The unit features four front mounted buttons on the fascia that are a little too clicky and cheap feeling for our tastes but they don’t overly detract from the feeling of solid engineering. The remote control is typical LG and despite the number of functions the box can perform, is very simply laid out; it’s also quite light and features a recess at the back for your index finger making it simple to use one-handed from a supine position on the couch – we tested this for you.
Connectivity options are reasonably generous with that increasingly rare beast – a component video output – featuring alongside a HDMI port, composite video and stereo audio outs, a S/PDIF digital audio out and two USB ports – one to the rear and one concealed under a flap on the front panel. There’s also the antennae terminal to receive Freeview HD transmissions and a RF loop through in case you want to view from the TV's built-in tuner; you never know, there could be three things worth watching broadcast simultaneously – it might happen! The LG HR925M does feature built-in Wi-Fi but there’s also a LAN port for those that prefer wired solutions.
The Setup Menu is split in to 7 further sub menus – DTV, Display, Language, Audio, Lock, Network and Others. The DTV Menu allows for both manual and auto tuning, channel editing, enabling timeshift (play/pause/rwd of live TV) by default and whether to record to internal or external memory from the tuners. We would have liked to see a global padding setting for Freeview recordings as it’s a bit of a chore adding a few minutes at the start and end of recordings manually to make sure you don’t miss out when programmes are delayed, or even, begin ahead of schedule – again, this could happen!
The Display Menu allows setting of the TV Aspect Ratio and the Resolution. The 1080p Display Mode gives choices of 24p or 50Hz and it’s the former you want for almost all Blu-ray Disc. There’s also a choice of On/Off/Auto for the 3D Mode and a choice of YCbCr or RGB for HDMI colour space output – the HR925M defaults to the former which is probably going to be correct for the majority of users out there. The Audio settings allow for the Digital Output of both the optical and HDMI connections to be sent as PCM Stereo or Bitstream or you can allow the player to re-encode to DTS from HD audio for those without capable receivers. The HDMI connection can also be sent as PCM Multi-Channel. The other options include Sampling Frequency, with choices of 48, 96 and 192Khz, the option to engage DRC (Dynamic Range Control) for more restrained listening and an audio delay for the optical connection. Those with capable receivers can also enable DT Neo: 6 for pseudo-surround from stereo sources.
We weren’t able to get the LG Remote App – available for iOS and Android – working on either the BP420 blu-ray player we covered recently and, unfortunately, the same proved the case with the HR925, despite its being connected on our Wi-Fi network. The same is also true of the Wi-Fi Direct function, which allows the display of media files from enabled devices. We could get our Android phone and the HR925M to see one another but that’s as far as it got, despite exhaustive attempts.
We had far more success with media playback, however, and the HR925M’s listed support of MKV, DIVX, WMV HD, AVI, MPEG, AVCHD, XVID, MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC and FLAC media files seems to hold true, whether streamed or via USB. The LG Apps store is well populated with a large selection of games, lifestyle and education widgets and the whole package really will smarten up a TV that’s more than a year or two old. We were disappointed that the HR925M offered no access to LG’s 3D video streaming service, however, given it’s also a 3D player.
Freeview HD+ PVR
Setting an event to record couldn’t be simpler; select a programme from the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), hit the Red Button and you’re presented with options for Simple, Series, Split and Recommended. ‘Simple’ is, well, simple – it creates a single recording of the selection. ‘Series’ is almost as self-explanatory – it will record all the upcoming episodes of a programme. ‘Split’ caters for those annoying times where broadcasters stop a programme for the news, for example, and creates a single recording from the 2 broadcasts. Thankfully that trend seems to be on the wane but it’s a nice to have. The most mysterious of these options, ‘Recommended’, acts in a similar way to ‘Series’ only it records associated programing of the selection. For instance, Autumnwatch is currently running on the BBC; opting for ‘Recommended’ from the dialogue means that Autumnwatch Unsprung got picked up to record. We’d assume the same would hold true for the likes of ‘Strictly’ and ‘X Factor’ but we didn’t try it with them; just in case it worked!
Features like the above are as dependent on the broadcasters implanting the right metadata in to the EPG and, predictably, the BBC lead the way in their implementation. Credit also goes to Channel 4, who seem intent on making Freeview HD+ a serious rival to paid-for TV from the likes of Virgin, BT and, particularly, Sky who lead the way in providing useful features and a more diverse viewing experience. For the forgetful, or those that just plain ignore the HD channels on Freeview, selecting an SD programme to record where a HD version exists should result in the HR925M asking whether you would like to record in the superior format. Again, it’s down to the broadcasters to supply the information to the box so that proved a touch hit and miss. Actually, more miss than hit with , seemingly, only the Beeb bothering to do so.
Once programmes are recorded - or a recording is in progress – they are simply accessed from the ‘Shortcut Bar’ in the Home Screen. It is perfectly possible to ‘Chase Play’ – begin watching a programme from the beginning before the recording is complete – and there were also no issues with recording two programmes simultaneously. We bombarded the HR925M with a series of consecutive recordings, series and recommended records, as well as single event, and it barely skipped a beat. We lost the start of one programme owing to a late finish in the preceding event but there is the option to manually ‘pad’ recordings from the Timer record list in the EPG. It would be far more elegant to have a global padding option in the Menu that would allow for, say, 5 minutes before/15 after but at least it’s easy to make sure you don’t miss the end of a live broadcast. The maximum recording length is 6 hours so that’s most bases covered. It’s worth noting that ‘Timeshift’ isn’t enabled by default on the HR925M – presumably as an energy saving measure - so to ensure you’re able to pause, rewind and fast forward live TV you’ll need to enable it in the DTV area of the Setup Menu.
