LG BD300 Review Washington DC
Baileys Crossroads, VA
Falls Church, VA
LG BD300 Review
December 29, 2008 By Geoffrey Morrison
Blu-ray and… Netflix?
Why would you want to download SD movies on your new Blu-ray player? That was my first thought when learning about the BD300 (and it's rival, the Samsung BD-P2500 ).
Upon using it though, I get it.
And it's really cool.
At its core, the BD300 is a pretty standard Blu-ray player. It outputs 1080p/24 and 60, and plays, you know, Blu-ray discs (and of course DVDs are well). That would make it the same as just about every other BD player on the market. The twist here is the ability to stream Netflix content directly from the player.
The BD300 plugs into your display via HDMI or component. After hooking up to your Internet connection (wired only), the BD300 auto updates. After that, and presuming you have a Netflix account, all you need to do is register this player with your account. The BD300 prompts you to do this, and even gives you the URL to go to.
If you don't have an account, then it's time to set one up. The pricing is pretty cheap, and all but the most basic plan gets you unlimited downloads to your shiny new BD300.
There is no searching for titles on the player itself. Setting up your downloads has to be done on the Netflix website, which is reasonably easy to navigate.
Not every movie is available for download. In my searching, it seemed to be around 50%. Netflix claims over 12,000 movies and TV episodes, so perhaps you'll have better luck. I did find plenty to watch, though, and that seems to be the real draw here.
After picking a few titles to watch on the Netflix web page, I selected the Netflix feature in the player's home menu. After a moment all the titles I had selected were visible.
My first download was Ice Pirates, mostly because the last time I saw it was on VHS sometime in the 80s and I wanted to see if it was as bad as I remember. In fact it was. The movie started within about 10-15 seconds.
However, it was widescreen, and while soft, it was completely watchable even on my 100-inch screen. Well, the video was watchable, the movie not withstanding.
The BD300 does the best it can upconverting the obviously SD content to 1080p. Like an upconverting DVD player, there is only so much even the best upconverting can do when you feed it a poor original.
While each movie is slightly different, all the ones I watched were somewhat softer than a DVD. There are occasional compression artifacts, but nothing too severe. The overall palate is seems somewhat muted, and the black level was rather high.
I tried Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End to see how a newer movie that looks great on Blu-ray would fare as streaming video. This was little better than Ice Pirates.
No, pirates was not an intentional theme, though I did have this great joke planned after I downloaded Pirates of Penzance, but alas, it wasn’t available.
Most disturbing about the available content is random cropping. The 2.35:1 PotC: AWE and National Treasure 2 ...