LG LST-3410A HD DVR More Comments

Manual Labor

Instructions for the LST-3410A are the usual undifferentiated mass of information presented without regard to organization or proportion in terms of importance, and without consideration of how a novice might find his or her way through the thicket. I've always felt that an instruction manual should tell a story written in a recognizable human voice and be organized with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Few are; this one isn't.

How to manually record on the DVR is first covered on p. 47. In other words, you have to wade through 46 pages of everything from parental control to closed captioning to get to the essence of the product's main function, which is to record. How to use the TV Guide grid to program future recordings is buried on p. 58, under the mysterious heading "Favorites/Record in Listings." I've been complaining about this kind of anticonsumer idiocy for a decade. There's no excuse for it.

Fortunately, the LST-3410A also includes a quick setup guide that helps somewhat, though not nearly enough. I had no problem setting up the LST-3410A, but when I look at it through the eyes of some of my less experienced friends, I can already hear my phone ringing.—MF

More is More

The foolishness of the Federal Communications Commission's digital tuner mandate becomes clear when you examine an innovative product like LG Electronics' LST-3410A. Forcing consumers who don't want or can't receive over-the-air (OTA) digital or hi-def broadcasts to pay extra for an unwanted built-in digital tuner is bad policy—especially coming from the FCC's free-market chairman, Michael Powell.

However, consider those consumers who do want OTA HDTV: their new sets will give it to them built-in (to both set and price). If they want the ability to conveniently time shift HDTV programming, though, they'll have to buy an additional outboard tuner. While the tuner in the LG LST-3410A is excellent, the component costs $999. Is forcing consumers to buy TVs equipped with digital tuners any way to run a digital transition? Unless you want to watch one terrestrial HD broadcast while recording another, I don't think so.—MF