While LG has focused its efforts on television design it seems other elements of the home cinema chain have been left wanting, especially with funny-looking, though very competent, devices like the LG BD370. But in the company's new flagship 3D "all in one device", the designers have come up with a very slick-looking player indeed.
The HR559D follows the rules of the "Blu-ray Design Handbook" by including a drop-down flap and a slim disc tray. The LG employs the same logic as Panasonic players when it comes to eject and power buttons — the power button is over the disc tray while the eject button is on the right. Under the flap you get the transport controls and a USB port.
LG has always had decent remotes but the last couple we've seen from the company have been excellent. The HR559D's remote is ergonomic, stylish and fairly easy to use. The only things we would wish for are a backlight, and an easy way to choose between the player's different functions without having to manually scroll through the "Home" on-screen display.
The LG HR559D may be a 3D player and recorder, but what does this actually mean? Essentially, the LG will play back 3D Blu-ray discs and will also record 3D broadcasts. However, this last part is a bit of a misnomer as we've found most PVRs on the market will also record 3D. Furthermore, as far as producing 3D broadcasts is concerned, Australia has no 3D recording equipment to speak of, and in the case of football grand finals the broadcasters had to ship 3D cameras and crew from overseas. As a result, 3D broadcasts will likely be rare for the next 12 months.
Aside from the 3D tag, this model performs many of the functions you'd expect a PVR to do: pause and rewind live TV, record from an electronic program guide and one-touch recording. It's worth noting that the 3D Blu-ray system is a player and not a recorder. If you want to archive recordings, you can connect a USB disk.
In addition to recording and playback, the LG features a number of DLNA-compliant device.functions including YouTube — though not BigPond Movies — and is able to playback media from either a USB drive or over your network from a
LG offers two models of this recorder: the HR559 offers up 500GB of space while the smaller, cheaper HR558 offers up 250GB. Neither model should be confused with the , which is a dual-tuner recorder.
If there's one trap that Asian manufacturers can fall into, it's offering products that are "jack of all trades, master of none", and this is where we'd put the HR559D. It certainly offers up a lot of functionality, and it does so in a very slick way, but it's missing some core functionality.
The shortcomings of the LG's single tuner become evident when you try to record anything — if there's any overlap you can't record a second program, and it doesn't even give you an option to choose which one you'd like to record. The machine simply tells you it can't do it, so you need to go back into the guide and cancel the original to then set the new one. Similarly, you can't can't watch another show while recording with a single tuner.