LG LRY-517 Review

LG LRY-517

“The LG LRY517 DVD recorder not only raises the bar, but with the integrated VCR and memory card slots, it runs away with it.”
  • Supports most DVD formats plus CDs and memory cards; stylish design
  • No high quality video input on rear panel; cannot control a set top box channel for timer recording

Summary

The LRY-517 Super-Multi DVD Recorder plus VCR with one-touch dubbing, DVD+R double layer, DV input, and 9-in-2 memory card reader may be the Swiss Army knife of DVD recorders. As with any new product supporting cutting edge technology, there may be some compatibility issues to worry about – or is there?

Features and Design

The LRY-517 has an attractive silver and black front and is relatively low profile for a combination DVD/VCR recorder.  The lower front panel flips down to expose the audio/video, S-Video, and DV inputs.  Next to the inputs are the two memory card slots and to the far right of these are the transport control buttons.  With the front panel closed, the layout is very clean with only the Power button, Tray Open/Close button, and Tape Eject button exposed next to their respective slots.

DVD media supported:  record and play

DVD-RW

DVD-R

DVD-RAM

DVD+RW

DVD+R

DVD+R DL

CD media playable

VCD

Audio CD

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

Memory cards

CF

MD

SD

MMC

SMC

xD

MS

MS-PRO

Magicstor (except Plus)

LG LRY-517
Image courtesy of LG Electronics

Setup and Use

The LRY-517 comes packaged with a manual, remote, batteries, AV cables, and a 75 ohm video cable.

Connection to the TV and stereo receiver was straightforward.  There is a single AV output, S-video output, and component video output that are used by both the DVD recorder and VCR.  There are both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs.  The AV input on the rear panel does not include an S-Video input.  The front video inputs (S-Video, DV) must be used for the best quality video from external sources.

The front panel display visibility is good, but the font could be friendlier.  The initial setup was very easy, showing a clear on-screen user interface.

We first tested the DVD payback quality with The Chronicles of Riddick.  When the disk was inserted, the player displayed “Reading” for several moments, but the disk did not play.  When the unit was powered off and back on, the disk began playing properly.  This behavior was never repeated with this disk or the others that we played.  The video quality was very good with the component video output connected directly to a Hitachi 42HDT51 plasma TV.

The DVD player was tested with a DVD-R, DVD-RW, and DVD+R DL that had been recorded on a Sony VRD-V20.  All played correctly; however, one of the two DVD+R DL discs caused the LVR517 to display “Writing Menu” followed by “Disk Error” when attempting to eject the disc.  This required turning the power off, then back on in order to get the disc to eject.

All of the discs, including DVD+R DL discs that were recorded on the LRY517, played correctly on a Sony DVP-NS700P single disc player.

The Sony DVD+R DL discs used in the tests are not on the LRY517 recommended disc list, so we suspect that this might be the source of the playback problem with one of the discs.

Digital Camcorder to DVD Dubbing

A Panasonic PV-GS200 digital camcorder was used for the digital video dubbing test.  With the LRY517 input set to “DV,” it detected the camcorder and displayed camcorder and DVD recorder controls on the bottom of the TV screen.  This provided a convenient interface for cuing both the camcorder and LRY517, using the LRY517 remote.

When the DVD+R DL was inserted into the LRY517, the type of disc was identified and the disc was formatted.  There was no indication that it was a DL disc; however, in XP record mode (highest quality), “1 hour and 55 minutes” was correctly displayed as the disc capacity.  Once the disc is ready and the camcorder has been queued to the first scene, camcorder playback and DVD recording begin when the Record button on the remote or on the front of the LRY517 is pressed.  DVD recording will stop when no signal is detected from the camcorder.

Video quality of a DVD recorded in XP mode matched the original digital camcorder recording very well.  Video quality in DVD SP mode was of noticeably lower quality, but still quite good.

VHS Tape to DVD Dubbing

A Sony DVD-RW disc was used for the VHS to DVD dubbing tests first with XP DVD quality mode selected, then SP mode.  LP and EP modes were not tested.  The VHS tape was recorded previously in SP mode from a Hi-8 camcorder.  The video quality in DVD SP mode matched the original videotape quality quite well.  Video quality in DVD XP mode was minimally better and in our judgment is not necessary for dubbing good analog videotapes to DVD.

Chapter markers are automatically added to the DVD at 5- or 10-minute intervals if desired.

The LRY517 has a “Title List Menu,” which provides extensive editing features, depending upon the media used and recording mode.  We used the “Title Feature,” which displays an on-screen keyboard to add a title to our dubbed DVD.  After the title was added, we finalized the disc and it was ready to play in other DVD players.

The entire dubbing process was straightforward.  Converting your library of family videotapes to DVD should be very convenient without the need to dig out the LRY517 manual each time.

Timer Recording

The LRY517 has an integrated “Timer Record Menu” that provides eight unique recording events for up to one month.  Each event allows you to select the media (DVD or VCR), recording mode (quality), and cable channel or front or rear AV input.  There is only one tuner and you cannot record both a DVD and tape at the same time.  However, you can watch a DVD while recording a tape and vice-versa.  In addition, if a DVD-RAM is recording a program, you can begin watching the program from the beginning before the recording is complete.

When recording from an external source such as a set top box, the LRY517 cannot control the channel selection of the set top box.  The set top box must be on and set to the correct channel when the programmed recording event starts.

Memory Card Operation

There are two memory card slots behind the front panel.  When the Memory button on the remote is pressed, a menu pops up on the TV and one of the two slots may be selected.  Pictures, music, or DivX movies may be played from the memory card.

We displayed pictures manually and in slide show mode.  The user interface was easy to use and included a picture rotate function.  The time required for the LRY517 to render pictures on the TV screen was adequate, but not as fast as most PC users experience.

Conclusion

The LG LRY517 Super-Multi DVD recorder not only raises the bar for stand-alone DVD recorders, but with the integrated VCR and memory card slots, it runs away with it.  Whether you are transferring old family movie tapes to DVDs, copying new digital camcorder recordings to DVD, recording your favorite TV programs, or displaying photos or DviX movies from a memory card or CD, the LRY517 will be the tool of choice.

Pros

·         Features

·         Compact/attractive design

·         Simple to operate, given the number of features built-in

·         Media:  supports most DVD formats plus CDs and memory cards

Cons

·         No high quality video input on rear panel

·         Cannot control a set top box channel for timer recording

·         Some pre-production quirkiness (we expect will be ironed out)

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