The first generation of HD receivers has come and gone. Most models from most brands have been discontinued for quite awhile. A few companies have gone to a second generation, while other companies, like LG (the parent of Zenith), are now producing their third generation.
It should be noted that LG supplies HD receivers to other leading C/E companies as well. The LG LST-3510A is a unique product in that it combines a full-featured HDTV receiver with an integrated progressive scan DVD player.
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According to LG, the knowledge included within this sleek, brushed silver cabinet is really fifth generation technology, for its over-the-air ATSC terrestrial tuner that allows you to receive local HD programming via rooftop antenna. Besides OTA HD reception, this unique product also includes a QAM cable HD tuner. You'll be able to receive all OTA or "in-the-clear" signals without a separate cable HD box. The LST-3510A includes a NTSC tuner so that you can also receive all analog programming. All other incoming HD signals are automatically passed, including 720p (depending on the type of monitor), or can be upconverted to 1080i. You could output either 480i or 480p, depending on your monitor's resolution. By employing the electronic programming guide, all receivable channels are listed, making for easy selection.
The LST-3510A includes an integrated progressive scan DVD player. Talk about getting the bigger bang for your buck. Convergence is a wonderful thing. You get two high-quality components housed within the same cabinet for the price of one. This single-play model is a full-featured DVD player that outputs both Dolby Digital and DTS signals. It also decodes specially-encoded HDCDs (which offer improved aural quality over standard CDs). For superior audio playback, there are coaxial and digital optical audio outputs that pass all digital audio signals. It can be easily tethered to your A/V receiver with digital audio inputs for a complete 5.1/7.1 digital surround experience. (Remember, during setup of the DVD portion of the LST-3510A, set the digital audio output to Stream/PCM, which allows this player to pass DTS signals as well as Dolby Digital.)
One of the neat features of the LST-3510A is simultaneous SD and HD output. You can send HD signals via component video, RGB or DVI to your display device (such as Toshiba's 57HLX83, which I used for this review) and SD signals (at 480i) via S-Video or even composite video (at 330i) to a recording device like a PVR or VCR (downgrades signal to 240i). Presently, this feature is not found on most other HD tuners/receivers. Other models only output one signal at a time and to send SD images to a recording device, you have to change inputs from the remote, which can be cumbersome, and when using S-Video or composite video to record a program from a HD receiver, you could easily forget to change the output.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
Unlike previous generation set-top boxes/HD receivers, the LG LST-3510A comes with DVI (Digital Visual Interface) with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection). Next to this output, there is also a RGB-HD 15-pin connector (sometimes called VGA) that is designed to work with some plasma and LCD TVs. There is also a component video output. DVI and RGB-HD will output 1080i, 720p, and 480p. Regarding RGB-HD, DVD signals cannot be output using this connection (TV images only). If you want to simplify use, use either DVI or component video, which will also output 480i, handy if you are using a PVR or VCR. Of course, there are also composite video and S-Video outputs. These would be used to send signals to either a VCR or PVR so that you can record shows easily. During setup, press the Display Format button on the left-hand side of the front panel of the LST-3510A to designate the type of visual output you are using: DVI, RGB or component video, and press Select. At that moment, the output resolution is displayed. If you need to change it, press the Display Format button again to toggle from 1080i through 480i. If you have a plasma, toggle to 720p, and press Select.
With all your audio and video connections in place, simply press the Menu/Setup button on the remote, located just above the cursor/directional keys. There are five selections including Setup. The first thing it asks is if you are receiving signals via antenna or cable. It will then auto scan and program all the channels. It asks this so it can properly set up the electronic program guide that gives you complete program and channel information, depending on how you receive HD signals. From this point, it's simply a process of reading the prompts and using the full-featured universal remote.
Audio should be ported out of the digital optical or coaxial output to your A/V receiver or processor for the best possible sound quality, and to take advantage of 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS sound, as well as Dolby Digital from network programs. There are also two analog audio outputs that can be attached to your display device to take advantage of the sound system or your PVR or VCR.
Read The Final Take on Page 2