Review Price free/subscription
LG HRT403DA Home Cinema System - LG HRT403DA
As mentioned the system is positively bursting with features. First up, there's 1080p upscaling from the HDMI v1.3 output, which is crucial given the amount of Full HD TVs now on the market. There's also the obligatory virtual surround technology that attempts to fill the void left by the missing rear channels - in this case Virtual Sound Matrix (VSM), which creates a 5.1-channel ‘effect' from the front speakers.
But the DVD/HDD recorder is where most of the action is. The 160GB hard-disk lets you record up to 463 hours of material, be it programmes from the built-in Freeview tuner, camcorder footage or signals from an external video source. Alternatively you can record onto DVD, and the LG supports any blank disc you throw at it so there's no need to worry about which type to buy.
There's an 8-day EPG on board, which makes it a breeze to set timer recordings, plus the Freeview+ logo on the box means there's a range of convenient recording functions, such as the ability to record an entire series at the touch of a button or automatically detect when a programme is split in two and record both parts. Unfortunately these features are a pain to use due to the same pidgin English problems that blighted the RHT399H and DRT389H, but it's still good to know they're on board.
As with most LG digital recorders, there's a comprehensive array of recording and editing features, including five levels of recording quality that make it possible to increase the available recording time, but annoyingly the only way to change these is by entering the setup menu.
The availability of editing features depends on the type of disc being used, but potentially you can create playlists, delete a section, combine or split titles or fiddle about with chapters. Your recordings can also be dubbed from HDD to DVD (or vice versa) at high speed, while the Time Slip (a.k.a. chase playback) and Time Shift (a.k.a. pause live TV) functions also come in handy.
The unit can also be used as a hub for all of your content thanks to its ability to store DivX, MP3, WMA and JPEG files on the hard-disk. But those with more transient requirements can play these formats from CD, DVD or a memory device connected to the USB port.