First ATSC/QAM tuner recorder LG DR787T - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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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.
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post #2 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 09:37 AM
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does it do anamorphic 16:9?
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post #3 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't know. Don't quite understand that problem, I've never had problems with the aspect ratio on recordings, but what I haven't been able to compensate for with the recorder, I've always managed with my projector.

Yesterday I made a recording of Desperate house wives, which was in a 4:3 mode and the show after that was in 16:9. I had recorded a little from the second show too.

When I watched it with both the recorder and the projector set to 16:9, the Housewives seemd squished, by setting the projector to 4:3 fixed that problem. The next show appeared in correct proportions in the 16:9 mode on both recorder/projector.

When selecting the different ratios on the recorder this happens:

4:3 PS - on the regular 4:3 TV 16:9 programs are cropped to fill the screen.
4:3 LB - 16:9 programs are in actual ratio with gray frame on top and bottom.
16:9 - images are distorted on the 4:3 screen.

I don't know if that helps. I've read a lot from people talking about the anamorphic recording, but I don't understand what exactly the problem is.
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post #4 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 04:44 PM
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It sounds like it is recoding the anamorphic (widescreen) flag....this assuming all of your tests above were done on a 4:3 TV.

At no point in your rambling, incoherent post were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having read it.


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post #5 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyslav View Post

I've read a lot from people talking about the anamorphic recording, but I don't understand what exactly the problem is.

what we're hoping for is that the new recorders will record programs anamorphically(is that a word,lol)meaning that the widescreen recordings will play back correctly on both 4:3 and 16:9 tvs,from your description it sounds like it does.
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post #6 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I've tried it both on a 4:3 TV and a projector that has both modes. Everything seems to work fine - 16:9 programs are played back in the correct ratio and proportions on the 16:9 display, and are letterboxed (if so selected from the player's menu) on the 4:3 display.
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post #7 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 10:00 PM
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I just bought the sibling RC797T. The first tests I did was recording 4:3 and 16:9.
Both filled the 720x480 frame correctly and displayed correctly on widescreen tv.
IE
With tv set to 16:9 both filled the tv with the 16:9 show looking correct and the 4:3 show looking stretched.
With tv set to 4:3 both were pillarboxed with the 4:3 properly pillarboxed and the 16:9 squish-pillarboxed.
So, I'm happy there.
I still need to bring the discs to the pc and see how they are flagged.

I will review more after a couple more days use.

Mike
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post #8 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 10:05 PM
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I should mention my only gripe so far:

One digital subchannel, the PBS HD channel, is not being displayed correctly.
Imagine the whole image squished to the left with the right half filled with horizontal lines.
A tv I no longer have had the same problem with the same channel and a firmware update fixed it. I hope LG responds or I will be returning this within my 30 days and hope another model is satisfactory.

Mike
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post #9 of 236 Old 03-12-2007, 10:52 PM
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I got the DR787T LG DVD recorder Monday night at the Minnetonka, MN Best Buy. It does not output HD from HD broadcasts regardless of output setting. In other words I compared the picture via HDMI at 1080i with a broadcast on the local CBS station via my TV's built in digital tuner and it was obvious that the picture from the TV's tuner was sharp, clear and in HD. Switching to the HDMI input to view the DVD recorder provided a good picture but lacking in detail, obviously not HD.

As such the LG will not double as an HD Receiver.

I ran some tests using the HQV Benchmark DVD. This DVD tests picture detail and sharpness and also has several "Jaggies" tests. At 480i the LG did a mediocre job and failed both the sharpness and jaggies test. However it did pretty well at 480p, 720p and 1080i. I could not see a difference in picture quality at 480p or above.

I use a TV antenna for over the air reception. I noticed that the analog tuner lacks sensitivity, especially channel 2-6. It has a snowy picture which none of the other analog TVs or VCR tuner has with the same signal. Digital channels came in fine, though not in HD.

