Introduction

†Weíve recently reviewed a set of three Lite-On CD-RW drives on SLCentral. We were happy with the drives, and we were glad to hear from Lite-On to review their new set-top DVD players. Lite-On has just entered the consumer entertainment market, and the LVD 2001 and the LVR 1001 are the first players in the new Lite-On division. † Both drives have advanced features, such as photo viewing from memory cards, duplication (1001), progressive-scan support, as well as TV recording (1001). But, were we impressed with the players? Read SLCentralís official review to find out.

Please keep in mind that we were testing Asia-Pacific Pre-Production Units. They are extremely like the final American versions, but do have minor differences. Once we get our hands on the American versions, we will note any changes between the two drives.

 

Lite-On LVD-2001

Design

The Lite-On LVD-2001 is a sleek, silver set-top player that should look good in any home theatre environment. Itís thin, silver, and looks great. On the front, youíll find the power button, the DVD drive, various playback controls, and a PCMCIA slot for a memory card reader. The front part of the drive is mostly a shiny black, which looks great with the silver body of the drive.

There isnít much on the front of the LVD-2001, but it has everything you need.

On the back of the LVD-2001, youíll find a lot more. There are S-Video inputs and outputs, composite inputs and outputs, and digital audio input. Youíll, also, of course, find the power connector. It isnít stylish on the back of the LVD-2001, but how often do you look at the back of your set-top DVD player?

  

The Package and Installation

The package came in a box that was secured using foam blocks. The drive was sturdy, and the accessories were included in a box that was on the side of the package. The box seemed sturdy, so I wouldnít expect anyone to have any shipping damages problems.

In the box, once everything was removed, I found a manual that was fully in Japanese. This is OK, considering this is a Asia-Pacific model, but hopefully theyíll ship an English manual in the American version. Thereís also the actual player, the remote (with two Energizer AAA batteries), a warranty card (in English), as well as a power cable a composite video/audio cable. The package was good, but nothing that you wouldnít find in any other DVD playersí box.

Installation was like any other set-top DVD player. Plug the drive into AC power, and put the composite cable from the output connection from the player into the input connector on the TV. Thereís not much to it. As soon as thatís done, youíre ready to play DVDís.

 

Features

The LVD-2001 is much like regular DVD player, but it does offer one thing that no other DVD player has, which is the memory card reader. The LVD-2001 has a PCMCIA port that can accept a memory card reader so you can view pictures from your digital camera right on the TV. A memory card reader came included with my review unit, but I am not sure if it will be included or sold separately in final shipping versions. It works very well though, and while you canít do anything to the pictures from the TV, itís nice to be able to view pictures from your digital camera without needing to connect any wires. I did get annoyed, however, by the fact that it takes at least 5-7 seconds to load each picture. While this seems like a minimal wait, when you are showing your family a vacation album, for example, the delay is very noticeable and extremely annoying. But, it is a welcome feature to have on the drive.

The LVD-2001 also features Progressive Scan playback for TVís that support the high resolution, but I was unable to test that because I didnít have a high resolution TV for testing. Progressive Scan DVD players do improve playback of movies, but if you do have a TV that supports Progressive Scan and you pick up the LVD-2001, or any other PS DVD Player, then donít expect a huge difference in quality from the regular interlaced picture. While the difference is there, it is not very noticeable.

The LVD-2001 can also play MPEG-4 videos, but I was unable to test this claim. It also plays MP3/WMA audio files, and this worked perfectly.

The LVD-2001 also has the standard connectors, composite, S-Video, as well as composite video. Youíll also find digital audio out and optical out audio.

There was one thing that drove me crazy about the player. Whenever the player was turned off, the power light turned on, and when the player was on, the light turned off. Does that make any sense? While it is nice that the bright LED turns off during the movie, and many people donít mind the light while itís off, itís still awkward for me.

The drive also had features such as 4X Zoom, and bookmarks. I thought that the Dimmer feature was cool. When that button was pressed on the remote, the LED on the player would dim down, so it doesnít stand out while you watch movies.

Drive Menus

There arenít too many settings within the menus on the LVD-2001 DVD player, but Iíll go through the ones that are there. When you turn on the DVD player without a DVD in the tray, you'll see the Lite-On logo taking up the entire screen. Clicking the Setup button on the remote will bring you to the Setup menu. It consists of three different menus that have various settings in each. I will go through each of them.

