Out with the VCR

Von Sean Bacher

Agreeably VCRs are rather useful machines, letting you catch up on your favorite soap opera when you are not at home, or letting you record a video for viewing at a later stage. But the reality is that VCRs are just painstakingly slow, the video output is poor, and the sound, well we will not even bother going there.

At long last there is an affordable alternative, and it comes in the form of the LG RH4920W DVD recorder from LG Electronics Inc. This device not only lets you record to DVD, but includes an 80GB hard disk drive allowing you to record a total of 70 hours of video directly to it. What is more is that once your film is recorded to the hard disk, you have the option of transferring it to a DVD.

With 70 hours of video on your hard disk you must agree that navigating through the various recordings could be quite a task. However, with the RH4920W, each recording is saved and filed according to time and date, like your file system in Windows. Also, you do have the option of naming each film individually.

One exceptionally useful feature included on the LG DVD/HDD recorder is its TimeShift function. The best way to describe it is to give you a working example. Imagine sitting down to watch a rugby game when the phone rings, now ordinarily you have three options; firstly you can start recording the game, answer the phone, draw out the conversation until the end of the game, and then watch the entire game from start to finish; secondly you could wait for someone else to answer the phone, or, thirdly, you could just ignore the phone altogether.

With the TimeShift option, you can get the LG DVD recorder to start recording, answer the phone, tell the person at the other end to phone back later, and resume watching the rugby game where you left off. Now, technically you are not watching the game live, you are a couple of minutes behind, but the LG will carry on recording in the background, letting you watch the entire game from start to finish without any other interruption -- unless of course your phone rings again.

LG?s DVD recorder also allows you to plug your video camera and/or digital camera into it, thus letting you record all footage to the hard drive. It also offers basic video editing tools, such as fading and cutting. Once you are satisfied with your home flick, simply burn it straight to DVD.

The question I imagine everyone is dying to ask is whether the LG recorder lets you record from a bought DVD onto the hard disk. Well the answer depends on the copyrights imposed on the disc. If the disc allows you to record from it, the LG will record onto the hard drive. However, do not get your hopes up, as we tried this with numerous DVDs, and not one of them allowed us to copy it.

The RH4920W supports most types of media, such as DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD-Video, SVCD, WMA, audio CD, Kodak Picture CD and CD-R/RW recorded with JPEG and MP3.