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LG LST-3410A Review and Discussion

post #1 of 7201
Thread Starter 
This is my second attempt at posting. If a duplicate, please delete!

I recently completed my review of the LG LST-3410A High Definition Personal Video Recorder. I usually can't share my findings publicly, but in this case, I was given permission. I know many out there are interested in hearing some first hand information regarding the product.

This follow on to the LG Zenith HDR230, is a very capable High Definition DVR. It adds a usable EPG, Digital Cable Tuning (Clear QAM), FireWire connectivity for a limited number of D-VHS tape decks and MV video cameras, and the storage upgradeability that hobbyists are looking for. Some of the shortfalls include lack of support for the most common cable set top boxes (such as Scientific Atlanta), lack of the ability to playback while recording, limited FireWire peripheral support, and no S-video input for cable / satellite services. Also, the unit failed to archive HD content to a FireWire connected D-VHS tape deck. This last problem may be an issue with the deck, or the cable used. Stay tuned for an update.

While it doesn't compare with a TiVo device in terms of ease use, it will appeal to the early adopter of HD DVRs.


The unit was tested with over the air digital broadcast (standard and high definition), direct connection to Time-Warner cable (Richfield, MN) for analog, digital standard definition and high definition, and connection to Time-Warner Cable though a Scientific Atlanta HD STB. The unit was then connected to a Sony KP57WS510 RPS television via Component, and DVI connections, as well as a to a Samsung HLN4365W DLP Projection Television via DVI and S-Video. Last, a JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS deck was connected using FireWire.

The unit was simple to setup and configure, once you read that you have to use the front panel controls to select the primary output connection and format. The unit found all cable and off air sources in the first attempt at autoscanning. The network labels (with graphic logos) were very nice.

The picture quality, both real time and recorded is fabulous for digital content. Analog tuned content is not improved noticeably by the device.

I took to using the device with the remote control quickly. Another reviewer found the remote large and cumbersome. Perhaps it was more comfortable for me because I have been using the "little sister" unit, the Zenith HDR230. The remotes are very similar.

I was shocked that the unit could not be configured to control the Scientific Atlanta cable box provided by Time Warner. I would have loved to have a chance to test the included IR blaster. I was also shocked there is is S-Video input for the unit.

As already mentioned in this forum, the unit cannot playback content while recording. This is IMHO a very bad thing. Interestingly, when archiving a recorded show to a firewire device, you can tune live HD content, but not watch another previously recorded program.

Support for FireWire drives to extend storage capability would be nice. However...

I was allowed to open the case of the unit. I snapped a few photos. Before I closed the case, a 180 GB hard drive accidentially fell into the unit. It was formatted in a matter of seconds, and the menus suddenly showed I had over 17 hours of recording capacity. I of course paniced, trying to return the unit to its original configuration before anyone found out. Somehow, the original drive and the 180 GB drive were connected configured as master and slave. The unit only showed 17+ hours of storage. It seems two drives are not supported in the unit.

The TV guide service functioned OK. One bug I found is that when I configured the unit to not tune to several channels, the deleted channels remained in the guide. Perhaps waiting overnight would have cleared this issue. Again, stay tuned...

Another minor bug is that the EPG guide allowed me to schedule two programs at the same time. I cleared the second program. I wonder what would have happened if I left it. Something else for me to try.

The biggest disappointment for me was the complete failure of archiving a program to a D-VHS deck. Our deck is in the supported list. I was able to control the deck with the device's remote and a firewire cable. Everyting seemed to be archiving just fine, but when I tried to play back the program from the D-HVS deck, I would get about one frame every few seconds, no sound, and a ton of decoding artifacts. I had similar problems playing back pre- recorded D-VHS content through the unit. Now, I was using a firewire cable with a adapter. The problem might have been caused by the firewire cable. I'll retest soon.

So, all and all, an OK unit. There is clearly room for improvement.

Hope this is useful to all of you.
post #2 of 7201
Wow,

So I guess you got to beta test? Niice! :-) Thanks for the preliminary it's very much anticipated and very much appreciated. Do you have to return the unit? What about upgrades, have you received any information with regards to how, when, where, how?

Quote:


and no S-video input for cable...

That sucks, but I can live with it.

Quote:


Some of the shortfalls include lack of support for the most common cable set top boxes (such as Scientific Atlanta),

You mean via an IR blaster/repeater or such? Does the 230 have that capability?

