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LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player

1 rating: 5.0
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From the Manufacturer Now you can enjoy more movies and TV episodes in the blink of an eye. LG's new BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc player is a full-featured player that also gives you unlimited instant access to over 12,000 Netflix movies and TV episodes. … see full wiki

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1 review about LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player

I still love it, BUT

  • Nov 18, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+5
January 19, 2009 addendum -- I bought this the first week of November, and I truly love it. However, in the past two weeks (January 2009), the unit started having intermittent trouble connecting via the Internet to Netflix. Finally last night, it failed to find the network connection at all. Reinitialized the unit, connected it to a new cable and known-good ethernet plug to no avail. Now not only is the unit not finding the Internet, but Network Magic is no longer finding the unit. So I called LG's tech support, which was adequate and after a little "did you buy it from an authorized dealer" (the answer was "yes" if you bought it through Amazon -- but you have to have the dealer's zip code for LG to verify it, so SAVE YOUR BOXES -- that's where I had to find it). I got an RME, which disappoints me. I know things fail but if it had failed two weeks later, it would have been OUT OF WARRANTY, so I highly recommend you consider buy the extended warranty on this item through Amazon. I would probably change my rating from 5 to 4 stars based on this, but "stuff happens."

This is a joy and will change your viewing habits when it's working though. The glossy black unit has a thin and elegant, understated look that should not clash with other equipment.

Setup is simple and for me required 3 cables -- the power cable, the HDMI cable, and an ethernet (CAT-6) cable to my network. This unit will not work with wireless networks, as far as I know, because the streaming video quality would suffer on a large screen TV. You should also have a USB thumb drive of 1GB or over capacity for the system to download enhanced DVD content from the internet. Plug the thumb drive into the front panel (there is a hard to see door with a latch that will flick down with a fingernail) after the unit does its self-test and upgrades its firmware.

Blu ray picture quality seems quite good. As a medium, the improvement in picture from a DVD is quite pronounced. Even fast action sequences are crisp and smooth, with no artifacts on any disc I've played. The improvement in audio sound is more subtle -- on most action movies, I haven't noticed it. I will await some opera or concert blu rays to make a judgment.

However, I compared regular DVD pictures to my Denon DVD player that cost about 3 times the price of the BD300, and the blacks were a little more defined on the Denon than the LG. On the whole, it plays DVDs that I use for comparison (The 5th Element, Kingdom of Heaven, Sin City) in an acceptable way, and the picture is quite crisp.

This blu ray picture loads pretty fast -- about 20-40 seconds, so that is a real improvement over the earlier blu ray generation, and the remote is satisfactory if difficult to read in low light. This would be the only complaint in my book.

When you turn on the unit, and it's hooked into your ethernet network (no wireless), it automatically uprgrades its firmware and software first -- once again, this was seamless and only took a couple of minutes.

Now, what makes this unit so special is the NetFlix features, which having set up your account online, you activate on the unit from a 4-character code which you input into your Netflix Account via your PC. You must select "instant view" movies from your Netflix Account on the PC before they will show up as available on the BD300. Activating blu ray discs on your Netflix account will cost you an addition $1 per month.

Having everything set up, you can select the streaming to search for your Netflix Instant View features. You select the feature, and then it gives you a choice of starting them where you left off (if you were interrupted) or from the beginning. You can also rate the feature from your BD300 or remove it from your Netflix Queue. The quality of video you will see appears in the new firmware on a fuel gauge that at its highest setting displays "HD" for high definition video. About 10% of the programming appears to be HD so far, with television series leading the way. The quality I receive over my DSL Cat-6 gigabit switched network about 10% of the time is about the same as blu ray -- very high indeed. All streamed movies seem to be stereo audio only, and no subtitles are available. About 75% on the gauge is the equivalent of good DVD picture and I get that about 60% of the time. One is not concious of any tradeoffs in picture quality. A half-gauge is acceptable for all anime and many movies where there is not a lot of fast action or dark scenes, but you notice a loss of detail in those circumstances. The background can be a little blocky, but the picture will look about like regular definition TV viewed on a high-def device. Less than half-gauget has a very blocky background and darks are pixelated and un-defined. If I get less than half-gauge, I stop the movie and hit replay, and then we see if the connection speed increases. If it does, I stick with the movie. If not, I wait until another time.

You will really enjoy a Netflix subscription much, much more with this unit.
December 23 Addendum -- after around seven weeks, we are loving this more and more. The regular firmware/software updates online have made this better and better. There is a fuel gauge display now on quality, and we are receiving some movies in true HD quality (I can't say for sure the limit is on the movies so offered or on the network speed), but the true HD streaming of Netflix Instant movies is awesome. I also forgot to note that it has an effective shifting screensaver that will prevent burn-in on succeptible plasma displays. It just keeps getting better and better. Thank you, LG, and especially thank you, Netflix.

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