Isn’t it interesting to note that Blu-ray players are proving to be of less use when it comes to playing discs and instead are acting as gateway to online content/streaming media stored in Smartphones, PCs and the iDevices scattered around the house? LG’s BD670 is a very good example of this. Though this modest-looking deck gives the impression that it is designed to play Blu-ray 3D discs, CDs and DVDs, you will be amazed to see the kind of cool stuff it is capable of upon being hooked to your home network. Right from tapping the deep music of an MOB online reservoir to ID’ing an artist name, albums and tracks of a movie that is being watched, this wonder deck serves you faithfully.
- 1 x Remote control
- 1 x AV cable (RCA type)
- V5 RCU/Battery
- 1 x Nero MediaHome Bundle Disc (LG Edition)
- User Manual
- Quick Start Guide
- Customer Registration Card
A single glance at the LG BD670 Blu Ray Player makes it glaringly apparent that “Looks aren’t everything.” With rivals like Samsung, Panasonic and Philips attaching much importance to the panache of a spinner, LG prefers to prioritize utility over looks by favouring an absolute no-nonsense form factor. The deck shouts basic by way of a black box that is plain with bare minimum control buttons together with a legible Blu-ray 3D logo on the front. It comes in a lacklustre black finish with no fancy embellishments to it. Again, there are no touch sensitive buttons with a display panel that is barely visible. The disc tray slot is pretty much standard and no slot-loading flashy stuff here with a flimsy and plastic-y feel to it. If anything, it is the aluminium casing that does the deck a little bit of a favour in adding some flavour to it along with its amazing sleek chassis (49mm) that you can easily slot it into one of those AV racks with absolutely no fuss.
Moving on with the connections at the rear, well it is fairly sparse. There are basic A/V connections on offer namely the HDMI v1.4 output, composite and component video, Ethernet port, stereo analogue output and optical digital audio connection. The deck comes devoid of multichannel analog jacks and lacks a second HDMI out too, which could prove to be messy in case there are no HDMI v1.4 input in your AV receiver and you wish to watch 3D images with HD content. There is a LAN port onboard in case you are not a big fan of the integrated Wi-Fi. A USB slot can be found in the front (that is buried beneath the rubber dust cover) that comes in handy with playing a variety of music, videos, and browsing photos from hard disks or memory devices. The following formats are supported – MKV, DivX, WMV, XviD, WMA, WAV, AVI, MP3, JPEG and m4a. Additionally you can playback AVCHDs from recordable DVDs. The absence of a second UDB port also looks to be kind of annoying as the deck lacks in-built memory for BD-Live downloads and regular users of BD-Live would be left with no choice but to have a USB sticking awkwardly out from the front.
Akin to the deck, the 8.2-inch remote too is nothing fancy. Even though it is disappointing to note the keypad is neither backlit nor programmable, we appreciate the thoughtful arrangement of buttons with a huge navigation pad that is relatively easy to be found under the thumb. It is not very cluttered and the usage of large keys helps in locating letters quickly. It is ergonomically satisfying to find the playback buttons being placed on a bump and isolated by colours, while the direction pad together with the corresponding keys are kept within easy grasp of the thumb. A trivial aesthetic concession here would be the plastic-y black finish that has been textured and looks vaguely like brushed metal.
The remote has been kept relatively simple with an accessible design with legible layout of vital functions like Home, Menu, Title, Info/Display, Back etc., clustering the central cursor. Punching Info/Display button calls up a bar allowing you to select options like Picture preset, Soundtrack format and Gracenote Movie ID, an element that calls up data, cover art and plot synopsis of the disc currently spinning. There is yet another feature, Gracenote Music ID that has an exclusive button of its own in the remote. We would have appreciated if the same approach had been extended in having an exclusive button that launches the media content portal of LG. Still better would have been a Netflix button akin to Panasonic and Samsung players. Then again, we are happy that LG has been thoughtful enough to make the access relatively easy via the UI to their streaming services. As is expected from current Blu-ray players, the BD670 also falls under the list of players that can be accessed via a Smartphone with the remote app of LG, both Android/iOS. This app can be downloaded from either the Apple App store or the android market. Frankly speaking, in our opinion it is not worth the bother, as there are just two advantages of preferring a mobile remote-control app over the standard one. Firstly, the “Wow factor” associated with it that might last for exactly five minutes tops. Secondly, any day using the Smartphone’s QWERTY keypad is way easier than entering text via arrow keys and numbers on the conventional remote provided the remote control app supports QWERTY text entry and unfortunately LG doesn’t. So, is it really worth the pain?