First up is the Initial Setup Menu. Here, you'll be able to set the system language (English, German, French, Spanish, or Chinese), choose whether an ISO disk will autoplay, and you'll be able to see what version LVD-2001 you have (in my case, it was V0.02.10).

Next is the Video menu. Here, you'll find the settings for aspect ratio (4:3 Pan Scan, 4:3 Letter Box, and 16:9), DVD Parental Control settings (as well as the ability to change the password to Parental Control), and finally, the option to turn on or off VCD PBC.

The last menu is the Audio settings. Here, you'll be able to change the Audio output settings (2CH/PCM or Off/Bistream).

As you can tell, and like I said, there are not too many settings to change for the LVD-2001. Keep in mind that this is a preproduction unit, so there may be more or less settings in the final shipping version.

 

Remote Control

I thought that the LVD-2001 remote control was well designed and looked very nice with the player. It has 46 buttons on it, and has a cover that slides down to reveal 16 of those. Itís entirely black, and features playback controls, memory card controls, and access to the menu. I It does not have a volume control, however, so in order to adjust the volume of the video, youíll need to do it via your TV controller.

Itís designed to be used easily, yet still stylish. I was disappointed, however, with the performance of the remote. It's range was below average, and it had to be pointed right at the drive to work. This was extremely annoying, and hopefully it will be fixed on the final production unit.

Playback Performance

Playback on all DVD's tested (Matrix, Gladiator, and the South Park DVD Season One) were excellent. All colors were sharp and excellently reproduced. I was extremely impressed with the playback of the DVD's, and they did look better then my previous RCA DVD player. There isn't much I can say about playback performance, so the bottom line is that the player played DVD's excellently.

 

LVD-2001 Conclusion

The LVD-2001 should sell for around $199 once it's released sometime in June in the font-family: Arial'>USA style='font-size: 10.0pt;. This price is reasonable, and if you are in the market for a new DVD player, Iíd seriously consider checking out the LVD-2001. It has a built-in memory card reader, which I haven't seen in any other DVD player, and that's always welcome. It also has Progressive Scan, which is normal for a DVD player in that price range. With the exception of the memory card reader, there is nothing that is too exciting about the LVD-2001. It's much like a regular DVD player, and it doesn't really stand out. However, it is a great drive, whether it stands out or not, so like I said , if you are in the market for a DVD player; check out the LVD-2001.

SLRating: 9/10

Read our second review here

Pros:

Looks Great

Slim Size

Memory Card Reader

DVD's Look Excellent

Reasonably Priced

Progressive Scan

Cons:

Memory Reader SLOW

Nothing Special (excluding the memory card reader)

Sucky Remote

LVR-1001

Design

When you first look at the LVR-1001, youíll notice that it has two drive trays, which is very unique. In fact, Iíve never seen a DVD player with two drive trays.

Besides the two trays, the LVR-1001 looks extremely similar to the LVD-2001. The 1001 is a lot thicker, however, and includes navigational buttons right on the player. The 2001 also has a vertical PCMCIA slot, while the 2001 has a horizontal slot. There are many more buttons on the 1001, which makes sense considering the extra drive. The LVR-1001 also features front composite out ports for easy connectivity.

On the back of the player, youíll find an S-Video port, Component Video ports, Composite Ports, a Digital Coaxial Port, a Digital Optical Port, and an Analog Output. There is also, of course, the power. Quite a few, arenít there?

  

The Box and Installation

The box was a standard cardboard box that was fairly large. The drive was secured with Styrofoam blocks, and it didnít seem like it would break during shipment.

Once everything is out of the box, youíll find the player, the remote, two AAA batteries, a manual, a warranty card, a composite video/audio cable, and a AC power cable. The manual, however, was just a photocopy packet of about 30 pages. Considering this is a preproduction unit, I canít hold this really against Lite-On, and they hopefully will package a real manual in the final shipping version of the player.

Installation was nothing special, but there was one twist. Once the player is plugged in and the standard composite (or S-Video or Component) cables are hooked up, youíll want to hook up yet another composite (or S-Video) cable to an outside source, preferably the TV for recording, the real benefit of this player .. If you donít want to hook it up to the TV, thatís fine, it wonít effect playback of DVDís. Thereís also a front hookup location in case you want to hook something up later and donít want to go to the back of the drive.

 

Features

This is where the LVR-1001 shines. The 2nd drive tray is obviously there for a reason. At first look, most probably think itís for DVD duplication. Unfortunately, itís not for that. What it is for is for hooking up another video device, such as a TV, camcorder, or VCR. Then, you put in a blank CD-R in the drive tray, and you can burn the audio and video from the other device right onto a CD-R. Iíll go into this in more detail later.