I am concerned that upconvert low def broadcasts will have bars on the sides and look bad when played on low def TVs. I would normally record a low def show on the analog channel so it will fill a 4:3 screen, however the weak analog tuner will also provide a somewhat snowy picture.

I set it to record The View on ABC-DT and a soap opera at noon, half on ABC-DT and half on ABC analog.

Another problem is that you can't record without leaving a one minute gap between shows,. In other words, you can't record from 1-2pm and from 2pm-3pm. If you set this it shows up as a conflict. You would have to start the second show at 2:01pm in order to get this to work, thus missing the first minute of the program.

Another big weakness for me is the lack of an S-Video input for recording. It only has composite video inputs! It does have an S-Video output. My VCR and low def Tivos are all connected to my A/V receiver with S-Video cables.


I hope other DVD recorders with digital tuners are a little more refined than this one. It will eventually be returned because of its shortcoming which are no HD output, timer issues and weak analog tuner.
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post #10 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runch Machine View Post

I hope other DVD recorders with digital tuners are a little more refined than this one. It will eventually be returned because of its shortcoming which are no HD output, timer issues and weak analog tuner.

This does not bode well for the other makers coming out with V1.0 of digital tuner DVDrs. Seems like analog tuner quality is going downhill in general - I have a feeling this has to do with the fact that the NTSC tuner is being incorporated into the ATSC chip and little attention is being paid to that part of the chip. The no HD output may be a deal breaker for many.
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post #11 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runch Machine View Post

I hope other DVD recorders with digital tuners are a little more refined than this one. It will eventually be returned because of its shortcoming which are no HD output, timer issues and weak analog tuner.

Thank you for your concise comments. Since this is a non-HDD recorder, the PQ of LP mode recordings will be of concern to many. Given all the other flaws of this LG unit, it's probably not worth my asking what LP mode recordings look like, but if you have recorded some samples I would be interested in your opinion.

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post #12 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 08:33 AM
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By any chance can you record 2 different programs at once? One using the NTSC Tuner & the other using the ATSC Tuner. Or record using one tuner & just watch another program using the other tuner. Thanks.
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post #13 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill1313 View Post

By any chance can you record 2 different programs at once? One using the NTSC Tuner & the other using the ATSC Tuner. Or record using one tuner & just watch another program using the other tuner. Thanks.

No.
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post #14 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 10:48 AM
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Just because some unit is listed with 3 tuners (NSTC, ATSC, QAM) doesn't mean they're separate tuners - most implementations use a single chip for all tuning function - so essentially they're a single tuner unit - meaning that you can't use the tuner but for one thing at a time.
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post #15 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runch Machine View Post

I got the DR787T LG DVD recorder Monday night at the Minnetonka, MN Best Buy. It does not output HD from HD broadcasts regardless of output setting.

I had it in my hands walking to the register yesterday, and decided to wait on exactly this feedback. Now the wait for Samsung, Toshiba & Panasonic is on to see what they can do.

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post #16 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill1313 View Post

By any chance can you record 2 different programs at once? One using the NTSC Tuner & the other using the ATSC Tuner. Or record using one tuner & just watch another program using the other tuner. Thanks.

With only one laser, it would be a challenge to record 2 programs at once.

At no point in your rambling, incoherent post were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having read it.


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post #17 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runch Machine View Post

Switching to the HDMI input to view the DVD recorder provided a good picture but lacking in detail, obviously not HD.

As such the LG will not double as an HD Receiver.

Well, that answers that. Bummer!

Thanks for your review!

- Rich
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post #18 of 236 Old 03-13-2007, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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OK. I have to say I am more and more impressed by this recorder. At first I wasn't very thrilled with the picture on my projector, but today I had a moment of genius and decided to recalibrate the projector, because it's been basically tweaked for my previous recorder. So I popped the THX optimizer and after a few adjustments the picture is just plain stunning - at 480p, I only have component inputs. Even the sound doesn't bother me anymore, because the PCM signal from HDTV broadcasts is really good, better than from the analog channels, and better than 2.0 DD converted to ProLogic.

