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LG RHT497H DVD / HDD Recorder review

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Summary

Our Score:

8

The RHT497H is one of three new DVD/HDD combi recorders from the LG stable, and like last year's models they set out to provide a decent range of features without making much of a dent in your bank balance. With its 160GB hard disk, the RHT497H is the cheapest of the trio, but if that's not enough storage space then you could opt for the RHT498H (250GB) or the RHT499H (320GB) - apart from hard-disk capacity the three decks are identical.

The RHT497H is equipped with a single Freeview tuner and the full range of Freeview+ features, including Series Recording. This makes it easier to record your favourite programmes, but once again the lack of twin tuners prevents you from recording one channel and watching another, denying you the flexibility of PVRs like Sky+ or the twin-tuner DMR-BS850 from Panasonic. It's a shame but not unexpected.

Like previous LG models, the RHT497H also features a ‘Super Multi' DVD drive, which means it can record onto a wide range of DVD formats - DVD-RAM, DVD+RW/+R, DVD-RW/-R and DVD+R Double Layer. Slip a DVD+R DL disc into the tray and you archive up to 21 hours' worth of recordings, although that's using the low-quality MLP mode - we don't recommend using anything lower than LP mode for archiving, which offers up to 7.3 hours. As for the hard-disk, it holds between 43 hours in top-quality XP mode and 477 hours in MLP.

On the outside, this year's recorders have been treated to a major makeover and look even more attractive than the previous generation. Gone is the silver top panel and stripe through the fascia, and in comes a sexier all-black design with a button-free front panel, except for a central circle that lets you switch between DVD and HDD. It's surrounded by a ring of light, which illuminates blue or red when recording, while the fairly small display panel to the right shows the channel number for a few seconds then reverts to the clock (or the elapsed time during playback).

The entire right hand side of the fascia drops down to reveal a row of buttons - play/pause, stop, record and HDMI resolution - plus DV, composite, analogue stereo inputs and a USB port. This can be used to play back DivX, MP3, WMA and JPEG from a USB flash drive, or to copy any of these files onto the unit's hard-disk and turn it into a multimedia centre.

Rear-panel connections are generous. The roster includes an all-important HDMI output, and thanks to the built-in upscaler it can send video to your TV in 1080p, 1080i or 720p. It's joined by component, RGB Scart and S-video outputs, while on the audio side you'll find analogue stereo output and a choice of optical and coaxial digital outputs, which supply Dolby Digital, DTS and PCM signals to your AV amp. Naturally you'll also find a Scart input for hooking up an external digibox or a VCR for tape archiving, and thankfully it accepts RGB, S-video and composite video signals.

Hogweed

April 17, 2010, 12:52 pm

While this machine initially looks attractive, unfortunately it is seriously flawed in a number of respects. The two main irritations are (a) recording from the EPG is extremely unreliable; (b) the remote seems to give a very poor signal, and up to half the time the machine simply doesn’t respond to it.





The first problem makes the recorder more or less useless – when you click on a program to record in the EPG, you’re presented with a kind of drop-down menu in Pidgin English:





Simple recording


It can be recorded as a series


Impossible to separately record the program


No program information





Now, you tell me what that means. Here’s a clue – whatever you guess, you're wrong. If the program is part of a series, it is impossible to record one episode. However, clicking on “Simple recording” has no effect – nothing is recorded.





If you keep trying and trying, switch the machine off and on again a dozen times, it may eventually decide to record your programme… or it may not. I have given up, and am returning the machine. It's not just mine – the same problems are reported on forums.





One to avoid, I'm afraid.

timtimtim

June 18, 2010, 10:34 pm

It also doesn't seem to have any way to cancel future recording from the EPG, even if you follow the instructions in the manual. I ended up with it thinking I wanted all the repeated episodes of Emmerdale in one night, with no way to stop it.





Bizarrely, if you use an old LG hard drive recorder remote (e.g. from an LG RH177 (6711R1P108E)) you can not only use it to control everything apart from the EPG, but you can instantly access the "Timer Rec" menu without having to go laboriously through the menu, AND you can access "Picture In Picture", which I don't think is even advertised as a feature.





It's just badly designed. I wish I hadn't bought it...

KathyMMartin

June 28, 2012, 9:41 pm

I have been really busy because of work and I have missed many of my favorite shows. I'm seriously thinking of buying an HDD Recorder. I'm still looking online to see which is the best to buy.

Albert

December 14, 2012, 9:16 pm

In one word, it is a piece of rubbish.

Picture, etc. okay but the operations stink. If you play back a recording and stop it, it does not remember where you stopped and next time starts again from beginning, unless you insert Chapters. Other main problem is that when you are recording something, there are things you cannot do anymore; 1) If watching a recording and new timer recording start, it stops the play back and shows the station of the new timer recording. You then must go back to menu but the play back start then again from beginning. 2) When recording and watching a previous recording, you cannot use Chapter, you cannot delete previous recording, you cannot program a new time recording, even if it does not conflict with current timer recording.

I contacted LG and they blame it on being a single tuner recorder, but that is rubbish as I'm only record one station and view previous recordings stored on the HD. My previous recorder was a Pioneer DVR-433H, which is a single tuner recorder and that one did all the functions all the time. Only reason I changed from the Pioneer one is to have DVB-T digital receiver build in as we recently changed to digital TV broadcasting.

So basically very disappointed with this LG recorder.

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