LG LGDVB418 Review

LG LGDVB418

“The LGDVB418 DVD player is feature rich, very attractive, and intuitive to operate.”
  • Supports multiple media types; has a built in memory reader; supports DivX
  • Picture viewing from a memory card is slow; does not come with an HDMI cable

As the battle lines were forming over future high definition DVD formats Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, impatient home theater enthusiasts have been drawn to standard definition DVD players featuring up-conversion and high definition outputs. These DVD players can convert your standard DVD video to 480p, 720p, or 1080i resolutions for use with your HDTV. The theory is that with some signal processing, the video quality can be improved enough to justify converting to a higher resolution format for compatibility with high definition televisions featuring inputs such as HDMI, DVI or component video.

We decided to put the theory to the test with the LG LGDVB418 DVD player.

Features and Design

The LGDVB418 has a very low profile at 1.52″ tall. It appears even slimmer because the area below the control panel is recessed from the front and is black in color. The main controls, display, and disc tray are on the control panel which is silver, framed in chrome. At first glance you may not notice that there are memory card slots because they fade into the recessed area below. The front panel display is very easy to read due to a bright VF dot matrix display. The overall appearance is very attractive.

The three selector buttons for resolution, HDMI output, and memory card reader are on the top of the unit above the display. A small LED next to the HDMI button indicates that the HDMI output is active. Resolution is displayed for a moment on the front display each time the resolution button is depressed, but is not displayed your television. The main controls are on the left side of the front panel. These buttons have a fine machined appearance and a very positive feel.

While turned off, attention is immediately drawn to the red power LED which is too bright. The HDMI indicator is located on the top of the unit itself rather than the front of the display, and is only visible when you are looking directly down on the player, its not visible from a direct view position.

The remote control buttons are reasonably placed, but not illuminated. In fact, the styling of the remote is quite bland relative to the very attractive player.

LGDVB418
Picture Courtesy of LG USA

Compatible DVD Media:

DVD video
DVD audio
DVD-RW
DVD-R
DVD+RW
DVD+R

Compatible CD Media:

SVCD
Audio CD
CD-R/CD-RW audio titles, MP3, WMA, JPEG, DivX

Compatible Memory Cards:

CF
MD
SD
MMC
SMC
MS
MS-PRO

Setup and Use

The LGDVB418 comes with a manual, remote, batteries, audio cable, and a video cable.There is no HDMI cable included.

There are multiple video connection options with video (RCA jack), S-video, Component Video and HDMI outputs. There are both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs along with a stereo audio output and 5.1 channel audio out. For our tests we used the Component Video and HDMI outputs and the stereo audio output.

Both the HDMI and Component Video outputs were connected to a Hitachi 42HDT51 plasma TV. The Hitachi has separate memories for each video input, so we were able to adjust the video quality for the HDMI and Component Video inputs separately then toggle between them during testing.

The initial setup was easy once we became accustomed to the icons in the setup menu. The main menu items use icons, but once a main menu item is selected, the options are spelled out clearly.  One feature that we were annoyed to find missing, was the ability to display remaining chapter time or total remaining time. This was a strange oversight for a player that is otherwise rich in features.

We first tested the DVD payback quality with The Aviator then Alexander.  When the disk was inserted, the player displayed “Loading” for several moments before beginning to play. We observed a similar delay on the LG LRY-517 in a previous test.

The video quality was very good with the Component Video output and 480P resolution. The LGDVB418 will not output higher resolutions than 480P on the Component Video output when playing copy protected DVDs, so for these discs we compared 480P, 720P, and 1080i on the HDMI output to 480P on the Component Video output. There was very little perceivable improvement in the video quality.

We next played a DVD that contained video from a Panasonic PV-GS200 digital camcorder. This video had been recorded outside in bright sunlight and included brightly colored flowers. Since this DVD contained no copy protection, we were able to compare all resolutions with the Component Video output as well as the HDMI output.

Again, there was very little discernable improvement in the video quality at the higher resolutions.

Note: This player was manufactured in April 2005. Neither the analog audio out or digital audio out exhibited the lip-sync problem between the audio and video that some owners have reported.

CD-R JPEG Playback

JPEG playback was straight forward. When the CD containing photos is detected, the file menu on the disc is displayed on the TV screen. Along the bottom of the screen, the remote control functions are displayed. These can be hidden if desired to display only the photos. Each time the next photo is selected with the remote’s “next” button, it takes 5 seconds for the player to display the next picture. This seems to be the time required to read the next picture from the disc and prepare it for display. Interestingly when a photo needs to be rotated on the screen, it is rendered nearly instantly without the 5second delay. The slide-show mode has three different selectable speeds, but in all cases it took 5 seconds in addition to the delay speed for the next photo to be rendered on the screen.

Memory Card Playback

To display photos from a memory card inserted in a slot under the front panel, the memory card button on the top of the player must be pushed. This results in a picture of the two memory card slots being displayed on the TV screen. The remote is used to select one of the slots for viewing. Operation beyond this point is identical to displaying photos from a CD-R with one noticeable difference – it takes 15 seconds from the time the next photo is selected until it is displayed. All of the photos in the tests were from a 4 mega pixel digital camera set to maximum resolution. The photo loading time may be faster for lower resolution photos, but this was not tested.  The previously tested LG LRY-517 DVD recorder rendered photos from its memory card slots much quicker than this player.

Conclusion

The LGDVB418 DVD player is feature rich, very attractive, and intuitive to operate. The picture quality was excellent with both Component Video output and HDMI output. However, we were not able to discern that resolution up-conversion added anything to the video quality. This may be due to the high quality of the Hitachi plasma display in all resolution modes or it could simply mean that the LGDVB418 does not use any signal processing tricks to enhance the video quality during the up-conversion.

The memory card slots for viewing photos are very convenient, but can be frustratingly slow when searching for a specific photo.

Pros

  • High end appearance and styling
  • Rich features and audio/video output options
  • Excellent picture quality

Cons

  • No indication of resolution or HDMI mode available remotely.
  • Memory card picture playback is extremely slow
  • No video enhancement from the up-conversion processing
  • Does not come with a cable (HDMI)

Editors' Recommendations