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LG's HR599D is a grab bag of Blu-ray, DLNA media player and dual-tuner PVR. Combination units can go either way. Sometimes you get a superb mix of ingredients well presented that combine to enhance each component's strengths. All too often, however, you get a lucky dip of bubble and squeak that attempts to cover over its flaws by bamboozling you with how much it can do.
The HR599D is a plain AV device that's strongly reminiscent of LG's previousPVR, although in the HR599D's case the LED clock display is slightly off-centre. The fold down flap reveals simple recording controls and the unit's integrated Blu-ray drive and a single USB port. For practical purposes, this means that if you want to run content off a permanently connected USB drive, you'll have to leave the flap down all the time.
At first glance, the LG HR599D's remote looks like cheap plastic. That's because it is. This is a pity, as the remote design is quite clever. The main directional buttons sit on a flat pad surrounded by the key function buttons for menu control, info display, disc and title buttons. It's a very comfortable arrangement that we'd love to see on a remote with slightly better production values.
With an asking price of AU$1099, you'd want a fair set of features in the HR599D. At least on paper, the HR599D delivers. A dual-tuner, 500GB hard-drive-equipped PVR matched with a DLNA media streamer crossed with a Blu-ray player, along with YouTube compatibility make for an interesting mix. There are home AV functions that the HR599D won't cover off — but not all that many of them.
On the video front, it'll handle Blu-ray, DVD and USB or network-connected (Ethernet or 802.11n) MPEG2, MPEG 4 AVC, SMPTE VC-1, DivX, DivX HD, MKV and AVCHD files. Video connectivity covers composite, component and HDMI, all of which are rear mounted.
Setting up the HR599D was simple enough thanks to the clear on-screen display (OSD) that guides you through channel scanning and network set-up. We were impressed when the HR599D automatically picked up every network share in the vicinity without configuration, something that not every media streamer manages.