This Blu-ray player, and its predecessor the BD300, raises a question: if LG can do it, why can’t anyone else? And I’m not talking about the YouTube playback capabilities. Read on to see what it is so special about LG.
Read on a bit further, because what’s special is not one of the things we list under this heading. But what you do get is a fully capable Blu-ray player. If a feature exists on a Blu-ray disc, this unit will deliver it. It supports BonusView picture-in-picture functions. And it supports BD-Live features, so it can download additional material from the web for Blu-ray discs supporting this feature.
To hold this material, the unit has a USB socket on the front. It’s up to you to supply the thumb drive to use in this, but these are remarkably cheap now. However the front location means that your memory stick will be poking out the front, and also means that the panel that normally conceals this must be left open.
The unit will play various multimedia files from the USB socket, including DivX, MP3 and WMA and JPEG photos.
For output, the unit provides composite video, component video and HDMI, along with both flavours of digital audio, plus stereo audio. You do not get 5.1 or 7.1 channel analogue audio outputs. The composite video output works at the same time as the HDMI one, even if the latter is delivering the highest quality 1080p24 video.
BD-Live capability demands networking, so the unit can via its Ethernet port automatically check for firmware updates, download them, and in a first, it can also play YouTube videos.
Yes, YouTube videos. This is a cute feature, and actually worked very well. Obviously the picture quality was rather compromised by the source, but you are getting something for nothing, so what’s to complain about?
The unit plays Blu-ray discs magnificently. It played them all, every one of them, and every feature, without a single hiccough. That included the excellent PIP features of Serenity, and the interesting BD-Live graphical tracking movie accompaniment on Transformers.
The picture quality was excellent on all normal Blu-ray movies, which deliver the picture at its natural 24 frames per second. It was also pretty good on such odd titles as Crash in which the video is delivered in interlaced high definition at 50 fields per second. A few titles of this kind are beginning to appear, so this good performance is useful.
The BD370 also did a reasonable job on Australian DVDs, with generally good deinterlacing and excellent scaling to 1080p output.
But where the BD370 simply outshines the competition is in usability. And that mostly comes down to one thing: speed. The unit starts up quickly (about four seconds), starts discs quickly (20 to 30 seconds for a Blu-ray, depending on the disc’s complexity), and just feels as though it is in command. It is far faster to start discs than other players… even the PS3. If you have an on-screen menu being displayed, when you press an arrow key on the remote control, the highlight moves to the new selection instantly. There is none of the delay that has marked Blu-ray players from the start.
The YouTube feature is fun. The performance was generally very good. But what makes this a great Blu-ray player is the pleasure it is to use it, its responsiveness and speed. LG has another excellent Blu-ray player here in the BD370.