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LG BD370 BLu-ray Player
Last year’s CES saw the Korean magnate LG’s new approach to BD viewing, a step from their previous BD 300 model, called the BD 370. It took some time to hit our time zone, but it’s here now, and gaining popularity. A good standalone Blu-ray Disc player is something that will always bear the brunt of being an alternative choice to the omnipresent PS3, but the former will always have certain advantages. Thus we see whether this particular Blu-ray player has what it takes…
Design and Features
Sounding repetitive is a customary risk when one is reviewing a recurring brand, but LG always has one thing going for them: superlative aesthetics. This is in their Scarlet TVs, and this BD player too. It’s minimally styled with a bare façade, clad in shiny black plastic. The center patch is lead colored with circular silver power button. The rim lights up a brilliant blue when pushed, courtesy LED. The right side actually opens out in a flap , exposing some more operation buttons, while the left side folds out to expose the tray.
Build quality is good but not tank like, with a heavy enough black plastic tray. The back has a small connector window, with one HDMI 1.3 (this is necessary for sending DTS HD Master Audio bitstreams), one Ethernet port, a Component video out, the Digital audio siblings (co axial out and optical out) and last we have composite AV out.
There are no individual analog audio outs, which means to avail Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio, you will need a receiver that accepts and decodes HDMI audio, as this player can send the DTS HD Master and Dolby TrueHD audio streams through the HDMI. These Audio streams can also be converted to multichannel PCM if your receiver cannot decode raw Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio. BD live is supported, and so is YouTube. Watching YouTube on a TV screen is a nice feature if one has a good connection.
Even in the UI department, LG has excelled. The menus have replaceable skins, 4 in all, which are deep and colorful. The icons are large and simple, and especially useful is the Home screen, which is accessible at all times. User friendliness and a clutter free UI is very important in a Home theater player, as the full family will be operating.
This player firstly has one good thing going - it loads discs fast and also is quieter than a PS3, no doubt about that. We slid in DVE and then a Kung Fu Panda Blu-ray disc. The player was not bad at all, with good enough rendering. Static patterns of color pluges and black to white were also passed well. In the movie we straight away took to the chapter where Tai Lung escapes from prison. I simply love the color scheme there, and the fast action that ensues when the formidable villain is an Audio video feast.
One thing, I want to remind a prospective BD player buyer: region issues are still there. Our player only plays region A discs. Yes, I know HD DVD should have won the war, at least we wouldn’t have a stupid region problem.
Playback is smooth and crisp, with a decent level of saturation in colors, more on the neutral side. I have seen heavier, more vibrant hues in other players though. The detail is again no real problem, as we had switched the mode to 1080p/24 Hz playback, so there is no real cadence detection or upscaling that this player has to do. But then Blu-rays are not the only thing one will play, at least not for the next 2 years. DVDs are still around, thus I put in my trusty I Am Legend DVD in.
Here we chose the player to upscale the image to 1080p, thus giving it some work to do. The colors and dynamic range came through well here too, proving that overall this player can belt out accuracy in the contrast and color bandwidth, with minute parts coming out well. But detail does suffer a bit here and there, the usual ‘jaggies’ and ‘moiring’ occurs.
The MRP is Rs. 19,990, while MOP is Rs. 17,990, thus we have reasonable price comparatively. The player has a very nice YouTube feature, which is not a gimmick. It looks sleek enough for the most post modern decors and finally, most importantly, the performance is above average. Details suffer in small, nitpicking proportions, and also the color depth and dynamic levels of video are not jaw dropping spectacular, but unless you do an A/B comparison with a player and view closely, there is no difference. It’s a good entry level Blu-ray player.