LG HR599D

LG's all-in-one media player works superbly, but it would want to for this kind of money.


8.1
CNET Rating
5.1
User Rating

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LG's HR599D is a grab bag of Blu-ray, DLNA media player and dual-tuner PVR. Combination units can go either way. Sometimes you get a superb mix of ingredients well presented that combine to enhance each component's strengths. All too often, however, you get a lucky dip of bubble and squeak that attempts to cover over its flaws by bamboozling you with how much it can do.

Design

The HR599D is a plain AV device that's strongly reminiscent of LG's previous LG MS409D PVR, although in the HR599D's case the LED clock display is slightly off-centre. The fold down flap reveals simple recording controls and the unit's integrated Blu-ray drive and a single USB port. For practical purposes, this means that if you want to run content off a permanently connected USB drive, you'll have to leave the flap down all the time.

At first glance, the LG HR599D's remote looks like cheap plastic. That's because it is. This is a pity, as the remote design is quite clever. The main directional buttons sit on a flat pad surrounded by the key function buttons for menu control, info display, disc and title buttons. It's a very comfortable arrangement that we'd love to see on a remote with slightly better production values.

Features

With an asking price of AU$1099, you'd want a fair set of features in the HR599D. At least on paper, the HR599D delivers. A dual-tuner, 500GB hard-drive-equipped PVR matched with a DLNA media streamer crossed with a Blu-ray player, along with YouTube compatibility make for an interesting mix. There are home AV functions that the HR599D won't cover off — but not all that many of them.

On the video front, it'll handle Blu-ray, DVD and USB or network-connected (Ethernet or 802.11n) MPEG2, MPEG 4 AVC, SMPTE VC-1, DivX, DivX HD, MKV and AVCHD files. Video connectivity covers composite, component and HDMI, all of which are rear mounted.

Performance

Setting up the HR599D was simple enough thanks to the clear on-screen display (OSD) that guides you through channel scanning and network set-up. We were impressed when the HR599D automatically picked up every network share in the vicinity without configuration, something that not every media streamer manages.

One minor quirk we hit with the HR599D was that when things do go wrong, some of the error messages are rather poorly phrased. It's never unclear that something has gone wrong, but a little quality translation work goes a long way.

The HR599D's OSD is similar to the MS409D's, with lots of large shiny icons. Even more in the HR599D's case, as it covers a richer feature set. Still, you could confidently drop just about anyone in front of the display and they'd have few problems accessing most features of the PVR, which is a good sign. The remote control also makes this nice and easy, as it's designed to leave your hand resting on the most common controls, but otherwise stays out of the way.

Blu-ray playback was acceptable but not stunning. We noticed some shimmer on action scenes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and with an average boot time of one minute, 30 seconds for Iron Man, we can't say this is the speediest Blu-ray player we've hit. It's just average.

The HR599D's YouTube playback works well, but predictably you'll be struck by the grainy nature of YouTube video. DLNA video streaming over the network was a lot better, and the instruction manual is intelligent enough to warn you that a direct Ethernet connection will deliver better results than the shaky video you may get over wireless.

On the PVR front the HR599D delivers mixed results. We would have preferred a direct Live TV button on the remote itself. Instead, you've got to access it via the menu. Likewise, the on-screen EPG is rich with detail, but only for the channel you're currently watching. You'll have to surf each channel to set up recordings or check guides, as there's no all-in table view of upcoming shows across all channels.

Conclusion

For the most part, the HR599D works well and delivers a nice suite of AV functions, but it's not exactly cheap. It's a worthwhile consideration for the simplicity it offers alone. At full price it feels a little expensive for our tastes.

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Tghu Verd
8
Rating
 

"So good I've trouble getting my hands on the remote"

Tghu Verd posted a review   

The Good:Easy to use

The Bad:Recording off an EPG schedule means you'll miss the end of your show

My wife picked this up for $450 on special from JB HiFi, apparently as a birthday present but I'm the guy who uses it the least because both tuners are usually fully engaged in peak hour, recording off the timer which is set up days in advance.

So, take a bow LG because you've overcome a huge reluctance to replace our aging VCR with digital.

Anyway, what's good:

- the user interface is easy to understand;
- creating a recording schedule is very straightforward;
- 500 Gb of disk may as well be infiinte for us as we've not even come close to filling it up;
- YouTube straight off the PVR is kind of fun;
- picture quality is crystal clear in all modes;
- there have been two firmware updates since we bought ours, delivered via the internet connection.

And what's not so good:

- it is definintely too slow to move beween functions;
- the USB on the front panel is convenient but a USB on the back would be ideal for a permanent HDD to be attached;

And now the absolute awful...but it's not all LGs fault:

- If you use the EPG to set up a recording you will miss the end of your show. Basically, the timing of what is actually shown versus what is said will be shown via the EPG does not match because of programme overrun. LG possibly could extend the end of an EPG schedule to automatically capture the last XX minutes after the EPG says it will end, but basically that's catering for the TV networks seeming disdain of viewers. And it would not always work. Bummer.

So, we are very happy with our LG.

Reg_Oz
2
Rating
 

"Liked the old LG PVR, this one is terrible"

Reg_Oz posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Blue-ray Player / Can copy to / view external device

The Bad:Bad Interface, Slow to start, Flakey

I have the 5403P which is excellent and that is why when I decided to upgrade I looked first at the LG HD599D as I assumed that the latest PVR would be an improvement ...I was wrong!
The startup is excessively slow and the response time from the remote is terrible - watching a playback and pressing stop takes several seconds to respond.

Another annoying issue is when a timer record program activates it will swap you from whatever you are watching to the channel you are recording. Why you would want to view what you are taping is a mystery.

