Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Goodbye VHS, Hello DVD

I was all prepared to give a detailed write-up of the Lite-On LVW-5005 DVD recorder I purchased over the weekend. But, while searching for a site to give me a few specs to share, I came across a page that pretty much says everything I wanted to say.

This is a no-frills recorder. No digital cable tuner, though it does have a standard analog cable RF tuner, and no hard drive for PVR functions. It does, however, have a large selection of input methods, including IEEE 1394, and an impressive menu navigation scheme.

Additionally, the playback menu navigation is the best I’ve ever seen. In the past couple years, I’ve acquired a few items from colleagues sent to me on recordable DVDs. Among them, I observed two different menu schemes. The more common scheme had no thumbnails and a very ugly list made up of horizontal bars containing tech-looking information for each title. The other scheme was a little better since it has thumbnails, but only displays about three titles at a time, forcing you to scroll pages for every third title if you have many titles on one disc.

The Lite-On’s navigation is much better. There’s a screen capture of it a little more than half-way down the review page. It provides six-up thumbnails per page and offers the option of a list view, instead.

Best of all, CompUSA currently has this recorder on sale. Jeff pointed me to the low price which was, without a doubt, the clincher that made me decide to go ahead and buy one. After a pretty huge in-store rebate and an additional $30 mail-in rebate, it cost me only $170.

Just remember that DVD recorders are still very much first generation. I had just about resigned to waiting for a large array of refinements in the second or third generation of recorders. At just $170, though, I can afford to hop on the bandwagon early and upgrade to a newer/better recorder in a year or two when better (and probably even cheaper) units arrive.

Largely for my own interests, I’ve “borrowed” the table of recording quality specs from the review page:

Mode Time Bit Rate Encoder NTSC PAL/SECAM
HQ 1hr 9.5Mbps MPEG2 720X480 720X576
SP 2hrs 5.1Mbps MPEG2 720X480 720X576
EP 4hrs 2.5Mbps MPEG2 352X480 352X576
SLP 6hrs 1.7Mbps MPEG1 352X240 352X288
SVCD 34mins 2.5Mbps MPEG2 352X480 352X576
VCD 68mins 1.15Mbps MPEG1 352X240 352X288

» Posted by ALBj at 06:23 AM (ET)
Category: Cool Technology

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