You can also duplicate VCDĒs with the drive easily. Just put the original in the DVD player and the blank CD in the other drive and press Duplicate. Itís easy as that!

Like the LVD-2001, the LVR-1001 features a memory card reader to view photos on your TV. Unlike the LVD-2001 however, you can burn your pictures right on to a CD-R and make a Picture CD, which is really cool for distributing photos to family and friends. This feature also worked great, and is really easy to do. The LVR-1001 did not include a memory card reader, and is sold separately. It would have been nice for Lite-On to include one, considering the $400 price.

Thereís also an 8X zoom, which is cool. Quality is drastically reduced when zoomed, but if you have to see something in detail, itís nice to have.

The LVR-1001 also features Progressive Scan playback for TVís that support the high resolution, but I was unable to test that because I didnít have a high resolution TV for testing. Progressive Scan DVD players do improve playback of movies, but if you do have a TV that supports Progressive Scan and you pick up the LVR-1001, or any other PS DVD Player, donít expect a huge difference in quality from the regular interlaced picture. While the difference is there, it is not very noticeable.

Like the LVD-2001, the LED on the player turned on when the player was off and off when the player was on. While many people find this logical, I canít. I must agree that it is nice to not have an annoying LED on while watching a movie, I still found it weird.

Drive Menus

When you press the setup button on the remote control, the menu is opened up. There are three categories; System, Playback, and Record. Iíll go through each one.

In System, youíll find system language settings (English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese), TV Type (NTSC, PAL), System Time Settings, Video Out (Composite, S-Video, Component), and Set VFD Dimmer (Above Normal, Normal, Below Normal).

In Playback youíll find TV Aspect (16:9, 4:3 Letter Box, 4:3 Pan Scan), Sound Effect (Analog Output, Digital Output, DTS Output), PBC (playback control) on or off, Disk Language settings, and finally, Parental Control.

Lastly is the Record setting. Here, you can change the recording type. You can select from VCD, SVCD, Audio CD, or User Confirmation. VCD hold 74 minutes of video, SVCD holds 80 minutes, with slightly less quality, and audio CD records just the audio of the TV, which is nice for concerts, etc. You can also set up whether the disk is finalized automatically after writing, actually finalize the disk, and prepare a blank disk for recording. You canít just pop in a blank disk and record right away. Disk preparation must be done. Itís quick, less then 30 seconds, but it can be annoying. Disk finalization is even quicker.

Features

This is where the LVR-1001 shines. The 2nd drive tray is obviously there for a reason. At first look, most probably think itís for DVD duplication. Unfortunately, itís not for that. What it is for is for hooking up another video device, such as a TV, camcorder, or VCR. Then, you put in a blank CD-R in the drive tray, and you can burn the audio and video from the other device right onto a CD-R. Iíll go into this in more detail later.

You can also duplicate VCDĒs with the drive easily. Just put the original in the DVD player and the blank CD in the other drive and press Duplicate. Itís easy as that!

Like the LVD-2001, the LVR-1001 features a memory card reader to view photos on your TV. Unlike the LVD-2001 however, you can burn your pictures right on to a CD-R and make a Picture CD, which is really cool for distributing photos to family and friends. This feature also worked great, and is really easy to do. The LVR-1001 did not include a memory card reader, and is sold separately. It would have been nice for Lite-On to include one, considering the $400 price.

Thereís also an 8X zoom, which is cool. Quality is drastically reduced when zoomed, but if you have to see something in detail, itís nice to have.

The LVR-1001 also features Progressive Scan playback for TVís that support the high resolution, but I was unable to test that because I didnít have a high resolution TV for testing. Progressive Scan DVD players do improve playback of movies, but if you do have a TV that supports Progressive Scan and you pick up the LVR-1001, or any other PS DVD Player, donít expect a huge difference in quality from the regular interlaced picture. While the difference is there, it is not very noticeable.

Like the LVD-2001, the LED on the player turned on when the player was off and off when the player was on. While many people find this logical, I canít. I must agree that it is nice to not have an annoying LED on while watching a movie, I still found it weird.

Drive Menus

When you press the setup button on the remote control, the menu is opened up. There are three categories; System, Playback, and Record. Iíll go through each one.

In System, youíll find system language settings (English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese), TV Type (NTSC, PAL), System Time Settings, Video Out (Composite, S-Video, Component), and Set VFD Dimmer (Above Normal, Normal, Below Normal).

