LG RHT399H DVD/HDD Recorder with Freeview+ Review


Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £259.00

The RHT399H is one of the first DVD/HDD recorders from LG to feature Freeview+ (a.k.a. Freeview Playback) functionality, which makes digital terrestrial TV viewing a much more rewarding experience than it used to be thanks to features like series recording and pause live TV. There are three Freeview+ combis in the current range, with the only difference being hard-disk size – this version tops the range with a 320GB capacity, but it’s joined by 250GB and 160GB versions.

On paper, the RHT399H looks pretty impressive. That mammoth hard-disk can hold up to 935 hours’ worth of MPEG-2 recordings, and thanks to the multi-format DVD drive on board it can also record or copy onto most types of disc, including DVD-RAM. DVD-R DL isn’t supported but DVD+R DL is on hand to take care of dual-layer duties.

LG certainly knows how to make kit look good (just look at its gorgeous flatpanel TVs) so it comes as no surprise that the RHT399H is a real beauty. The black finish and silver strips make it look sleek and suitably hi-tech, plus the cheeky central silver panel (embossed with the DVB logo) is a nice touch. But most remarkable is how slim it is compared with the chunky dimensions of most DVD/HDD combis, and at 49mm high it looks more like a DVD player than a recorder.

Of course, the slimline design doesn’t leave much room for up-close controls, offering just four buttons on the fascia (one of which changes the HDMI output resolution) and it’s also to the detriment of the display panel, which only has room to show the time in TV mode or the elapsed running time during DVD playback.

The unit is impeccably built, with weighty bodywork crafted from strong, sturdy materials, and there’s a healthy array of AV inputs on the front, comprising DV, composite, stereo audio and USB, which lets you stream video, music or photos from a flash memory device or transfer them to the hard-disk.

The rear panel lacks spicy extras like an infrared controller port (indicating the absence of external set-top box control) or Ethernet, but you will find an HDMI output that can fire video to your TV in 576p, 720p, 1080i or 1080p, as well as component, S-video and RGB SCART outputs. These are joined by a SCART input, which thankfully accepts RGB, S-video and composite signals – a welcome choice for owners of Sky or cable TV receivers. Hooking it up to an AV receiver is equally hassle-free thanks to the choice of optical digital, coaxial digital and analogue stereo outputs.

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