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Review: LG BD670 Blu-ray Disc Player

Excellent Multimedia Features

One of the reasons why I purchased the LG BD670 was that PC World raved about its multimedia capabilities:

The BD670 offers a cornucopia of Internet-based entertainment. These items include Hulu Plus, Netflix, YouTube, three pay-per-view services (Amazon, CinemaNow, and Vudu), Google Maps, MLB.tv, Pandora, and Picasa. In an area called LG Apps, you can download streaming apps, many of them child-oriented, with names such as Horror Party and Stephanie's Image. LG has built in the capability to add more services in the future.

Unfortunately, the BD670 uses an ugly, difficult, and annoying YouTube interface (which happens to be YouTube's own). When you select YouTube, it immediately starts playing a video, and not necessarily the one you want to see. The video is always full-screen, too, despite the fact that many YouTube videos look horrible that way.

If you'd rather not watch YouTube, you can enjoy your own music, photos, and videos via USB storage devices (such as flash drives) or over your local network. The BD670 can play MP3 and WMA music. If you don't want to bore your friends too much with your vacation photos, the BD670 has some decent slideshow capabilities, but they're not exceptional; for instance, it offers only three transitions. The player also supports a limited number of video formats, which you'll find listed on page 10 of the electronic manual.

In addition to that manual, the bundled CD offers Nero MediaHome 4 Essentials, a DLNA server program that you can use to stream content from your PC to the player. You don't need it, though, since Windows Media Player can do the same job just fine. I had no trouble viewing and listening to media on my computer via the network.

Once I connected the LG BD670 to my LAN, I was able to second those emotions. The unit’s default wallpaper was a handsome illustration of a desktop with a nice hot cup of coffee in the corner. Once I set-up the DLNA on the computer hosting my 400 or so albums, the LG BD670 was quickly able to find them, and play my selections. Steely Dan’s Aja, even as a high-res MP3, sounded terrific on my home theater’s surround sound system. Between the ability play CDs, and all of the MP3s on your household LAN, the LG BD670 could replace a few pieces of technology in your home theater. Your CD player, your first-generation DVD player, and a multimedia bridge you might have purchased a few years ago could be rendered superfluous, thus freeing up valuable space in your equipment rack, and inputs in your A/V receiver.

To connect the player to your TV and/or A/V receiver, tthe back of the LG BD670 has outputs for HDMI, component video, optical (Toslink) digital out, an Ethernet jack, and a Wi-Fi input. There’s a USB plug on the front for a flash drive, to quickly play MP3s or viewing photos.

For those who also own an LG TV, the LG BD670’s supplied remote has auxiliary controls to turn the TV on, switch its inputs, and control its volume and channels.

As I mentioned in my review of the Roku XS unit, 15 years ago, the buzzword  in the home theater industry was convergence. Today, it’s sort of the opposite: the 21st century media room is essentially a de facto personal computer in deconstructed form, but with the emphasis on kicking back on the sofa in front of a giant TV, rather than leaning forward staring into a small monitor. And the LG BD670 goes far in bringing the two worlds together – connecting your PC to your media room, and making your media room a bit smarter in the process. Currently selling for a hundred and twenty five bucks on Amazon, the LG BD670 is highly recommended.