Setting up the BD670
Setting up the BD670 Blu Ray Disc Player cannot get any easier once you have the deck connected to a display and hook the Wi-Fi on onboard to your home network, you are all set to get going and browse through the menus. The Setup menu configures the deck to a default 1080p/24 for Blu-rays and 3D images. There are a couple of background graphic options on offer that includes a wood-panel pattern that can be customized as against the bland background. The BD670 packs the PC media server Nero MediaHome software too and the deck reads files both from a laptop and NAS server connected to your home network via other programs that includes Mac-specific ones too. Audiophiles might want to note that while the deck’s DLNA allows streaming of a variety of audio files, audio is limited to formats like WMA, MP3 and AAC.
Now let us get few disappointing stuff out of the way like the following. It is disappointing to see the BD670 lack a couple of basic features that comes by default in current day’s Blu-ray decks. For example, don’t expect a friendly wizard that generally walks you through the setup process, instead you will have to navigate menus on your own and figure out stuff for yourself. Well, you might find explanations for onscreen menu settings, but they generally are not of much use. For instance, when you try setting up the Audio options, there wouldn’t really be any valid info on the screen explaining what “Primary Pass-Thru” or “DTS Re-Encode” means. And if you think that you can turn to the online manual for the same, well you are mistaken, as the 23-page manual is nothing short of sparse and lacks detail. On the flip side, there is something wonderfully rare that the BD670 impresses you with – its bookmarking capability. Now most Blu-ray decks can bookmark a disc (Blu-ray discs we mean) allowing you to get back to the same spot at a later point in time (provided the blu-ray disc supports bookmarking). Well, the BD670 in comparison allows you to save up to 9 bookmarks for any discs, be it Blu-rays or normal DVDs, but the only unfortunate thing is the bookmarks disappear with you changing discs. Check out this yet another awesome related feature – assume you removed a disc (DVD or Blu-ray) half way though a movie and decide to reinsert the same days later (having played other discs in the meanwhile), the BD670 is smart enough to ask you if you wish to begin right from where you left or play from the beginning; Neat huh?
Similar to their latest line-up of TVs, the menus revolve around the the Home screen enabling you to view your photos, watch movies or listen to music via your local network or an attached device. Likewise accessing the Premium content from the App store of LG’s happens via the Setup menu. There are a couple of submenus within the Setup menu namely the Display that obviously lets you optimise the deck for a specific display. You may tweak the following options from here – the Resolution, TV Aspect Ratio, HDMI colour setting, 1080p Display Mode and the 3D Mode. Again, there are controls too for choosing Wallpapers on the menu screens together with Home Menu Guide. The next submenu would be Language allowing you to choose the language for the Display Menu, Disc Menu and Disc Audio and decide on having the Disc Subtitles on/off. Then comes the submenu for Audio where you get to select the kind of audio that can be sent via the Digital Output or the HDMI. You may also choose to turn on the Sampling Frequency here or set the DRC (Dynamic Range Control) along with turning on the DTS Neo: 6 On/Off where appropriate. Then we get to the submenu for Lock that comes in handy with setting passwords for the Blu-ray/DVD Rating if you are looking at restricting the access for the same for children. In the Network submenu, you can setup your LAN or Wi-Fi connections, allow access for BD-Live, check Connection Status together with setting up the registration and country setting code for the Premium Apps pages of LG. Last but not least, would be the sub-menu for Others that allows you to setup the HD VOD DivX service, select Network Play, select Auto Power Off, activate the Quick Start function and upgrade the deck’s firmware.
Together with being a nifty disc spinner, the LG BD670 3D Playback Blu Ray Player also packs an array of networking features bringing tons of extra content that can be accessed wirelessly thanks to the Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) onboard. And when it comes to streaming-media services, LG looks to be the best thus far. Agreed that it might not be as comprehensive as Sony or Samsung, but then it covers almost all standard services like Pandora, Netflix and YouTube together with some solid offerings by way of standout extras like Napster, MOG, instant streaming from Amazon, MLB.TV, vTuner etc. Even as VUDU looks to be a compelling alternative for VOD movies, the Amazon Internet Streaming looks to be the most impressive in offering the widest choice of TV shows by pay-per-view, that includes both cable and network shows. Unfortunately, it misses out on Hulu Plus that is covered by rivals like Sony and Samsung. The Smart TV portal has quite a range on offer in terms or streaming and radio app that includes the vTuner (internet radio), YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Google Maps, Picasa, AUPEO! radio, Acetrax, Dailymotion and many more. What is weird is all of these being grouped as “Premium” when most of them come for free! Anyways, hoping over to the apps store, you get to explore more by of games, movies, puzzles and other bric-a-brac like the colour blindness test and Yoga trainer, but for which you might have to create an account if you want to use them. Surprisingly sandwiched between the keep fit tutorial and colour blindness test you get to unearth a couple of free-to-watch movies, more than a dozen in fact; Looks more like a film festival greeting you at your door. Such free treats sure does make owning a Smart TV more fun. Also such unusual apps might come in handy for families with kids that are packed with fun and inexhaustible explorative skills. These impressive offerings are further joined by DLNA support which allows you to beam stuff across NAS drvies, networked home PCs and your Smartphones. Again, with the deck being Wi-Fi Direct compatible, you wouldn’t require a router too for streaming content with a decent hit rate. MP3s together with album art can be played when available and so are AAC files, but files like WAV and FLAC look off limits. Video files like MKV, MOV, AVI are covered over the network. Finally, there is Gracenote database also onboard the BD670 that fishes out details about any CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc that you load displaying album art even as it is being played, while Music ID looks up the featured songs of the currently playing disc.
