Price (RRP): $1,599
FIRST AUSTRALIAN REVIEW!
Reviewer: Thomas Bartlett
Why buy two when one can do it all? That?s something you should consider when acquiring high definition video for your home. The LG BH100 Super Multi Blue Player means you don?t have to choose between Blu-ray and HD DVD because it will play them both.
For Blu-ray, the BH100 is full-featured, doing everything you expect of a Blu-ray player. For HD DVD it is limited. It will play the movies, and provide a roundabout access to many of the special features, but it will not allow you to use any interactive features on these discs, such as pop-up menus.
In addition to the various analog outputs (including 5.1 channel analog audio), the unit has a HDMI output, providing by far the best picture quality.
Perhaps the most surprising feature is that this player provides not only 1080 progressive scan output, but the 24 frame per second version of this (rather than the more common 60 frame version), which provides a perfect match for films. So far only one other Blu-ray player has this feature, and no standalone HD DVD players do.
One omission that is also surprising is that the unit does not play CDs, but it does play DVDs.
After spending a week using this unit very seriously, both with HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, and the odd regular DVD, I have to say that it is very close to my favourite amongst all the high definition disc players.
It wasn’t picture quality. In fact, it is on a par for colour, for sharpness and so on with all the other players, both HD DVD and Blu-ray. That is to say that it is brilliant on picture quality, especially using a full 1080p front projector. It is better than most in the smoothness of on-screen motion, due to the 1080p24 output.
But what I especially liked was that, even though a bit slow compared to a DVD player, it was positively sprightly in its performance compared to other high definition disc players, switching on in a short time, loading discs relatively quickly and so on.
The HD DVD performance is constrained not at all in picture quality, but in access. You simply can’t enjoy some special features at all, such as branching features which are supposed to allow you to pop out of a movie for some ‘behind the scenes’ clip. When you first insert a HD DVD it doesn’t even go to the main menu, which the player cannot access, but runs through a copyright warning and then immediately commences playing the movie.
If you press Disc Menu on the remote control, the player pops up its own banner menu across the bottom of the movie. This allows you to select different audio tracks or subtitles, different titles (for example, documentaries on the disc), and scenes within the currently playing title. It isn’t as informative as the proper disc menu, but still good enough.
The LG BH100 Super Multi Blue Player is an excellent Blu-ray player and a pretty good HD DVD and DVD player. And the price is lower than all the other Blu-ray players currently available. This is truly an excellent device.