Quote:


FireWire connectivity for a limited number of D-VHS tape decks.

There are only 5 in production (2 from Mits, 2 from JVC, 1 from Marantz) so I'm not sure if thats a limitation or not. I wouldn't expect an older W-VHS or older D-VHS deck to be compatible, but who knows.

How's the build quality? I played around with a HDV420 at Circuit City the other day it was built very nicely from the controls to the inputs, etc.

Quote:


Samsung HLN4365W DLP Projection Television via DVI and S-Video.

How did HD look downconverted via s-video? Just curious really, and given the option to record to a standalone DVD burner, I'd do downconverted HD.

Quote:


The picture quality, both real time and recorded is fabulous for digital content.

Do you have any other STB to compare to other than the TWC box? DTC100, etc? I'd like to know especially since the TWC 3510 box has a much darker picture than my DTC100.

Quote:


Support for FireWire drives to extend storage capability would be nice.

Did you get a chance to try this out?

When is the unit shipping?

Quote:


I snapped a few photos.

Can you share?

Quote:


Another minor bug is that the EPG guide allowed me to schedule two programs at the same time.

Definitely try this out some more and keep us posted.

Quote:


Now, I was using a firewire cable with a adapter. The problem might have been caused by the firewire cable. I'll retest soon.

What kind of adapter was it and why was it needed/used? Can you keep us posted also on a retest. Adding another firewire drive and/or archiving to D-VHS is what I'm most interested in.

Sorry about the bombardment of questions, but my night-owl-mania has kicked in (I'm probably delirious at this point).

Troy
post #3 of 7201
Thanks for the review. Did I understand you correctly that you attempted to add a second 180g drive, the unit did format the drive but did not gain any recording time?

The unit as is is certainly not worth the $999 price tag. I hope they work on debugging fast.
post #4 of 7201
Can you watch the current HD program on HD component video output on your HDTV while the program is being recorded?
post #5 of 7201
So, everything falls in line with the preview JFerg gave a few monthes ago. I seem to remember him mentioning that the unit would support up to a 2TB hard drive. Since the 3410 gets the guide from Guide Plus, I would not expect a lot of flexibility with it such as removing channels from the guide.
post #6 of 7201
I'm sure the archiving/firewire stuff will be handled through upgrades/bug fixes. I would like someone (if not the reviewer) to expand on the set-up and use of the EPG. Can you tell it which channel to "find" the data on? Does it have to be an analog (SD) station or can it be a digital (HD) equivalent? For clarification, it sounds like it DOES accept a larger hard-drive (but just not 2 of them at the same time).
Does anyone have any updated release/availability info??!!
post #7 of 7201
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Originally posted by Troy LaMont
Wow,

So I guess you got to beta test? Niice! :-) Thanks for the preliminary it's very much anticipated and very much appreciated. Do you have to return the unit? What about upgrades, have you received any information with regards to how, when, where, how?

I am hoping I won't have to return it any time soon. I have had no contact with the Mfgr. yet. They have not seen my review yet.

That sucks, but I can live with it.



You mean via an IR blaster/repeater or such? Does the 230 have that capability?

The 230 does not have an IR blaster capability. Probably never intended to work with a cable box, since it lacks QAM support.


There are only 5 in production (2 from Mits, 2 from JVC, 1 from Marantz) so I'm not sure if thats a limitation or not. I wouldn't expect an older W-VHS or older D-VHS deck to be compatible, but who knows.

How's the build quality? I played around with a HDV420 at Circuit City the other day it was built very nicely from the controls to the inputs, etc.

I was very happy with the construction of the unit and the remote.

How did HD look downconverted via s-video? Just curious really, and given the option to record to a standalone DVD burner, I'd do downconverted HD.

I didn't critically look at the S-Video quality. I will try to do so this week.

Do you have any other STB to compare to other than the TWC box? DTC100, etc? I'd like to know especially since the TWC 3510 box has a much darker picture than my DTC100.

The other HD tuners I have used with the Sony (my personal monitor) are the Zenith HDR230 and the LG LST-3100A, which (I beleive, share the same tuning subsystem. The color is the same between the 3 HD tuners, and they are all vibrant, and beautiful. Much better than the coloration I get from my TiVOs (which I dearly love, even though they are only SD) (ps - Hey, Doug B. Can I get your HD unit to test?)

