LG BD670 £170
20th Aug 2011 | 08:30
A decidedly scruffy machine for a smart Blu-ray player, but with a feast of Wi-Fi and connected functionality
LG BD670: Overview and spec
LG is currently embroiled in a smart TV war with rival Samsung for dominance of the internet-connected living room landscape. In both TV and Blu-ray, the pair are going head to head with similarly monikered portals (Smart TV and Smart Hub) stuffed with comparable apps and video streaming content, such as in Samsung's recent BD-D7500, which costs around £100 more than the LG BD670 we have for review here.
A cursory glance might indicate that there's not much between the two brands. But just how compelling is LG's Intelligence Quotient?
Certainly, at first glance the BD670 doesn't look particularly smart. It's quite scruffy in fact; from its dull black plastic body, to the embossed buttonry, it's a bit of a duffer.
Rear side connectivity comprises a single HDMI, Ethernet LAN, optical digital audio, phono AV and component port. There's only one USB port, and that's on the front. This is an inconvenience, because the Blu-ray player lacks persistent memory for BD Live applications, so you'll have to live with a thumbdrive sticking out the front if you use BD Live, swapping it over when you want to play media.
At least there's no need for a Wi-Fi dongle – that's built-in and works well. You can connect via WPS (if your router supports this) or manually. I took the latter route, and popped the player wirelessly on my network in as much time as it took me to plod around the soft-keyboard.
Thankfully, the LG BD670 smartens up its act considerably when you get to the user interface. The main Home menu consists of a jolly line of colourful function buttons, designated Movie, Photo, Music, Premium and Apps. Click on any one of the first three and the player will show you other DLNA/uPnP clients on your network, allowing you to drill down and stream your media content.
For online content options, hit the remaining buttons. Premium takes you to LG's streaming portal (which, bizarrely, appears to reside at the fork in a virtual road, if the background graphic is anything to go by).
There's a fair amount of entertainment on tap. In addition to BBC iPlayer and YouTube, there's DailyMotion, Acetrax, Cinetrailers and internet radio service VTuner. Filling out the roster is some easy-to-ignore Google Maps twaddle.
Hop over to the apps store and there's more to explore. Curiously, sandwiched between various colour blindness tests and a typo-ridden keep fit tutorial, we found more than a dozen movies, all free to watch. Ultra low-budget indie efforts, they have rather inventively sidestepped traditional movie distribution to end up as download fodder. We don't mind saying that we were rather chuffed with this haul. It's like suddenly discovering a film festival on your doorstep. Free treats like this make smart TV tech such fun to own.
The LG BD670 can also stream media across a network and from USB, with a generally good hit rate. MP3s play, along with album art when available, as do AAC files, although both FLAC and WAV are off limits. And, for reasons I can't explain, my standard WMA test rolled out at high speed. Video file support over the network covered AVI, MKV and MOV content.
LG BD670: Verdict
High-definition image quality is suitably sharp from the LG BD670. The Blu-ray deck scrapes a massive amount of detail from 2D HD platters. Battle: Los Angeles looks sumptuous. Shot in a high frame rate HD, shaky cam-style, skin tones and textures pop from the screen.
The smart, connected Blu-ray player also does a reliable job disgorging the DTS-HD MA soundtrack.
Stereoscopic footage has the potential to look equally sharp. Of course much depends on what your display will do to the image before it hits your peepers. At least the deck itself does a fine job. Naturally, the LG BD670 is quite at home with home-grown, DIY 3D shot in AVCHD.
Disc loading is a tad tardy. The player took a lazy one minute six seconds to go from tray to Bond logo, on the Java-heavy Goldfinger Blu-ray disc. Simpler Blu-rays load rather faster.
As a CD spinner, the LG BD670's performance is functional. With no Super Audio CD compatibility to give it a resolution boost, this player's unlikely to convert too many audiophiles to its cause.
But its overall presentation is fun: when playing a CD, it pulls album art direct from the Gracenote database. It also features Music ID, designed to identify any tunes in a platter you're playing, at the touch of a button (it sometimes works).
As a DVD player, the LG BD670 does a decent job. My venerable Silicon Optix HQV test platter confirms deinterlacing and upscaling to be of a creditable standard. If you have a large collection of SD discs, they'll be in reasonable hands here.
Overall, the LG BD670 is a great value internet-connected Blu-ray disc player. Sure, it might have the sartorial style of an impoverished funeral director who dresses in the dark, but it's jazzy where it counts.
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