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Pioneer DVR-LX61D DVD/HDD Recorder review

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  • Recommended by TR
Pioneer DVR-LX61D DVD/HDD Recorder

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Back in July we reviewed the Pioneer DVR-560HX, a sublime yet surprisingly affordable DVD/HDD combi that gave the all-conquering Panasonic DMR-EX88 a real run for its money. Well now say hello to its big brother, the DVR-LX61D. As the name suggests, the Freeview-equipped LX61D is part of Pioneer’s LX series of products, which represents the very best the company has to offer in terms of features, build quality, design and performance. And if the flagship DVR-LX70D is anything to go by we’re in for a real treat, but as ever such luxury comes with a hefty price tag. Let’s see if it’s justified…

The external design is a good place to start, and as soon as we lifted it from the box we knew we were dealing with something special – the machine is reassuringly heavy and the chassis construction feels more robust that your average digital recorder. What’s more, the all-over black styling gives it a sleek, moody look that should go down very well with style-conscious AV aficionados, particularly those who already own a matching KURO plasma.

Softly glowing blue lights adorn the fascia, while the info display panel shows the time and currently selected channel number, as well as the current recording mode. The lower section of the fascia drops down to reveal a very busy panel of controls and connections, which includes a common interface slot for adding pay TV channels, two USB ports (type A and type B) and a DV input, plus S-video, composite and stereo audio inputs for temporary connection of peripheral devices such as camcorders. You can also control the unit from the front panel using a cluster of buttons that includes Record, Play, Stop and One Touch Copy.

The rear panel is equally busy thanks to a comprehensive array of sockets. All the basic AV inputs and outputs are present and correct, but the most exciting is the Ethernet port, which allows you to connect to your PC and transfer DivX, MP3, WMA and JPEG files onto the 250GB hard-disk drive, plus you can use the USB port for the same purpose or transfer files from DVD or CD. Add support for unprotected MPEG-4 AAC files into the mix and you’ve got yourself a complete home entertainment hub.

Elsewhere, video outputs include HDMI (v1.3), component, S-Video, composite and an RGB/S-video/composite SCART, while video inputs include an RGB-capable SCART, S-Video and composite. Audio connections include stereo audio in/out and coaxial digital audio output, and the line-up is completed by a G-Link port for automatic control of external TV receivers, a system remote control port and separate RF inputs and outputs for the analogue and digital tuners.

Thomas 2

September 11, 2008, 4:51 pm

Have been using one for approx 1 month now. Difficult to fault. With the digital PDC, not one programme clipped/chopped yet. Could also do with +/- 24hr EPG option and a larger HDD size.

Orinj

September 11, 2008, 4:55 pm

I bought a Panasonic DMR-EX78 a few months ago and although that is also an excellent recorder, there were a few fundamental user interface features that bug me. Are any of these resolved in this Pioneer? -





1) Are programs recorded with auto chapter marks for you to navigate through adverts quickly.


2) When you come to the end of one recorded program does the DVR-LX61D play straight through to the next program - thus removing the 'new' tag.


3) How good is the display information? Can you see the title, chapter and playing and remain time?


4) How long is the DVD layer change delay?


5) Although this may not be a region-free player, do you know how easy it handles the swap between PAL and NTSC discs.





I'd be more than happy to borrow this unit for a week as suggested in the verdict, if only to test out these quibbles that have bugged me with the Panasonic.

timple

September 12, 2008, 8:32 pm

When it can also support the BBC iplayer it will be able to claim full functionality.

Danny P

September 16, 2008, 2:11 pm

Orinj - I'm afraid I didn't have the product long enough to check your last two Q's, but I can field some:





1) Yes, it finds the black screen before and after adverts and inserts chapter points. You can also edit chapters manually


2) No, it stops and returns to live TV


3) Excellent. You can see title, chapter and remain time when playing a DVD. It also shows you the current recording mode, whether the disc is NTSC or not, whether an -RW/-R disc is being played and lots of other stuff.

Harkaway

April 23, 2009, 7:13 pm

I've had one of these now for a couple of months and on the whole I have found it to be one of the best HDD/DVD recorders I've ever owned (I've had three earlier ones). The USB port is particularly handy as I can put divx programmes on the HDD and play them back more easily; I can also do this from a rewritable DVD. The automatic chaptering works well on most shows, although not all. My only complaint is that you cannot access the digital EPG to set something up unless you are using the digital tuner (although you can look at the timer list and change it from outside that tuner. The quality of the recordings if very good and it is easy to archive stuff. I couldn't recommend it more highly.

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