Did you get a chance to try this out?

When is the unit shipping?

I cannot say.

Can you share?

The unit? not a chance. Wanna come by and take a look? Sure. Give me a call!

Definitely try this out some more and keep us posted.



What kind of adapter was it and why was it needed/used? Can you keep us posted also on a retest. Adding another firewire drive and/or archiving to D-VHS is what I'm most interested in.

So, the firewire cable was a 4 pin to 6 pin from a Apple Ipod, with a 6 pin to 4 pin adapter from Lord knows where. The manual for the DVR was very clear in using only the 4 pin cable. I'll pick up the correct cable from my favorite electronics store (BEST BUY!) and retest, again hopefully this week.

Sorry about the bombardment of questions, but my night-owl-mania has kicked in (I'm probably delirious at this point).

Troy

[color=red]
post #8 of 7201
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Originally posted by jacmyoung
Thanks for the review. Did I understand you correctly that you attempted to add a second 180g drive, the unit did format the drive but did not gain any recording time?

The unit as is is certainly not worth the $999 price tag. I hope they work on debugging fast.

The unit did not recognize the 2nd drive to format it.
post #9 of 7201
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Originally posted by ThumperBoy
Can you watch the current HD program on HD component video output on your HDTV while the program is being recorded?

Yes, so long as you don't try any trick plays (rewind, FF, etc.).
post #10 of 7201
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Originally posted by Stanton
I'm sure the archiving/firewire stuff will be handled through upgrades/bug fixes. I would like someone (if not the reviewer) to expand on the set-up and use of the EPG. Can you tell it which channel to "find" the data on? Does it have to be an analog (SD) station or can it be a digital (HD) equivalent? For clarification, it sounds like it DOES accept a larger hard-drive (but just not 2 of them at the same time).
Does anyone have any updated release/availability info??!!

You cannot tell the unit where to find the guide data -- it just finds it. Yes, you can put a larger hard drive in the unit, just not two drives.
post #11 of 7201
Quote:


Can you share?

Was in reference to the pictures you took...

Thanks for answering my questions.

Troy
post #12 of 7201
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Originally posted by Troy LaMont
Was in reference to the pictures you took...

Thanks for answering my questions.

Troy

Oh, sorry! They can't be posted to AVS forum. I'll try to e-mail to you directly.
post #13 of 7201
what is the largest drive available that could replace the 120GB(180GB?) that comes with the unit?
joe
post #14 of 7201
Quote:


Originally posted by jlanzy
what is the largest drive available that could replace the 120GB(180GB?) that comes with the unit?
joe

2TB
post #15 of 7201
If this thing was shipping right now, I'd be highly tempted to jump on it, warts and all. I am soooo hungry for HD timeshifting (and not one tiny whit interested in archiving). My local cable provider (TWC) rebroadcasts the local HD channels in clear QAM, so I could use it to timeshift those.

I'd replace my rarely-used SIR-T150 with it and give it a split of my cable. Then I could set it up to timeshift stuff while I watched other HD in realtime through the cable STB or SD things on TiVo. It's even possible that, incorporating a 3rd generation ATSC tuner, it could pick up the couple of local DTV stations not on my cable system which I cannot tune (the SIR-T150 is "aware" of the WB, but I've never seen it successfully tune it for more than 10 seconds).

What happens if you're in the middle of watching something and time for recording something else occurs?

Of course, after I'd invested in this thing, my cable company will introduce an HD PVR, which their threatening to do this spring .
post #16 of 7201
Mike sounds like you have the beta firmware version for the SIR-T150 that is incompatible with KSWB (resets after a few seconds only on that channel), you need to use v1.8 firmware and that works with KSWB.
post #17 of 7201
The time you got for the 180gb drive seems like it's the same as the time for a 137gb drive. You need to try a much larger drive to see if you can really upgrade past the 137gb IDE limit. Others have gotten such time on the HDR230. There are a couple of threads on this in here.

Also, I will be PMing you my e-mail. Can I get some pictures too?
post #18 of 7201
When you get the new firewire cable I would like to know if it is possible to play d-theater tapes through the 3410a's DVI port. And if so if you have any control over the output resolution/aspect ratio.

