LG LH-RH361SE review

A variable offering in terms of quality

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Our Verdict

There's a lot to like, but sound quality stops it from being the bargain it first appears

For

  • Feature-rich

    Solid images via HDMI

Against

  • Average sound

    No RGB Scart output

Despite being able to boast digital recording, the LH-RH361SE surprisingly isn't the most expensive model around. It boasts a large 160GB hard disk, which can store up to 220 hours of programmes, and multi format DVD recording onto all discs except DVD-R Dual-Layer.

Recording features include pause live TV and chase playback, MPEG4 (AVI) recording for portable devices and playlist editing functions for DVD-RW(VR) and DVD-RAM discs. You can also transfer files from a disc or USB memory device to the hard disk.

There's an HDMI output that sends upscaled 720p or 1080i video signals to your TV, backed up by component video output and a Scart that sadly only outputs composite video. There's an RGB-capable Scart input on the rear and front-mounted USB and DV camcorder inputs. The system plays DiVX, MP3, WMA and JPEG files, but not DVD-Audio or SACD discs.

The speakers are the small bookshelf type as opposed to tallboys, and the cables plug into spring clip terminals on the rear of the powered subwoofer. The system is generally easy to use with friendly onscreen menus and a busy, but effective remote control.

1080i and 720p images from the HDMI output are superb, boasting strong colours and an excellent level of detail. The result is that pictures boast depth, clarity and directness that makes the CG-heavy shots in Serenity look fantastic.

However, the Scart output's soft, noisy and over-ripe composite pictures mean you should avoid using it, which could be a difficult task for non-HDMI households, especially as the component pictures are also noisy.

Quality recording (sometimes)

Recording quality is magnificent if you use the XP or SP modes and the HDMI output, but through the Scart all the hard work is undone and EP recordings look horrendous.

MPEG4 recordings look great on a portable player, but on a big screen the quality is inferior to MPEG2 recordings. Finally, DiVX playback poses no problems.

Sound quality is disappointing. The main let-down is that the sub lacks restraint and refinement, particularly with LG's XTS sound booster activated. This makes the diminutive satellites struggle during louder scenes. Trimming the sub's level helps, but doesn't entirely rein in the flabby bass output.

The LH-RH361SE offers lots of features for your money, but picture drawbacks and average sound quality stop if from being a snip.