Introduction

We have previously reviewed quite a few Lite-On products, and most recently, the first models of Lite-Onís new Consumer Entertainment division, the LVR-1001, LVD-2001. Today, we bring you the latest device from the Lite-On CE department, the LVW-5001, probably the best device out of the three.

What makes it different from your average DVD player is the fact that it has a DVD burner, letting you burn your own DVDís from a TV source, a DV camcorder, or any other AV device, which is really great. While it is not perfect, it is a pretty good device, which youíll clearly see from this review.

So join me as I take a look at the LVW-5001!

Lite-On LVW-5001



Design

The two previous Lite-On CE device designs were completely uninspiring. This has changed with the LVW-5001. It looks sleek, fits in with your home theatre, and is, wellÖsexy! Iíd say that it can even compare to Sony design wise.

Lite-On LVW-5001

The device is pretty slim, too, which is a plus if youíre someone like me and have so many devices in your home theatre area. With my LVR-1001, I had a hard time getting it fit next to my cable box, receiver, CD player, VCR, and TiVo. With the 5001, I had no problems whatsoever with the LVW-5001, which was great.

The front of the unit has quite a bit. Youíll find the power button, obviously the DVD tray, play, pause, stop, etc. buttons, a record button, AV inputs to record DVDís from a outside source such as a computer or video game console, and a FireWire iLink port for certain DV cameras to import your home movies on a DVD.

Lite-On LVW-5001

The LCD display is small, yet I found that the orange text was bright, and very easy to see. While the display could have been slightly bigger, it wasnít too much of a concern.

On the back, you will see quite a choice of ports. This is the first DVD player I have ever seen to include a built-in TV tuner, and this is evident from the RF in/out ports. Youíll also find an S-Video in port, as well as three RCA in ports. Next is the three component out ports (for HDTV). Then, youíll see the RCA out, as well as the S-Video out. Finally, youíll find the Digital Out, as well as the Optical Out. Of course, there is also an AC input.

Lite-On LVW-5001

I was very impressed with the design of the LVW-5001. It looks really great, something can easily compare to Sony design-wise. I donít know about you, but design is a big issue for me when it comes to electronics. This device doesnít fail. If it was selling at a consumer electronics store (it is selling at Target), it would look great among the other DVD players.

Features

This is where the device really shines. Obviously, since this device is a DVD Recorder, you can make your own DVDís from a video source, such as a TV or camcorder. It is all very simple, actually. You plug the source video into the 5001 device, and then press record on the unit. Once you select which source you are using (which AV/S-Video/Component port), the video will show up on the screen, and you can begin to record. Itís extremely simple to use.

The device can record to DVD+R/RW only, not DVD-R/RW, so it is slightly limited. DVD-R/RW is slightly more used, so it would have been nice for Lite-On to make the unit either dual-format, or even just DVD-R/RW. Still, DVD+R/RW is fine.

There are four different quality modes, HQ, SP, EP, and SLP.

Mode Hour Bit Rate Encoding NTSC PAL
HQ 1 9.5Mbps MPEG2 720x480 720x576
SP 2 5.1Mbps MPEG2 720x480 720x576
EP 4 2.5Mbps MPEG2 352x480 352x576
SLP 6 1.7Mbps MPEG1 352x240 252x288

HQ quality is literally like a commercial DVD, itís really that good. SP quality is lower, but not significant. Below SP is where it gets pretty grainy. I would say that EP would compare (or maybe slightly better) to a VHS, and SLP is definitely lower quality then a VHS. After using the product for a few weeks, I can confidently say that SP is the best mode for day-to-day use.

You can organize the recordings in whatever order you wish on the DVD, as well as making your own titles and menus. While it isnít super-powerful, it does do the job for home-videos, etc.

The letdown of the recording feature is the fact that it will not work well with your cable/satellite connection. You will have to keep the cable box on to whatever channel you want to record, and then set the recording channel on the unit to channel 3 (or whatever your TV uses). Therefore, you will have to set the TV channel, as well as set the recording. Also, when using the DVD remote control, using the Channel Up/Down buttons will not be useful if you use a cable/satellite box.