I really doubt any of the new recorders will output true HD but I guess we'll see. I am really loving the recorder though, and seriously considering keeping it.
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post #19 of 236 Old 03-14-2007, 08:42 AM
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Now if they just added a HDD to it and keep the cost under $300 I'd buy one too.
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post #20 of 236 Old 03-14-2007, 09:44 AM
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saw the dr797t in BB last night. That's the model that includes VCR. They want $279 for it... Am trying to resist the urge to go back and get it since it's the first model on the market I've seen so far.

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post #21 of 236 Old 03-15-2007, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkjnovak View Post

I just bought the sibling RC797T. The first tests I did was recording 4:3 and 16:9.
Both filled the 720x480 frame correctly and displayed correctly on widescreen tv.
IE
With tv set to 16:9 both filled the tv with the 16:9 show looking correct and the 4:3 show looking stretched.
With tv set to 4:3 both were pillarboxed with the 4:3 properly pillarboxed and the 16:9 squish-pillarboxed.
So, I'm happy there.
I still need to bring the discs to the pc and see how they are flagged.

I will review more after a couple more days use.

Mike

Does the RC797T also lack a S-VHS input?
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post #22 of 236 Old 03-15-2007, 09:31 AM
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Why aren't any of these on Best Buy's website yet?
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post #23 of 236 Old 03-15-2007, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Why aren't any of these on Best Buy's website yet?

To me the bigger question is why are they not listed on LG's web site either.
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post #24 of 236 Old 03-15-2007, 10:36 AM
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Just bought the 787T last night at Best Buy. Didn't have much time to play around with it, but I did pop Superman Returns in to see how it looked with the upconversion. Resolution looked good, but the image was very dark even after cranking up the brightness on the TV. I'm thinking of taking it back. Anyone else had a similar (or different) experience?
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post #25 of 236 Old 03-15-2007, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinb8088 View Post

Just bought the 787T last night at Best Buy. Didn't have much time to play around with it, but I did pop Superman Returns in to see how it looked with the upconversion. Resolution looked good, but the image was very dark even after cranking up the brightness on the TV. I'm thinking of taking it back. Anyone else had a similar (or different) experience?


After I finished readjusting the settings on my projector, the image looked great. I had to actually turn the brightness down quite a bit compared to my previous recorder.

I did find the picture with certain digital channels darker and had to play with the controls again, overall I get different brightness from different channels, but as far as DVD playback is concerned, I don't have any such problems.

I am using the component out at 480p. Don't have HDMI input.
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post #26 of 236 Old 03-16-2007, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highheater View Post

Does the RC797T also lack a S-VHS input?

Yes, no S in
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post #27 of 236 Old 03-16-2007, 01:56 AM
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Just found out both - LG DR787T and DR797T are listed and available on bestbuy website w/ pics.
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post #28 of 236 Old 03-16-2007, 02:05 AM
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Yep, just saw that.
Note the 787 only mentions NTSC tuner - funny.
You'd think someone at bb or lg would care enough to notice.
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post #29 of 236 Old 03-16-2007, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkjnovak View Post

Yep, just saw that.
Note the 787 only mentions NTSC tuner - funny.
You'd think someone at bb or lg would care enough to notice.


The specs on BB also mention 1.5 playback with sound, which it does not have.

The other thing is the listed 12bit 108/Mhz DAC. It is not published in the manual, and this model still doesn't appear on the LG web site, but in my opinion this is a mistake too, the picture does not look like the DAC is 12 bit.
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post #30 of 236 Old 03-17-2007, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyslav View Post

The specs on BB also mention 1.5 playback with sound, which it does not have.


Actually, I think it does... the sticking point, though, is that it only has it when playing back commercial DVDs.

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