In Playback youíll find TV Aspect (16:9, 4:3 Letter Box, 4:3 Pan Scan), Sound Effect (Analog Output, Digital Output, DTS Output), PBC (playback control) on or off, Disk Language settings, and finally, Parental Control.

Lastly is the Record setting. Here, you can change the recording type. You can select from VCD, SVCD, Audio CD, or User Confirmation. VCD hold 74 minutes of video, SVCD holds 80 minutes, with slightly less quality, and audio CD records just the audio of the TV, which is nice for concerts, etc. You can also set up whether the disk is finalized automatically after writing, actually finalize the disk, and prepare a blank disk for recording. You canít just pop in a blank disk and record right away. Disk preparation must be done. Itís quick, less then 30 seconds, but it can be annoying. Disk finalization is even quicker.



Remote Control

I liked the remote control included with the LVR-1001 much more then the remote included with the 2001 model. For one thing, itís a matching silver color. There are also countless nice additions to the 1001 remote that the 2001 remote doesnít have, such as a handy navigational joystick. Below is a comparison between the two.

Also, performance was horrible with the remote. It had to be pointing right at the drive in order to work...very annoying.

Recording Programs

Let me clarify that this player does not make DVD copies in VCD format!

The LVR-1001 allows a connection from the player to an outside source, such as a TV, camcorder, or VCR, via a composite or S-Video cable. Itís easy to connect a camcorder for quick recording in the front ports, but itís wise to connect your TV to the back ports to always have access. Itís very easy to actually record. First, you turn on the drive and put it any (most will work) blank CD. I tested with PNY and Memorex CDís. Then, you press the source button on your remote control to use the correct output. Once thatís selected, all you need to do is press Record. The recording process will begin immediately as long as the disk is already prepared. It compresses the video and audio into MPEG-2 format to make it small enough to fit on a CD. Keep in mind that you can only fit 1 hour of video on one CD, so in order to have a movie on CDís, youíll need two. But, for TV shows, this works out to be just fine.

Quality of the recorded programs was slightly less then VHS. Itís not good at all for distributing, but for home viewing, itís just fine. Some scenes of a TV sitcom that I recorded were grainy, but still viewable. The quality never got bad, but it was not exactly excellent either. Once again, itís fine for home viewing.

You can also view the recorded video right on your PC since it is recorded in VCD format. Windows Media Player should be able to view the video. Quality on the PC was actually slightly better then on the TV.

I didnít like the fact that the drive lacked a timer. This means that you canít set a specific time to record something, so donít throw out your VCR just yet. You have to pretty much be there in order to record a program, unlike VCRís.

DVD Playback

DVD Playback was exactly like the LVD-2001, excellent. All colors were rich and vibrant, and there was no lag whatsoever when watching Gladiator and the Matrix. Thereís not much I can say about playback performance, so bottom line is that the quality was great.



LVR-1001 Conclusion

The LVR-1001 does what it is meant to do very well. It records video and audio easily, although the quality is not excellent, it is suitable. The design of the player is excellent, it plays DVDís extremely well, and has a memory card reader, something Iíve never seen before excluding the LVD-2001. Unlike the LVD-2001, it is a very unique player and not like others, mainly because it has two drive trays, something that will stand out! While there are bugs with the drive, such as the power light, these problems will most likely be fixed by the time the final units are released. If they are not, the drive is still great and should not lower the SLRating of the drive significantly. Keep in mind that this will come at a cost, a whopping $400. We previously reviewed the Terapin CD Video Recorder, which essentially does the same thing as the LVR-1001 when it comes to recording. However, it does not have a DVD player built in, has many flaws, and it was priced at $500 when it was first released. Considering this, it seems fair for a player so advanced and so well-made to cost $400.

The LVR-1001 is a much great buy, despite the $400 price. If you are looking for a easy way to put your home movies on a CD, or burn TV video on a CD, and also have DVD playback, you shouldnít look any further. The LVR-1001 does all of these tasks in a excellent manner and is worth your $400.

SLRating: 9/10

Pros:

Excellent DVD Player

Records TV and other sources (VCR, Camcorder)

Looks great

Great Remote

Memory Card Reader

Zoom Feature

Cons:

$400

No Timer

Recorded Quality just Average

Power light turns on when unit is off and turns off when unit is on

You need to prepare the disk for recording (takes less then 30 seconds)

Sucky Remote





        

           

        

        

        

        

        

        



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