All in all, the recording features of the device are good, but the problem with cable/satellite TVís is pretty significant IMO, therefore I am a little disappointed. But, quality-wise, the DVDís look excellent on HQ mode, and SP mode is good, but below there and youíre just going to have to accept grainy quality picture. This is, however, acceptable, and expected, for the recording length, as well as the low price of the unit.

DVD Playback is like other Lite-On models, excellent. They look incredibly clear and very sharp, and I would say that it is one of the best DVD players (quality-wise) I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I do not have a Progressive Scan TV, so I could not test this feature, but the LVW-5001 does have progressive scan.

The LVW-5001 can also play MP3ís. While it does have a 1000 file maximum (per DVD) that it can recognize, this should be fine for most people, unless your songs are VERY short.

Obviously, the LVW-5001 can play CDís. It can also play VCDís, SVCDís, and view JPEG pictures. When viewing, the 1000-file rule is in effect, like with MP3ís. This may be more of a limitation then it is with the MP3ís.

Overall, the amount of features on the Lite-On LVW-5001 is impressive, but I must say that I was a tad bit disappointed with the quality of these features, specifically, the recording feature, which is, obviously, the main use of this device.

Settings

Like our past Lite-On Consumer Electronics reviews, here is an overview of the settings in the setup menu of the device.

When the device is turned on, you get to a pretty blue Lite-On ďhomepage.Ē Pressing the Menu button gets you to the setup.

Lite-On LVW-5001

The first menu to pop up is the System settings. Here, you can choose the language, TV Type (NTSC, PAL), Date, Time, Video Output, and if you want to use an auto-sleep.

Lite-On LVW-5001

Next is Playback. Here, you can choose the aspect ratio (such as 16:9 widescreen, 4:3), Menu language, Audio language, Subtitle language (these are all defaults), Parental Control on/off, Parental Control password, Picture Slideshow time, and VCD PBC.

Lite-On LVW-5001

The next menu is Record. Here, you can choose the quality of the video (HQ, SP, EP, SLP), as well as the Chapter Mark. The Chapter Mark is the time between each DVD chapter.

Lite-On LVW-5001

Next is Audio. Here, you can choose the digital out settings, as well as if you want to use DTS out.

Lite-On LVW-5001

Finally, we have TV Tuner. Here, you choose what kind of TV signal you use, as well as your country.

Lite-On LVW-5001

Overall, the setup on this device is easy to use, and quite useful.

Remote Control

The remote for the LVW-5001 is significantly smaller then the LVR/LVD 1001/2001 models, and it has an extremely different design. Itís very easy to use, and buttons are clearly laid out. While the remote does not look that nice compared to remotes from companies like Sony, who cares, really, its just a remote! The range is on par with other remotes, and it has no problems whatsoever.

Lite-On LVW-5001

Conclusion

Iíve been debating on what this player deserves as a rating. While it does do what it is advertised to do, it has problems along the way, mainly the fact that it is a pain to record TV programs. Lite-On should have thought more carefully about this aspect of the unit when designing it, and should have included an electronic program guide, or even just a IR Tuner. This would have made the device significantly better. As of right now, if you are looking for a DVD Recorder for easy-to-use recording from the DVD, you may want to invest your money in a slightly more expensive DVD Recorder, not the Lite-On LVW-5001.

Otherwise, this product works pretty much with no issues. Recording on HQ and SP modes are extremely clear, DVD playback is excellent, and MP3/JPEG viewing is a good thing to have.

So the bottom lineÖam I recommending this device? No, and yes. If you are tight on money, and you can spend some extra time setting up the device to record, by all means, get this recorder. If you want something easy to use, that offers the most features, spend the extra money and get a higher-end device.

Pros:

Well Designed
DVD Recording is great to have
HQ and SP recording modes are excellent
DVD playback is excellent
Includes iLink (FireWire) jack
Easy to record from VHS/Camcorders
MP3/JPEG Playback/Viewing
Good remote

Cons:

Stupid TV Recording
Only DVD+R/RW Recording
EP and SLP modes have horrible quality
1000 file limit for MP3/Photo

SLRating: 7/10




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