Well, uhm its user friendly because it uses the MCE controls. I mean, how many ways could anyone screw up on-screen directions? Scheduling and recording something is trivial.
And why would anyone want network compatibility between units? You can certainly network the LRM via 802.11b/g. The only problem you're going to find is that at the time of its manufacture, it only supported certain types of wireless network cards. The list is on their website support area
. If you are going wired network, then a standard CAT5 run is all there is to it.
I didn't know about the finicky and limited wireless networking support before splurging on a specific D-Link 802.11g USB adapter (because I only use Linksys or D-Link products) only to find that it didn't work.
In the end I had to search eBay in order to find the D-Link DWL-G120 adapter which is no longer sold in stores. And that was after
I had bought two Linksys WUSB54G adapters in which the vendors had no idea - without opening the box - whether the adapter was a v1, v2 or v4. Of course, when they arrived, they were neither of those versions and didn't work.
LG tech support is non-existent. Especially for this [now discontinued] product.
The LRM uses the [now free] Microsoft Programming Guide
which is also what they use for the MCE PCs. So thats going to be around forever; especially with Vista now pushing MCE in a big way.
The Yahoo! group is useless
. I subscribed since I bought my unit and thus far, I haven't seen a single
post that is even worthy of having a group dedicated to this unit.
The group is 99.9% about complaints about the unit. These range from the darkness of the picture to the compression of the recording to the fact that you can't connect (without going through hoops) your devices (e.g. VCR, video camera etc) to the unit.
Once you get this unit, it will be immediately obvious why it has been discountinued and only existing stock is being sold through some stores (e.g. Best Buy) or recycled through Lg resellers such as the one (refurbking.com) I bought (for $339 + shipping on 06/11/06) mine from on eBay.
Regardless of what kind of connection you use, the recorded picture is dark. You won't expect this with high grade component cables, but its there. If you can live with having to change your TV's picture settings when viewing live TV or a recording through the LRM, then this is probably not a big deal.
.....then there are the blotches (due to compression artifacts) in the picture. They're horrible
especially in Black or near dark areas of the picture. I have no idea wtf LG did here and whether or not they're using some non-standard compression scheme or what. I have Tivo and I see no such artifacts. This is evident when watching Live television as well as recorded shows even at their Best picture quality setting for the compression to use. It is horrible. I kid you not.
Setup to my Denon AVR-3805 powered AV setup and DirectTV (I have the D11 receiver) was fairly uneventful once I got the correct network adapter. It comes with a very good manual, all the cables etc. I only ended up providing my own Monster component cables.
The LRM can change the channels on the D11 unit quite easily (using either IR blaster or serial connection) but rather slowly; though you can adjust the delay between code inputs.
It connects to my WINXP network just fine and can display my photos as well as play my music once Windows Media Connect 2 is installed and configured on the computer.
You can play DVDs on the LRM, though I don't, since I have a Denon DVD-955S unit for that task.
You can burn recorded shows to the DVD just fine.
You won't be able to transfer media to the LRM. For e.g. I have Tivo in the bedroom and sometimes transfer shows to one of my computers so that I can either burn them to DVD or watch them. You can also transfer shows back to the Tivo. You can't do that with the LRM. It is a one way thing. Thus far, nothing
goes to that unit, despite it having a 160GB HDD which btw can also be expanded by adding an external USB HDD.
If it wasn't for the poor picture quality and the fact that you can't send anything to the LRM, it would have been a kick-ass unit. Thus far, it is only for those who want a decent DVR with no fees for program guide.
In fact, I'm considering selling my unit and just either building
a low profile HTPC, a decent MCE
or buying an off-the-shelf unit such as the excellent Winbook JIV Mini
or the Apple Mac mini.