All in all, the LG HR925M can most certainly be classed as a proper dual tuner PVR and not some tacked on afterthought or a makeweight to bolster the multi-function credentials. Great work LG!
3D and 1080p Playback
As with the 3D performance, the digital nature of the content means that any Blu-ray player capable of outputting 1080p24 should – as near as damn it - be identical to any other when using the HDMI output. Irritatingly, the manufacturers seem hell bent on adding picture mode options to their players when they should just be concentrating on delivering products that maintain the integrity of the information on the disc but at least the LG HR925M defaults to the neutral ‘Standard’ Picture Mode, which showed next to no measured deviation from numerous Blu-ray playback options we have at our disposal. The User option is similarly ‘content friendly’ but the Movie and Vivid modes need to be avoided – Vivid over-emphasise the colour palette, clips detail near white and generally makes things too bright and gaudy; Cinema pretty much does the opposite.
Further testing revealed the LG HR925M to be correctly output the video without any issues as demonstrated by the multiburst and zone plate patterns on our Spears & Munsil disc. The images produced were excellent with all the Blu-rays we watched showing plenty of fine detail and appearing free from any undue judder.
We also used the HQV Blu-ray disc to check the quality of the video deinterlacing. This disc has a jaggies pattern that uses three rotating bars and all three bars were kept smooth with no aliasing. The 925 also had no problems with the video resolution loss test, correctly processing the moving portion of the image and leaving the background free of artefacts. The LG was also able to handle discs with film content that is encoded at 1080i/50Hz without any problems. We’ll admit to not owning that many Blu-ray discs mastered at 1080i but those we do – a Stevie Wonder concert and Gangster No.1 – played flawlessly.
Standard Definition Playback
. The LG’s performance was equally impressive with the film detail test, correctly locking on to the image resulting in no aliasing in the speedway seats behind the race car. In the cadence tests the LG also performed flawlessly, correctly detecting the most common types 2:3 (NTSC - USA/Japan) and 2:2 (PAL - European). The 925 also had no problems with the test displaying film material with scrolling video text, the text was always clearly readable without any shredding.
It’s all very well the players passing a selection of test materials but, of course, it’s the handling of real world content that really counts. Our need to ‘resort’ to standard definition, disc based content lessens by the day but the kids generally have to make do (unless it’s a title the grown-ups secretly covet) with DVD. Popping an eclectic mix of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ice Age 3 and The Wizard of Oz in to the player revealed the fruits of the excellent SD processing with each displaying in as much glory as the format allows.
Disc Load Times
- Standby: 0.0W
- With Timeshift enabled: 19W
- Timeshift set to manual: 17.9W
- Spot on Blu-ray delivery
- Well refined Freeview+ PVR
- DVD's are scaled very well
- Excellent feature-set
- Menus and Remote are superbly designed
- Might seem pricey against the competition
- Two major VoD services missing
- Disc mechanism couldn't handle the pressure
LG HR925M 3D Blu-ray Freeview HD Recorder Combi Review
The LG HR925M is styled to look like two devices stacked, which is a clever acknowledgement of its multi-function capabilities, although it’s really just a way of hiding the slot loading disc mechanism which sadly died on us during the last stages of testing. The remote is of a more simplistic design but none the worse for that as it manages to put all the buttons in all the right places without overwhelming the user. The same can be said of LG’s excellent menu system which also plays on the user-friendly ethos to great effect, despite the huge array of options available. Connectivity is more or less what you would expect in such a device save for an increasingly rare component video output.
It would take a cold heart not to be impressed by the amount of features LG cram in to their Smart portfolio and although there was a mystifying absence of BBC iPlayer and Netflix, there’s still a ton of VoD services to get your teeth in to. Not only that, media streaming and playback from USB storage proved extremely robust and we’d wager most of your file collection should be handled fine by the HR925M.
We approached the testing of the Freeview+ PVR abilities of the HR925 with some trepidation. LG aren’t yet a major player in the PVR market and we’ve seen dozens of them, from other manufacturers, that have failed to live up to expectations; tripped up either by annoying software bugs or limitations. Not so with the LG that proved an excellent and reliable recorder featuring all the bells and whistles that Freeview HD+ brings – Series record, Recommendations, Bookings – as well as the more prosaic dual tuner recording, timeshifting, chase play and all the convenience they bring to the table.
As hoped and expected, at default settings, the LG HR925M added none of its own influence to 1080p Blu-ray discs. We checked with the relevant measuring equipment and patterns as well as real world material well known to us and found near identical output to a range of other BD spinners we have about the place. The same was equally true for 3D Blu-ray discs but where the processing gets to truly show its abilities – with interlaced and standard definition content – the LG BP420 was not found wanting either with some excellent scaling and deinterlacing capabilities.
In comparison to some of the competition the LG HR925M might be seen as a little pricey. Both the Panasonic DMR-PWT420EB and Samsung BD-E8500M carry lower suggested retail prices for highly comparable specifications, so if you’re in the market for one of these devices it would be worth auditioning those too. However, the LG HR925M is certainly an excellent all-rounder – well conceived, carefully designed and thoroughly effective in the execution of its varied duties. It’s a comfortable AVForums Recommended Award!
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.