I'll start! Just so that it has its own dedicated thread I'll post on here my previous posts from the general ATSC thread.
So I've been playing with it all day long. It's a great toy, but again confirms my believe that LG is a half ****** company that makes the same crap that it did when it was called GoldStar.
First to answer the one question I can for sure: 1080i is the maximum resolution output, only over the HDMI. Unfortunately I don't have an HDMI input on my projector so it is impossible for me to say if the HDTV signal is downcoverted then upconverted, my guess is that it is.
I am not sure if it is the program material or the recorder, but I haven't found a single broadcast yet in Dolby Digital, which makes me believe that the recorder does not decode the DD signal, hense I am inclined to believe that it does not really output the real HDTV picture either.
I am entirely impressed by the quality of the picture anyway though. Sinve I moved to my new house, and can't exactly afford $70 a month for cable I've been living with the terrible waves and shakes of OTA analog TV for about a month now. Needless to say getting prestine quality TV almost made me tear up. I am still mad at the SOB that came to install my cable internet, at my previous apartment the cable guy left the line untapped, so I was getting free basic cable, but not anymore.
I had tried hooking up the cable from the internet connection to the TV, but I can only get 4 boring channels - Fitness TV, Oxygen, We, and something else that looks like some religious program. So I was very curious to see if the QAM tuner would pull out anything more.
My heart literally skipped a beat when it showed over 100 channels found. The QAM tuner took almost 30 minutes to scan. Sadly though none of those channels are really viewable - they show up for about a seond, then they disappear, then again, and like that, but not one came up. So I decided to see how it would work with a paying customer's cable at my BF's house.
It was very impressive but also a little aggravating. It found 114 channels (QAM). From those all the local HDTV once were available, all the music channels that Time Warner offers, as well as about 10 premium movie channels! I didn't wait to see which one, cause his grandma was getting inpatient to watch her show.
The aggravating thing is that when it scans the QAM frequencies it finds tonnes of channels, but then when you try to watch them, only a handful of them are really available, I am not exactly sure why is it storing all of them when it clearly says after words either: "no signal" or "scrambled". The point is that after you spend 30 min scanning, you have to spend another hour manually deleting all the ones that are not really available.
The other thing I don't like is that it is hard to easily switch between scrolling through digital, and analog channels. You have to pretty much scroll through one set to get to the other. I am still not entirely clear on the direct channel access with the number buttons.
At home with my antenna I picked up 12 HD channels, I am not sure how many are possible, TitanTV shows about 30. If anyone knows a different way to figure out the available ones please let me know.
OK now a little details about the recorder.
It looks really sleek - all black (finally!), and not the glossy black that attracts fingerprints and smudges. Also the front panel buttons (except power and channels) are touch pane without physical buttons. That's really cool looking, but less convenient, because they turn off automatically every 10 seconds and to activate the buttons you have to touch the panel once, and then second time to press an actual button. In line with my shallow nature though, I am totally happy to deal with a little inconvenience for cool looks.
The thing, I am guessing will make a lot of people mad, is that there is no S-video input. There is a RF blaster to control other boxes though.
There is a built in RF modulator, and luckily all outputs are active in 480p, but in anything above, only the HDMI is active, so simultaneous connection to two monitors will have to be done up to 480p. The component output's maximum resolution is also 480p. Switching the resolution is done through one of the touch panel buttons.
The picture quality is pretty good, but a little uneven between different sources and channels. I find myself constantly adjusting the brightness both on the projector and on my TV.
The other thing that bothers me is that the unit gets really hot. I noticed that on the older LG recorder and on the Insignia model made by LG so that's still the same. Also while a disc is spinning the whole unit is vibrating really hard the whole time.
I really liked that in tuner mode the front display shows the clock instead of the channel number, but during disc playback there is no way to show the clock neither on the front nor on the on-screen display. The good thing is that the on-screen display at least shows both the elapsed and the remaining time of the title.
I haven't tried recording anything yet. The recorder supposedly supports all formats, including RAM and double layer. It came with a blank DVD-RW disc. The remote looks exactly the same like the previous models, but in black.
Hmmmmm, that's all I can think of right now.
Just found out it does have a flex time recording mode for timer recording. Another flash back is that you have to power off to activate timer recording.
I am beginning to think that maybe it does output actual HD. The display on every channel indicates what type the broadcast is: SD, HD, or DTV (that's with the digital tuner). I guess the only way to tell would be hooking up with HDMI.
I agree that it's a bit too much money, but on the other hand compared to the other models we've seen so far, this one seems to be the only one with a QAM tuner, and that could make a big difference for people with basic cable only. Add to that the bunch of tunerless recorders and it looks even better.
If I actually had at least basic cable I would rather buy a previous generation recorder with a hard drive, but right now I really need the digital tuner.
Recording with LG DR787T
So I did my first recording today - Desperate house wives off of over the air HDTV. I must say I am not all that impressed. The image is certainly better than anything I've ever seen from over the air recording, but no where near DVD quality.
Frankly, I've had better results with analog recorders with basic cable. As far as picture quality goes the Samsung DVD-R135 was the biggest "wow" I've managed, but that model had buzzing sound on the tuner part.
The recording, and the straight HD feed looks much better on my small 480i tube TV, but on my projector at 480p the image is much softer and somewhat blurry, compared to DVD and compared to the best analog basic cable recordings I've had. I've noticed this on every HD channel that I get - they look great on the tube TV, and notably soft on the projector.
I already mentioned that the brightness levels are very inconsistent from one channel to the next, and especially compared with DVDs.
Ooops! Forgot to mention that I made the recording in the highest 1 hour quality mode, on a DVD+WR, a LiteOn disc I've been using for about a year with my old LiteOn recorder. There were no problems with the disc, but the signal did get pixelated for about a minute during the 1 hour show.