The fast forward function through recorded programs for the 5403P went up to 300x which allowed you to speed through programs with ease and the "upgraded" 599D has 7 fast forward speeds, the fastest of which is too slow.

There is no all channel EPG which is quite annoying, however you can view the EPG for one channel at a time. If I had my time again I would not have chosen the LG and looked for other options.

Just went though the excruciatingly slow software update and have not noticed any changes as yet!

**** off Pete
1
Rating
 

**** off Pete posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:No multi channel tv guide, Subtitles turn on and off on their own. I think its haunted.

What a heap of junk!
I bought it because it records to a remote disc.
The sub titles turn on and off by themselves, It is set to sun titles off in setup and yet, there they are printing out happily at the bottom of the screen.
The screen turns on with a pink hue over it until you select another av input and then select the LG again, then it reverts to normal colour. This machine is 2 days old!!!! I got it on special and now I know why.
I am going back to my Panasonic. It doesn't record to a remote HDD but everything else works

 

John posted a comment   

Excellent for everything except recording TV... oh wait this is a PVR, recording TV is its main function. Very difficult to schedule a weeks recording, almost impossible... there is no overall screen showing all channels, you are limited to seeing only one channels epg list at a time… ridiculous... don't buy one...

Steve
4
Rating
 

Steve posted a review   

The Good:looks good & features promise a lot

The Bad:The Software is horrible!

basically everything about the EPG and recording processes is BAD. It is hard to add time at the end of programs, so you routinely miss the last 10 mins. It interupts the show you are watching when a scheduled recording event activates, why, dont they know about background activity? When you try to action that isnt supported (e.g. more than 2 programs) it gives a meaningless error message so you have to figure out what you've done wrong for your self.
In Short: these guys miss every practical lesson everyone else knows about for PVR useability.
DO NOT BUY ONE!

Krackers
8
Rating
 

Krackers posted a review   

The Good:Easy to use

The Bad:Bit expensive

First foray with a PVR and it has been very easy. Also purchased a Pioneer receiver which gives it great sound. Easy setup and use without little use of manual. I haven't had any problems like some of the other reviewers. Family find it easy to use and program. I recommend this unit and look forward to the advanced features.

spoodge
8
Rating
 

spoodge posted a review   

The Good:Functions, Youtube, good reception

The Bad:Slow startup, can't default to TV on startup, no volume control, no mute

I want to like this unit but the start up is so slow and some basic convenient things are missing such as volume control and mute. It also default starts to the main menu and I haven't been able to work out how to default start to TV.

 

Tom posted a comment   

The Good:colourful interface, good performance, Youtube

The Bad:EPG, Ease of use

I have had Play TV for a few months and absolutely loved the ease of use despite having to use the controller. As for this LG player, it is quite nice but there quite are few problems.
I hate the user interface. It's nice to look at and i suppose it does the job but there's a heap of little things wrong. For example: I can't return to my list of recordings unless i press the home button, go to movie, select HDD, enter the REC file and search for the recording.
EPG is a huge 'P' in the 'A' as you can't get a list of all the channels showing their times and going through channel by channel is a pain as i don't really like the way it's set out. I prefer the EPG with my TV's built in tunner, which doesn't even have 7 day EPG.
My biggest problem is setting the recordings. if you're half way watching a program, you have to record the rest in intervals of 30min, 1hr etc or manually set a timed recording. and because you've turned the system on to watch a show, it won't turn off automatically, so i left it on all night. I couldn't figure out how make it automatically turn itself off (even with instructions). with the ps3 system you can just press the power button and it displays a message on the screen that the system is currently recording and will turn itself off.
Good things is that the machine does look good and being able to copy your recordings to USB is quite handy. DVD up scaling is good and so is blu-ray playback (but is a bit slower than expected).
Overall not that happy with it, but dual recording is quite handy and is nice for watching DVDs (not so much blu-rays). maybe with firmware updates this thing will become 'daily usable' but for now i avoid using it. there are better multi-media playing machines out there (such as a playstation). At the moment i use tv viewing with the tunner built in the TV, record, watch blu-rays and movies off USB with the PS3. I only use the LG if there's 2 programs i need to record at once or to copy that recording to a USB and to play DVDs. Quite dissapointed but had to spend quite a lot of giftcards ($2,000) on something(also got a very nice sound system)

Lou(again)
1
Rating
 

Lou(again) posted a review   

The Good:...Setup? Each time it does an involuntary reset!

The Bad:Almost everything!

I had high hopes for the HR599D but after a few months and yes - dealing with LG support, I cannot badmouth this unit enough. It resets / reboots randomly, on occasion requires reconfig of wireless network settings. Set an EPG record, you're lucky to get two out three. Set a timer record and on playback, it claims unreadable format!!?! I formatted the HDD and found here that if you change the timeshift buffer from 4GB to 16GB - 4 hours timeshift capabilities! Now why don't the technical support at LG know this? I don't bother with Blu-ray movies as each disc requires at least two attempts for it to work.

PS. Don't press any other buttons while time-shifting - the time-shift stops!!!


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User Reviews / Comments  LG HR599D

  • Tghu Verd

    Tghu Verd

    Rating8

    "My wife picked this up for $450 on special from JB HiFi, apparently as a birthday present but I'm the guy who uses it the least because both tuners are usually fully engaged in peak hour, recording..."

  • Reg_Oz

    Reg_Oz

    Rating2

    "I have the 5403P which is excellent and that is why when I decided to upgrade I looked first at the LG HD599D as I assumed that the latest PVR would be an improvement ...I was wrong!
    The sta..."

  • **** off Pete

    **** off Pete

    Rating1

    "What a heap of junk!
    I bought it because it records to a remote disc.
    The sub titles turn on and off by themselves, It is set to sun titles off in setup and yet, there they are printi..."

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