- Review Date: 05/05/11
- Bottom line:
It's not the prettiest Blu-ray player on the block, but the 3D-ready LG BD670 is a workhorse loaded with plenty of features for the price.
Built-in Wi-Fi. Wide selection of Web services. Solid performance.
Physical buttons on the front make the player look less-than-stylish. Mediocre DVD upconversion.
Looks aren't everything. Especially when it comes to electronics. Sometimes, you can have a remarkably good product in a pretty bland package. Take the LG BD670 ($249.99 list), it isn't much to look at compared with sleeker, more stylish Blu-ray players like the Sony BDP-S770 ($249.99, 3.5 stars) or the Sharp BD-HP35U ($299.99, 2.5 stars), but it offers a fantastic feature set, including 3D support, and solid performance at an affordable price.
Atypical for many high-end Blu-ray players, the BD670 emphasizes function over form. The 1.9-by-16.9-by-7.9-inch (HWD) player is relatively free of the subtle design flourishes found on Sony and Sharp's Blu-ray players, instead sporting a plain black front plate with a metallic LG logo on the far left, a metallic Blu-ray 3D logo in the center, and a set of metallic, plastic-feeling Eject, Play/Pause, Stop, and Power buttons on the right side. The USB port to the right of the control buttons, on the far right of the player, has a small rubber cover, so the port isn't exposed when not in use, which is a nice touch. Still, it's not as handy as a rear-facing USB port where you can plug in a flash drive to enable BD-Live features without disrupting the look of the player, or better yet, sufficient integrated memory. This player has neither. You'll find the standard standard complement of HDMI, Ethernet, component, composite, and optical audio ports on the rear panel.
The 8.2-inch remote is similarly simple and accessible in its design. While none of the buttons are backlit, they're arranged thoughtfully, and the navigation pad is large and easy to find under the thumb. The black plastic finish is textured to look vaguely like brushed metal, a minor aesthetic concession.
Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, multiple Web services and apps are accessible through the BD670's home screen, which is just as direct and utilitarian as the player's physical design. Features are divided among Movie, Photo, Music, Premium, LG Apps, and Setup menus. LG Apps is the company's term for its currently scant selection of downloadable apps, which includes simple games like Mah-Jongg that you can play on the HDTV. Premium is the place to access Web apps like Netflix, Amazon Video-On-Demand, Pandora, Vudu, and YouTube, and 15 other streaming media services. A quick-launch bar below the main menu on the home screen offers access to a custom selection of LG Apps, but unfortunately you can't put any premium services on the quick-launch bar; if you want to watch streaming videos, you'll have to do some shallow menu-diving.
While it doesn't have a specific quick start mode that users can turn on and off, the The BD670 consistently booted up from power off to menu screen in an average of 2.7 seconds. The player loaded older, non-BD-Live Blu-ray discs, like our test disc, The Warriors, in a very quick average of 12.5 seconds from tray closing to to video playback. For BD-Live-enabled discs, like our test disc, Predators, that number increased, but remained respectable. After the tray closed, the first disclaimer appeared in an average of 38.2 seconds. From tray closing to video playback, that wait increased to an average of 1 minute and 12.4 seconds (after an initial, arduously long wait of 3 minutes and 42.7 seconds the first time the disc was inserted, presumably to cache data into the system's memory). It's not a super-fast player for BD-Live discs, but after that initial disc insertion, it loads discs a little bit quicker than the average player; the BD-HP35U took an average of 1 minute, 25.7 seconds to load a BD-Live disc and Sony's Wi-Fi-equipped BDP-S580 ($199, 3.5 stars) took even longer at 1 minute, 33 seconds.
We test video processing with the HQV Blu-ray Disc benchmark tests, and the BD670 passed with flying colors. It handled film and video motion tests ably, with little to no jagged edges or distortions in our test patterns. The player processed both 24 fps and 30 fps footage well, with no stuttering or artifacts. Noise processing was decent, slightly reducing noise in the test footage without making a significant dent in it (or softening the footage with overzealous processing).
3D movie playback went off without a hitch in my tests. I paired the BD670 with a passive 3D LCD HDTV and watched the IMAX Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray Disc. The 3D displayed just fine, with no processing problems. DVD upconverting was merely decent, doing little to smooth out the lower-resolution video or reduce noise. Our test DVD, The Big Lebowski: 10th Anniversary Edition, was quite watchable, but it looked like DVD quality, not much better.
With solid performance, a wide selection of apps, and an accessible, simple design, the LG BD670 Blu-ray player is a good choice for your home theater's movie player. Its $250 price tag is well justified by 3D support, integrated Wi-Fi, Web services, solid video processing, and modest speeds. It's not the most stylish Blu-ray player on the block, but it's a strong workhorse. Sony and Sharp's offerings work very well, and the Sony BDP-S580 includes integrated Wi-Fi like the BD670, but LG's player edges out the others on Blu-ray Disc loading speeds.