It's been raining LG all week. First there was the 42 inch TV that we had fun tweaking, and now we have a brand-new DVD player called the DN 192PH.
An upgrade from the consumer-friendly and highly popular DN 191H, this is a budget DVD player. It comes in the sub-5000 category (Rs. 4990 MRP) so we decided to treat it fairly. We gave it a go with our DVDs and also lined up couple of DivX discs to see what it's capable of.
Thankfully the player doesn’t come covered with colorful stickers – we mean those stickers that raucously announce all the supported formats and features. Instead it has a sober look; there's just one small sticker on the front saying ‘HDMI’ and ‘USB’, probably the USPs of the device.
Size-wise it's as slim as they come these days; weight-wise it could double as a Frisbee. The chassis has a slightly off-white color for the top panel, while the sides and bottom are the regular light gray, with the mildest luster possible.
The buttons are shiny silver, with the function names etched in their center. They are located on the top panel, not on the front, so that's something different. The LG Logo perches itself on the extreme left, while the DVD tray is squarely in the center.
On the right of the front panel is a flap that opens out to expose the USB port; something that’s caught on in mainstream DVD players these past couple of years.
The DN 192PH can play a variety of formats, such as DVD, VCD, MP3, DivX (but not WMV). The outputs included are sufficient, with a set of Composite, S-Video, Component, and one smug little HDMI output too, positioned on its own away from the others.
The time has come when progressive scan output is always available; it’s HDMI that has to be sought after. Digital audio outputs are also present; decoding capabilities are provided by none other than Dolby 5.1 We planned to use this connection and see the DN192’s upscaling capabilities.
The aforementioned USB port is also there in the front, through which you can play media off your USB stick.
Straight up we put in the Star Wars trilogy (one by one) to see what this baby can do, and let me tell you some: it can do enough stuff and it can do it quite well. For a sub-5000 DVD player, the tightness in the frames and detail in the picture was commendable. Not spectacular, but commendable.
We were watching the material via HDMI, and frankly the upscaling was better than I expected. So now it’s possible to have HD resolution via a mainstream DVD player, which is something in itself. The processing chip was doing fine, though sometimes in some motion scenes clarity was shattered totally with the advent of stuttering effects.
While viewing the test disc, colors were quite to the point, though greens in my opinion acquired a fluorescent tinge, and this wasn’t a problem with the LCD screen. We saw occasional banding of colors; that is, the gradients were not smooth enough. But that’s expecting too much; most hi-fi players can’t do this with ease.
We played songs through the USB jack, and these sounded all right, though the response was slow. The menu design and remote are okay, but could have been better. The good thing is that everything is readable and accessible without much strain and stress.
Our ratings are strictly according to the price, and at Rs.4990 this unit does offer you something good. It would merit a better-than-average rating if viewed in HDMI. There are a couple of other choices out there that can compete, and are arguably better in price and performance. But then LG is one of the leaders in mainstream DVD players, which by the way sell ten times more than hi-fi DVD players.