LG DVS450H £130
20th Mar 2009 | 11:00
LG's stylish DVD player is just a teaser for Blu-ray
The engineers at LG in South Korea have a thing for wall-mounting. Not content with launching ultra-thin TVs and even a wall-mountable projector, they've now designed the DVS450H, a Divx HD-capable DVD deck you can fix to your plaster.
The DVS450H's styling is clearly aimed at the fashion-conscious. LG doesn't want you to tuck this deck away in a kit rack – and you can't anyway, as it's a top-loading unit. It will rest on its side, thanks to a picture-frame style pull-out stand, but do that and you'll end up with an HDMI lead sticking out of the top. Wall-mounting, then, is definitely the most appealing – and unique – option.
Other design flourishes are more fancy than practical. The whole unit is coated in gloss black plastic, and gathers fingerprints faster than a forensics expert. If you do wall-mount it, make sure it won't reflect the sun in your eyes. The dinky, lightweight remote control is all black, with black buttons, and no backlight. So it's hit-and-hope time in a darkened room.
Spinning up 3:10 to Yuma on DVD quickly reveals the LG to be a credible performer. Pictures output at 576i over HDMI are stable and smooth, if a little soft. Cycling through the up-scaling options to 1080p – and you have to cycle, there are no dedicated buttons – brings a slight subjective improvement. Edges seem shaper, but the picture does acquire a slightly artificial sheen.
The supplied DivX HD demo disc, however, instantly shows up those 1080p DVD images for what they are – PAL-resolution pics that have been fiddled about with. The two 720p animated shorts are revelatory. Colours ping off the screen, edges are razor-sharp, and the level of detail is far better.
True, these 'toons have been chosen because they best show off DivX HD's capabilities, but it's impressive nevertheless. Unfortunately for the DVS450H, they might leave you hankering for a bona fide 1080p Blu-ray experience, which is yours for about £150 more.
HD or not HD?
So what is the USP of this cute machine? Is it the touchscreen control and gorgeous A-list looks? Or its DivX HD prowess? I'm not sure.
Some will see it as an ideal player for the bedroom or kitchen; others, who have plenty of DivX HD files – there must be some, somewhere – will want it in the viewing room, getting those files off the computer and on to the big screen. That probably means you're a serious AVphile, though, and would rather LG just released a Blu-ray deck with DivX HD compatibility built-in.