LG DRT389H DVD Recorder - LG DRT389H

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


In operation, the deck responds instantly to remote commands and performs everyday digital TV tasks (such as channel changing and digital text access) quickly and smoothly, while Freeview pictures are consistently stable. In fact, our only gripe is that subtitles suddenly pop up from time to time, but it's no hassle to turn them off.

Live Freeview TV pictures are OK, boasting strong colours and good detail resolution, but the levels of block and mosquito noise in the picture are higher than we'd normally expect from a Freeview receiver and subsequently have a negative impact on its overall clarity, particularly when handling busy or fast-moving scenes. But we don't wish to paint an overly negative picture of the LG's pictures, as they're far from a disaster, and some of these artefacts have more to do with the poor quality of the original broadcast - but we have seen better picture quality elsewhere.

Sadly, the block and mosquito noise is evident on DVD recordings but the recorder's excellent encoding in the top-quality one-hour XP mode means no further artefacts are added. SP mode displays only a slight increase in noise, while the lower-bitrate LP and EP modes offer watchable results but you'll have to endure increased softness and MPEG noise. The MLP mode might offer 14 hours on a single-layer DVD (or 21 on dual-layer) but anyone who can tolerate its excessively blurred pictures for more than 30 seconds deserves a medal.

To investigate its recording performance further, we embarked on a ‘real world' archiving project, creating a DVD-R of programmes that were clogging up our Sky HD box's hard-disk. We fed the pictures into the RGB SCART input and set the recording mode to SP (offering two hours' recording time). The deck made the whole process simple and the quick-start recording enabled us to accurately capture the start of each programme with the resulting picture quality looking crisp and richly saturated. Renaming the recordings is time-consuming but hassle-free thanks to the responsive virtual keyboard, and the default menu display authored on the disc (which appears on other players) is immensely attractive, but it's a shame that there are no options to further customise the look.

Next up we dusted off the JVC VCR, connected it to the LG's SCART input and recorded some episodes of I'm Alan Partridge on VHS in XP mode. There can be few complaints about the resulting recordings, which look faithful to the original source, but it couldn't smooth out some of the bigger blips and wobbles on the tape and it was quite hard to tell what difference DVFX recording actually made.

However, the LG makes a terrific multimedia player - DVD picture quality is superb and boosted by some smooth 1080p upscaling, while DivX, MP3, WMA and JPEG files played back from a flash memory drive or DVD are smoothly handled. It also makes a passable CD player, although the rough edges make it clear that LG isn't catering for the audiophile market.


If you're in the market for a DVD recorder, the DRT389H ticks all the boxes - multi-format recording, Freeview+, 1080p upscaling and dual-layer support - and for just over £100 online you can't say fairer than that. Some aspects of the deck's operating system are a bit clumsy, and we're not exactly enamoured by its Freeview picture quality or the performance of DVFX, but in all other respects the LG is an impressive proposition.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 7
  • Value 8
  • Features 9
  • Design 8

dave doubledecks

October 16, 2008, 3:40 pm

Hi, nice review. The quick start recording you mentioned - can you give us an indication of how long it takes to start recording from power-up? With my current Sony DVD recorder, I have to wait over 2 minutes for it to "boot up" before I can do a thing which is so frustrating. Are we talking seconds or minutes to record from power-up with the LG?

Also, FWIW I thought it was pidgin english, not pigeon?!

Danny P

October 17, 2008, 4:25 pm

Not sure of the exact time but it's certainly less than two minutes, under a minute in fact. In the review I was actually talking about how quickly it starts recording when it's already on, but in both cases it's pretty slick. And yes it is pidgin not pigeon, my brain needs a firmware update.


October 26, 2008, 11:27 am

I have an American camcorder. I tried to connect it before to an old LG DVD recorder that have VHS too. But it wasn't working because the recorder doesn't allow NTSC as an input.

Can I use my camcorder to transfer the NTSC movie with this device?


November 17, 2008, 11:59 pm

Hi - good review. I am looking for another DVD recorder having had a Philips DVDR3597H DVD/HDD but this seemed to have some compatibility issues with an InFocus X10 projector which meant you couldn't connect via HDMI. Do you know if I am likely to have similar issues with this unit?


August 31, 2013, 8:08 pm

I have made a great mistake buying this DVD player. So much goodies that seems to offer but the biggest one is a BIG HEADACHE.

Guys, I swear don't get into this. It's a trick. I had in the past a Sony that I paid in 2002 100pounds and I had working super great for nearly 9 years. Then, it got off broken. So I thought let me find something new in the market with freeview and a few goodies and a nice and good looking style. I thought was my next big step and it was my next BIG HEADACHE. Not to The LG DRT389H.

Reasons: It struggles very much 90% of the time to read DVDs and CDs.

This is enough to don't buying it. What's the point of a DVD player? To play easily DVDs and if it doesn't what is the point of having it. I put mine in the bin after three a year of headache. I didn't that before because I have other things where I can play a dvd otherwise my patience would've last even less.


January 26, 2014, 7:59 pm

I made the same mistake twice had the first one for 13months did nothing but play up finally it would not recognise brand new disks, so went out and bought another one after a year it did the same I wonder if this would come under the trading standards law of not fit for purpose,

Kevin Meechan

February 4, 2014, 11:25 am

Hi there, I was wandering if anyone has got a spare or old remote control for the DRT389H digital video recorder they don't need or don't use anymore, I have just moved house and have lost my remote control, I don't want to go out and get another recorder.

Geoff Richards

February 4, 2014, 12:53 pm

Hi Kevin. If you can't find an original replacement, your other option is a Universal Remote Control. Just don't go for the cheapest ones, which can only learn from another remote (you can use these to learn from your TV, DVD player etc so you only have one remote)

You need one that uses codes or software profiles so you can select your device and the remote will work as the original. The Logitech Harmony range do this, for example. This one might work for you:

Gillian McRobbie

April 14, 2014, 2:55 pm

Hi does this model LG DRT389H DVD Recorder have freeview built in


October 30, 2016, 2:00 pm

I bought a DRT389H new and it is the WORST piece of equipment I have ever bought.
It simply spends literally 15 minutes before it realises there is no DVD - who programmed the software for this - nothing seems to do as you want - AVOID~ at all costs!

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