Review Price £349.00
LG HR939M - FeaturesOn paper the HR939M boasts an appealing spec. From a Freeview perspective, the 1TB hard-disk lets you store loads of recordings – 146 hours of high-definition or 246 hours of standard definition – but you can add more with an external HDD connected to the rear USB port.
The dual Freeview tuners on board allow you to record one channel while watching another and record two channels simultaneously, but it’s disappointing to discover that you can’t record two channels while watching a third – a talent offered by the Samsung BD-F8500 and Humax DTR-T1010.
It might sound like we’re being unreasonable but three-way programme clashes are a more frequent problem than you might expect. The LG only lets you flip between the two channels being recorded and also disables the EPG.
As you’d expect the HR939M lets you pause and rewind live TV using a handy onscreen timeline. Just press the pause button and it kicks in after a brief delay. Series recording is also available from the EPG – highlight the programme you want, hit the red button and a dialogue box offers a choice of ‘Simple’ (once) or ‘Series’, where it automatically records every episode for you.
On the networking side, there’s built-in Wi-Fi, which makes web connection a cinch (trumping Panasonic’s DMR-PWT530 and its optional dongle) but you can connect via Ethernet too. Through this you can access Smart TV, LG’s internet content portal, which delivers a range of entertainment apps direct to your TV.
The selection is pretty good, taking in big names like BBC iPlayer, YouTube, LoveFilm, Netflix and Blinkbox, alongside Picasa, Google Maps, Knowhow Movies, AccuWeather.com, CineTrailer, Dailymotion and Museum Purescreens HD.
These are found in the Premium section, while a separate LG apps section offers a wealth of other apps and games to while away the hours. Much of it will never be used, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
However, we’d rather LG put the effort into securing more catch-up TV apps, specifically 4OD, Demand Five and ITV Player, all of which are being offered by arch rival Samsung. Remember folks, it’s quality not quantity.
The Wi-Fi connection also allows you to stream files from networked laptops, smartphones, tablets and NAS drives. LG bundles Nero MediaHome 4 Essentials for this purpose but it works just as well with other sharing software (we used Samsung’s Allshare).
The list of supported formats over a network is comprehensive – DivX, XviD, WMV, MKV, AVI, AVCHD, MP4, ASF videos, plus MP3, WMA, WAV and M4A music (but not FLAC, sadly). JPEG and PNG photos can also be viewed. Alternatively if you prefer not to faff about on a network, it’ll play all of the above from USB memory sticks. You can also copy files onto the hard disk.
Also on the spec sheet are Wi-Fi Direct – a peer-to-peer method of sharing files from wireless devices – support for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio and 3D playback.