Pioneer DVR-LX61D DVD/HDD Recorder - Pioneer DVR-LX61D

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

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

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Recordable disc support is comprehensive. The unit records onto any format, including DVD-RAM, DVD-R DL and DVD+R DL, which makes life easy when shopping for discs. But with a 250GB hard disk on board, offering up to 711 hours of recording time, you’re only likely to use discs when backing up the programmes you want to keep, making the multi-format drive seem like overkill.

To alter the quality of recordings and use up less space on the hard-disk, the unit provides six recording modes, ranging from the best-quality XP mode (about 9Mbps) down to the lowest-quality SEP mode (about 1Mbps). These presets are backed up by a manual mode that lets you alter the recording quality in 32 incremental steps, and adds two bonus modes towards the top end – a version of XP that records audio in LPCM instead of Dolby Digital, and 15Mbps XP+, which is primarily intended for high-quality transfer of DV camcorder footage. It’s this sort of advanced functionality that makes Pioneer’s recorders perfect for those who want to do more than just timeshift TV.

The DVR-LX61D’s vast range of recording and editing features give you a pleasing amount of control over the final look of your recordings. Video is stored in the fantastic Disc Navigator menu, which uses a cute yet sophisticated layout that lists programmes with a moving thumbnail and displays the full programme name alongside them. Using the Edit menu, you can get a bit creative and change the thumbnail, erase a section, divide a title in two and edit chapters.

All of the unit’s menus share this intelligent and classy design, which is a real godsend given the vast array of features on board. The Setup menu, for example, is densely packed with options, meticulously covering every function you could possibly imagine – it’s the kind of attention to detail that could scare off beginners but for obsessive AV enthusiasts it’s like a techno-paradise.

The overkill continues with a choice of two 7-day EPGs – the clunky Guide Plus and a superior Pioneer-designed version, which is well presented, easy to follow and can be accessed while recording, but sadly it’s not superimposed over live TV.

However, programme details can be accessed while you watch by pressing the Info key, and particularly impressive is that now/next information isn’t locked into the channel you’re currently watching – you can browse the entire range of Freeview channels on the fly.

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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