Recording quality continues in this vein in the SP and SPP modes, both of which exhibit only a slight drop in quality from HQ, but in LP the bitrate reduction really starts to take its toll on picture quality. You can spot the first signs of dotty pixel noise and a smudgy ‘haze’ surrounding moving objects, neither of which makes the picture unwatchable but you certainly wouldn’t use this mode to archive your wedding video.
Motion starts to look even more juddery in SLP and SEP modes and there are noticeable dollops of block noise, but considering how much recording time they offer it’s a sacrifice worth making – just try and avoid fast-moving or particularly detail-packed programmes.
Thanks to the inclusion of HDMI output and video upscaling, commercial DVD playback looks great. Set to 1080p and viewed on a Full HD LCD, ”King Kong” is packed with detail, devoid of noise and bursting with strong sumptuous colours that give pictures plenty of oomph. The RGB output produces similarly arresting images, with only a slight increase in noise revealing the signal’s analogue origins.
Audio quality is exactly what you’d expect from a jack of all trades like this – clean, audible Dolby Digital-encoded stereo sound with TV recordings; terrific 5.1-channel movie sound through an amp; and enjoyable CD playback.
Despite being an attractive, feature-packed and modestly priced combi, we can’t help but wonder how much better the DVDR3577H could have been with a digital tuner on board. As it stands, the analogue tuner will no doubt make many people overlook this otherwise superb recorder in the run up to digital switchover.
We could understand it if the DVDR3577H was the token analogue model in an otherwise digital-ready range, but this isn’t the case – none of Philips’ latest HDD recorders comes with built-in Freeview, which only serves to highlight the superiority of recorders from the likes of Sony and Panasonic.
This is a real shame as there’s plenty to admire about the DVDR3577H, particularly the brilliant Time Shift Buffer feature and 1080p upscaling.
Score in detail