Introduction

†We recently reviewed a set of 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).

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.

Following our review of the Lite-On LVD 2001 and LVR 1001 we received requests for more information on the MPEG-4 playback capability of the LVD-2001. If you missed the first review it can be found Here.

Features

The LVD-2001 is packed full of features, mainly the memory card reader and the MPEG-4 playback, which is complete revolution for the home entertainment market. XVid, which is similar to MPEG-4, is also supported. The player also has MP3, WMA, MPEG-2, and MPEG-1 playback, really making it much different then your average DVD player.

MPEG-4 allows users to download video files that are DVD quality, but are compressed a lot, making it fairly easy to get entire movies (I should add this is illegal) off the internet. The LVD-2001 is one of the very few DVD players that allows anyone to burn this MPEG-4 file onto a CD and put it in the player to watch it right on the TV. Without MPEG-4 playback on a DVD player, it takes users hours of converting the MPEG-4 video into a suitable format. This makes the process quick, easy, and very effective. The LVD-2001 supports DiVx 3.11 to DiVx 5, quite a wide compatibility range.

The LVD-2001 also allows you to insert a memory card reader to view pictures from your digital camera right on your TV. While I was provided with a CompactFlash reader, Lite-On offers a 4-type memory reader, which supports all of the main memory types. Itís very easy to do, just put the memory card in, and youíre ready to go. The player has its fair share of connections. The LVD-2001 has composite, S-Video, as well as composite video. Youíll also find digital audio out and optical out audio. 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 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. 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. Features on the LVD-2001 are out of the roof. For just $139, you get MPEG-4, VCD/SVCD, MP3, WMA, making it the perfect home entertainment device.

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.

 

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.

Performance

DVD Playback was the best you can get. Not much else to say, but if youíre looking for quality, here it is!

But what youíre probably looking for when you get this player is the MPEG-4 playback. Like I said, itís completely revolutionary. Simply pop in your disk and youíre watching your movie in a few clicks. Hereís what happens:

When the device is turned on, youíll get this splash screen.

Once a MPEG-4 disk is inserted, youíll get this screen.

Press OK, and youíll see the list of files on the disk. In my case, it was just one, the American Pie 2 DiVx CD 1 movie (with Swedish subtitles). Select your file, and press OK. The interface is excellent on the LVD-2001. Itís easy to use, clean, simple, and very functional. Almost impossible to find a complaint about it.

While my camera didnít perform too well under the fast moving video and the bright light in the room from the sun (no blinds), the playback was excellent, and, as long as itís a good DiVx file, looks almost exactly like a DVD. Incredible, and once again, completely revolutionary. There was absolutely no problems with playing, no lag, no sound problems, no video problems, nothing. People that download MPEG-4/DiVx movies and have a big collection will seriously LOVE this player. It saves them hours of time per movie, yet still remains just as functional. Lite-On did itís research with this one.

According to CDRLabs.com, the LVD-2001 can also read data from a DVD+RW, allowing you to fit multiple movies at once on just one disk. I donít have a DVD burner though, so I couldnít test this for myself. I also tested this player with a collection of MP3ís, and each song played fine with no problems at all.

Photo playback is also great. Once you insert your memory card, a screen will appear similar to when a MPEG-4 disk is inserted. Pressing OK loads the same menu as we previously saw when we pressed OK when using a MPEG-4 disk. You can browse through the images yourself, or do the automatic slideshow. Pressing Pause pauses the slideshow, which is very convenient. It does take about 3-4 seconds for each picture to load (2MP images), which can be annoying, but is manageable.

 

Conclusion

After hearing the readers of my original review rant and rave about me not stressing and testing the MPEG-4 playback, I decided to re-do parts of the review, which should be apparent if you read the original. Iíve tested out MPEG-4 playback quite a bit, and I found it to be nothing short of excellent. It works like advertised, and provides an amazing level of convienence to those people who download many DivX videos. Instead of having to waste hours of their time per movie to convert the file into the right format, all they need to do is burn it to a CD. Itíll then be ready for watching.

Besides the MPEG-4 playback, which is quite amazing, the player itself is very nice. The photo viewing feature works great, and the player is very easy to use. I managed to set everything up and use the drive easily, even though the manual was written in Japanese. My friends, who have little technological knowledge, could also use the player fine for basic tasks. While some features are a little more complicated (such as the photo viewing), itís definetly something that you donít need a rocket scientist for, and just about anyone over the age of 7 can manage.

I must say that I was mistaken when I said (and I quote) "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." This player is far from normal and has features that no other DVD player has. MPEG-4 support is just a awesome feature to have, and it should not be taken lightly. Therefore, I retract my original statement and I replace that with "This drive is actually quite the opposite of "nothing too exciting." Itís MPEG-4 playback is incredible, and that brings a whole new life to those people who download many movies in the format. While the photo viewer, etc. are all great, the thing that makes this player so special is the DiVx support, and I must say that I was extremely impressed."

Instead of my original rating of a 9.0 for this product, I would like to give it a perfect 10. While there are a few flaws, they cannot stop this product for just being marvelous. Congratulations, Lite-On!

Pros

  • MPEG-4 support
  • XVid Support
  • Looks Great
  • Slim Size
  • Memory Card Reader (photo viewer)
  • DVD quality is excellent
  • Cheap!
  • Progressive Scan
  • Cons:

  • Memory Reader SLOW
  • Remote
  • SLRating: 10/10

     



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