Price (RRP): $999
The LG DR4812W helps eliminate the problem of recordable DVD format confusion. This unit records onto DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW. The only thing missing is DVD-RAM. And in terms of skimping on the design, there seems to be only one significant element missing – inputs.
Happily, a proper DV or i.LINK port sits on the front panel, making best quality dubbing from video cameras available. But the DR4812W is light on analog inputs. In particular, the back panel carries just one composite video socket. Neither component video nor S-Video, for higher quality recording, is provided here.
On the front panel there are both composite video and S-Video sockets and the latter provides very good quality for input from digital TV tuners, a VCR or camcorder but it does mean looping your video and audio cables around to the front of the unit, which is rather unsightly. It would have been far preferable to have another S-Video input on the back.
While I’m complaining, the range of recording modes is too limited, with settings of just one, two, four and six hours. As the four hour setting captures only average video quality, it’s very frustrating if you want to record a movie that’s, say, two and a quarter hours in length, especially when the two hour mode captures considerably better video quality.
These two points are really my only significant gripes. Sure, you don’t get the fancy ?Time Shift? (for watching an earlier point on a DVD while you are still recording) found on Pioneer and Panasonic models, but for basic and even quite advanced use, the LG is very capable.
Take one feature that seems not to appear on other DVD players: the ability to set the recording’s aspect ratio to 4:3 or 16:9. On other recorders, the output aspect tends to be a hit or miss affair so it?s generally unclear precisely how the video will be handled.
Ease of use
The supplied remote control is well designed and a pleasure to use. It has a good range and is completely reliable. All the regularly required functions are on its face, while everything else is accessible from one of two on-screen menus.
And the recorder is very responsive, with no apparent latency when hitting ?Record? or transmission delay when monitoring an input through the unit. With all slower actions a time estimate bar appears, which is routinely beaten.
The recording quality is very good, and reliability is excellent with only one wobble when I left it in pause for twenty minutes in the middle of recording something. The recorded sound is always two channel Dolby Digital with Dolby Pro Logic enabled, with a bit rate of 384kbps in top quality mode and 256kbps in two hour mode.
LG is onto a winner here. The DR4812W is cheap, reliable, offers most of the important features (including VR-Mode for DVD-RW and near-complete editing for DVD+RW, lacking only Title Combine) and so, of course, it is excellent value for money.