The BD670 fires up in 5 seconds flat with the Quick Start engaged. Blu-ray load times are fairly decent with most of the discs getting to the copyright warnings in 20 seconds with an additional 10 seconds to get to the menus. Obviously, the load times are directly proportional to the amount of Java programming used by the studio with Disney and Fox being worst offenders. Paramount, Warner and Sony get to the point straight, but it is the unfortunate Universal discs that often get stalled by the hopeless BD-Live features. Getting to the movie, the image quality is amazing with every single pixel being plucked and hurled on to the screen with clarity and sharpness. It doesn’t miss out on any of the nuances of the London street settings recognizing the smart futuristic background detail endowing it with a deep satisfying cinematic lustre. While we endorse the fact that a TV definitely plays a major role when it comes to picture quality, but LG sure does hold its end of the bargain. There is decent judgment of colour palettes too; not really something that you can always get right, but the natural skin tones and greenery of the plants speaks for itself in terms of chroma processing.
Moving on to 3D, the spinner surely doesn’t disappoint you here with solid detail focus, blur-free objects and highly impressive depth sense, the spinner does a more than decent job. Any 3D spinner should be capable enough to output the disc content equally well over HDMI too because of the digital signal and the BD670 does exactly that gaining an “excellent” rating when it comes to 3D performance. It displays content flawlessly on majority of the discs thrown at it along with handling Hi-def audio equally well to.
Generally bulky casing tend to be associated with power hungry design, but thankfully that is not the case with the BD670 and it consumes only 15 watts during Blu-ray playback and a bare 1.8 watts while on standby. With the above figures being way above average in comparison to the other Blu-ray decks, the BD670 sure does seem to be an efficient performer, considering stuff that it is capable of performing with just the average power consumption mentioned above
A couple of oversights here and there might make the LG BD670 seem a little tone-deaf in terms of usability, but its wide variety of app selection, solid performance, simple and accessible design speaks otherwise making you easily overlook such omissions. Again, the impressive ?150 price tag has been well justified by the Wi-Fi onboard, 3D support, DLNA media streaming, improved web content (compared to the existing LG players), modest speeds and solid video processing. Well, it sure might not be the stylish deck in the block; it sure does seem to be a workhorse and is one of the best budget decks in the Blu-ray arena.
LG BD670 3D Blu Ray Player – Technical Specification Table
|Form Factor||Table top|
|Front Panel||Display: FLD
|Rear Panel||Video Out – HDMI (Ver 1.4 3D only)
Video Out – Composite
Video Out – Component
Audio Out – Audio L/R
Audio Out – Optical
Audio Out – HDMI (Ver 1.4 3D only)
Firmware Update (Via Network, Usb)
|Picture & Sound||Video DAC 162MHz/12bit
Audio DAC 192KHz/24bit
DD 2ch Down Mix
Digital Audio Output
|AV Format||Video Format: Mpeg2, Mpeg4 Avc (H.264), Smpte Vc1 (Vc-9),
Divx, Divx Hd, Mkv, Avc Rec, Avchd, M4v, Wmv
Audio Format (Bitstream): Lpcm, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus,
Dolby Truehd, Dts, Dts-Hd Ma, Mpeg 1/2 L2(Pcm Only),
Mp3(Pcm Only), Wma(Pcm Only)Audio Format (Decoding): LPCM, Dolby Digital,
Dolby Digital Plus(7.1ch), Dolby TrueHD(7.1ch), DTS, DTS-HD MA,
MPEG 1/2 L2, MP3, WMA, AAC
|Special Features||LG App Store
|Power||Wide SMPS: Wide 1120-240V 50/60Hz
Power Consumption: 13.1 W
Power off consumption: 1.15 W
|Warranty||1 year Parts/90 days Labour|