Thanks,
Chris
post #19 of 7201
excellent review, answers lots of questions i have had about this device. The only one I still have is Can you set it up to repeat a recording every week? For example every set it to record West Wing all season long? Thanks in advance!
post #20 of 7201
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Originally posted by trk306
excellent review, answers lots of questions i have had about this device. The only one I still have is Can you set it up to repeat a recording every week? For example every set it to record West Wing all season long? Thanks in advance!

Yep, you can tell it to repeat record a show every week. No ability to avoid recording reruns, and it won't find episodes on other channels.
post #21 of 7201
What's the expected ship date of this unit?

Also what is clear QAM? Does Charter HDTV use clear QAM?
post #22 of 7201
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Originally posted by KornerKlub
So, everything falls in line with the preview JFerg gave a few monthes ago. I seem to remember him mentioning that the unit would support up to a 2TB hard drive. Since the 3410 gets the guide from Guide Plus, I would not expect a lot of flexibility with it such as removing channels from the guide.

I let the unit update a second night, and the channels I deleted were taken off the guide. I guess I just need to be more patient.

Other tests still pending. 'Tis the Season, ' Ya know.
post #23 of 7201
Quote:


Originally posted by cow736
What's the expected ship date of this unit?

Also what is clear QAM? Does Charter HDTV use clear QAM?

A tuner that receive "clear QAM" receives channels that are "in the clear" (unscrambled).
post #24 of 7201
I have a nice setup for recording one program and watching another. I have a 8 input Extron RGBHV switcher.

Once I get the 3410, I'll have 3 HD sources each on a seperate input on the switcher, one cable and 2 OTA. If I want to watch one and record the other I'll just set up the recorder to the appropriate channel and start recording then switch the input on the HD set to another HD program while the recorder does it's thing.

-----> cue Pointer Sister's music <-----
I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it...

Corny I know!

Troy
post #25 of 7201
Are there any 1-2 Terabyte IDE hard drives available for under $3000?
joe
post #26 of 7201
Thread Starter 
Quote:


Originally posted by cmont
When you get the new firewire cable I would like to know if it is possible to play d-theater tapes through the 3410a's DVI port. And if so if you have any control over the output resolution/aspect ratio.

Thanks,
Chris

well, it was the cable. I replaced it and archiving works great!

You can control the 1394 device with the 3410a remote.

All output of the 3410a is controlled at the time of setup using hard buttons on the front of the unit. There is no way from the remote to vary the output settings.

I like this box more all the time!
post #27 of 7201
Quote:


well, it was the cable. I replaced it and archiving works great!

You can control the 1394 device with the 3410a remote.

Sweeeeeeet!

Looks like I'm placing my pre-order today!

Troy
post #28 of 7201
scan1man,

It's great to hear that you got archiving to work (to a JVC 30K right?). Anyhow, I was hoping you could answer something dealing with archiving. Is there any way to edit out commercials on programs recorded on the LST-3410A before backing them up to D-VHS? With the quick access of hard drives, this is something that I've always thought would be relatively easy for a manufacturer to implement... advance through program, press a button on the remote to mark in and out cut points and simply skip marked out segments when playing back the video stream. It would be so nice to do simple editing between decks without having to ever use a computer. The only deck I've ever seen (outside of the professional realm) that had this feature was the JVC HM-HDS1U combination hard drive/S-VHS deck. Sadly, I doubt the 3410A has this feature but perhaps you can confirm it. Thanks!

Jim
post #29 of 7201
Quote:


Originally posted by Jasmo
scan1man,

It's great to hear that you got archiving to work (to a JVC 30K right?). Anyhow, I was hoping you could answer something dealing with archiving. Is there any way to edit out commercials on programs recorded on the LST-3410A before backing them up to D-VHS? With the quick access of hard drives, this is something that I've always thought would be relatively easy for a manufacturer to implement... advance through program, press a button on the remote to mark in and out cut points and simply skip marked out segments when playing back the video stream. It would be so nice to do simple editing between decks without having to ever use a computer. The only deck I've ever seen (outside of the professional realm) that had this feature was the JVC HM-HDS1U combination hard drive/S-VHS deck. Sadly, I doubt the 3410A has this feature but perhaps you can confirm it. Thanks!

Jim

It does.
post #30 of 7201
KornerKlub,

If by It Does you mean you can do simple edits with it then... Sweet!

Looks like I better scrap together some dough after the holidays and get me one!

Thanks for the reply!

- Jim
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