasts. God, how on earth did we live with our rubbish old VHS VCRs for so long?!
The HDD can actually expand its capacity to 86 hours if you record the TV's analogue tuner, since here the TV allows you to select between various recording quality options depending on how much picture quality you want to sacrifice in return for saving HDD space.
All the key digital recording features work just great. Pausing live TV is no more complicated than pressing a single button on the remote, and Series Links are easily set via the attractively presented electronic programme guide. They're dependent on broadcaster support to work, it should be said, but apparently more than 90 per cent of Freeview channel providers are already onboard.
On a similar note, the TV can also automatically record both parts of a ‘split' show, such as a film divided by a news broadcast - again provided the broadcaster offers its support.
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