LG LST-3510A HDTV Tuner and DVD Combo Reviewed

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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.

Read more LG reviews including LED HDTVs, Blu-ray players and more.

Read the top digital cable boxes and satellite receivers here.

Unique Features
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

HTR Product Rating for LG LST-3510A HDTV Tuner and DVD Combo

Criteria Rating

Performance

3

Value

3

Overall

3

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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Final Take
With the LG LST-3510A in place, the displayed images produced realistic color with unprecedented picture detail and resolution, free from any artifacts. If you have an A/V receiver with HD-level component video inputs (like Pioneer's Elite's VSX-49TXi used here as the reference receiver), it can do all the video switching (except DVI) from the receiver itself, using just one of the precious HD component video inputs on the back of the set. However, as noted for DVI, you will have to switch video inputs for your display to DVI. For this review, component video and RGB-HD was employed for easy video switching, as well as the dedicated DVI input. All were tethered to the box. With all cables in place, I was able to easily switch back and forth between component video, RGB-HD and DVI for comparison of signals. DVI produced the best images of all the connections, and you get to use two components with DVI, for the best image quality from both.


In the end, it all comes down to images and pictures. Either way, picture quality is nothing short of spectacular from this exceptional LG HD tuner and DVD player combo. Both broadcast and cable images were simply stunning. Words cannot begin to describe the spectacular images. In prolonged viewings of numerous prime time TV shows from CSI to The Masters Golf Tournament to Smallville, Alias, and Line of Fire, HD images received (via rooftop antenna and Cablevision) came in crisp and clear, without signal degradation or loss of detail (in both 16:9 and 1080i). These days, local PBS channels broadcast a continuous loop along with select programming in HD. The Smart Travels series in HD never looked more compelling. I?checked the number of my travel agent so I could book a return trip to Europe.

Using the DVD player on the LST-3510A, images were more compelling than watching movies at my local cinema! With the LST-3510A, you're watching movies as they are meant to be seen - in widescreen and with progressive scan. Using the DVI connector keeps all images within the digital domain for the best possible playback. I watched several chapters from some of my favorite reference DVDs, like Lion King - Special Edition, Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl, Beauty and the Beast -Special Edition, The Mark of Zorro, Seabiscuit, and X-Men 2: United. Each film segment distinguished subtle color shading and hue, reproducing colors accurately and realistically. Colors were beyond vibrant and compelling.

Now that we've entered a new millennium, we're closing the digital divide to our future by bridging the gap from an analog era to the digital age. If you've purchased (or plan to) a HD-capable or compatible television, the HDTV tuner/receiver is certainly a product you'll become more familiar with. With standards changing and digital cable starting to roll out, a HDTV tuner is a terrific investment to bridge the digital divide.The LST-3510A from LG combines two great components in one: HDTV tuner and progressive scan DVD player.

Read more LG reviews including LED HDTVs, Blu-ray players and more.

Read the top digital cable boxes and satellite receivers here

LG LST-3510A HDTV Tuner 
and DVD Combo
ATSC tuner for terrestrial HD broadcasts
QAM cable HD tuner for "in-the-clear" signals
HD-format DVD player
Plays back DVDs, DVD-/+RWs, CDs, MP3, WMA and JPEG CDs
HD multimedia connections: DVI w/HDCP, 
RGB-HD and component video
HD picture quality output: 480i/p, 720p 
and 1080i progressive scan
Electronic Program Guide based on ATSC PSIP
Dolby Digital/DTS output
Digital Audio - coaxial and optical output
Simultaneous 480i/1080i output
Dimensions: 3.5"H x 16.9"W x 12.8"D
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
MSRP: $499


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