Lite-On LVW-5045 DVD Recorder Review
$390

Lite-On IT Corporation

726 S Hillview Dr

Milpitas, CA 95035

(888) 845-8366

www.liteonit.com

Right On Lite-On!

If you're tired of your old VCR and a closet full of clunky VHS tapes, then get a DVD Recorder. If you want one with lots of features at a relatively low price, check out the Lite-On LVW-5045. This recorder includes a beefy hard drive that should make TV viewing and Disc burning an affair as comfortable as your favorite recliner.

The recorder comes equipped with RF, RCA, S-Video, and FireWire inputs. Getting a signal out with RF, RCA, S-Video and component will allow you to hook up and view your programming easily. You can also setup the player to output 480p for TVs that support progressive scanning.

With the LVW-5045 you can put nearly any type of optical media into the tray and copy it to the hard drive (except copyrighted, encrypted media). This DVD recorder can be the hub for content from your music CDs, picture CDs and DVDs. Additionally, the content then can be recorded to a variety of disc formats.

Prior to receiving the unit, we were aware of some firmware issues with the initial release. We made sure to update the firmware with the newest release from Lite-On before we started our review. After a quick update, we were ready to take the unit for a spin.

The Easy Guider menu is the focal point for controlling the DVD recorder. It's a guide that allows you to choose the playback, record, timer record and copy operations. Although you can operate some of the features of DVD recorder without the Easy Guider, it's the easiest way to do the basics.

DVD Burning Basics

Creating a DVD disc is a very simple process. There are two ways to make DVDs with the LVW-5045. Burn an incoming signal from an external device (i.e. VCR, cable box) directly to a DVD disc or record a DVD from content on the hard drive. Burning direct to disc is a simple process, but it lacks some of the advantages of recording a disc from content on the hard drive.

Video content stored on the hard drive of the Lite-On DVD recorder can be accessed via the browser. The browser acts just as a browser on your computer does by allowing you to navigate to and access content.

Mix It Up

By selecting a video title in the browser and pressing the edit button on the remote, a new screen appears. In this edit screen, video titles can be given new names, merged with other video titles or split into multiple titles. The merge option will take the current video title and combine it seamlessly to another video title.

The split option does just the opposite of the merge, by splitting a video title into two different titles. The split option controls where the title will be split on a small playback window, but don't expect it to be precisely frame accurate.

TV Time

Recording TV content is easy with the built in tuner. You can connect a variety of external devices, which will enable you to automate the tuning and recording of your favorite TV shows.

The Timer set-up allows the user to program the LVW-5045 to record at set times during the day. It can also set reoccurring times throughout eternity, or until there's no more disc space. This feature is similar to a typical VCR. Unfortunately, there's no Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) on this device.

Quality and Quantity

The Lite-On LVW-5045 offers a variety of recording quality modes so you can record 1-6 hours of content on a single sided DVD disc (4.7 GB) or 33-198 hours on the hard drive. In this test, we chose the highest quality-recording mode (HQ) for our camcorder footage.

Our first test didn't go as planned. After the recorder encoded a little over 30 minutes of video from a DV camcorder via FireWire, it unexpectedly stopped recording. However, in a similar test with a different camcorder we didn't find any problems. We can't provide any technical explanations for why this happened.

Aside from this issue, the picture quality is very good. The MPEG-2 files play back video and audio smoothly. At the HQ mode, there are no artifacts or unwanted noise. Similarly, the SP mode shows very little noticeable difference in quality to the HQ mode. You won't really see any artifacts until you use the lower recording modes, which will work well for frequent, temporary content or long recording times.

More than Video

While the LVW-5045 is well built for recording video, it certainly isn't limited to just that operation. Copying images and music to the hard drive is as easy as inserting a disc and pressing the copy button on the remote. Music files are automatically inserted into a new folder (also known as album folders). And pictures CDs are copied similarly into new folders (photo albums). Photos on playback will automatically play in a slideshow with built-in transitions.

Summary

People looking to make the home entertainment experience more controllable in regard to content will find the LVW-5045 an indispensable tool. Its multi-functionality makes it an instant crowd pleaser. Add in the fact that it can duplicate DVD discs (non-copyrighted) and you nearly have the power of a personal computer at your fingertips.

Mark Montgomery is Videomaker's Editorial Assistant

TECH SPECS

Write Formats: DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, VCD, SVCD

Video Format: MPEG-2 (DVD+VR, SVCD) and MPEG-1 (DVD+VR, VCD)

Audio Recording Formats: Dolby Digital 2-channel, MPEG-1 Layer 2, PCM

Recording Modes: HQ= 1 hr DVD, 33 hrs HDD

SP= 2 hrs DVD, 66 hrs HDD

LP= 3 hrs DVD, 99 hrs HDD

EP= 4 hrs DVD, 132 hrs HDD

SLP= 6 hrs DVD, 198 hrs HDD

Just Fit= Variable

Video Inputs: Composite, S-Video, FireWire, RF

Video Outputs: Composite, S-Video, FireWire, RF, Component

Television Tuner: Yes, NTSC-M

Audio Input: RCA, FireWire

Audio Output: RCA, FireWire, Digital Coaxial, Optical

Audio Output Formats: Dolby Digital, DTS, LPCM, MPEG

Front Panel Connections: RCA, FireWire

Playback Formats: DVD-Video, DVD+VR, VCD, SVCD, Audio CD, MP3,
WMA, WAV, JPEG, BMP

STRENGTHS

  • FireWire Input
  • Huge Hard Drive
  • Some Editing Options

    WEAKNESSES

  • Needed updated firmware
  • No EPG (Electronic Programming Guide)
  • Questionable FireWire Issues

    SUMMARY

    Outside of the firmware issues, the LVW-5045 is a good DVD Recorder with plenty of HDD space.

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