LG BD370 Review St. John's NL
LG BD370 Review
May 15, 2009 By Adrienne Maxwell
The next step in Internet-enabled video-on-demand.
“Internet-enabled” could very well be the CE industry’s 2009 catchphrase. Some manufacturers are adding simple Web widgets to their products, like the ability to access news, weather, or online photo albums.
Others, meanwhile, have embraced what many of us deem to be the Holy Grail of Internet-enabled functionality: video-on-demand access.
LG was one of the first to build Internet-enabled VOD into a product when it partnered with Netflix to add the “Watch Instantly” function to last year’s BD300 Blu-ray player. The Netflix feature (or something similar) is now starting to appear in a number of products; so, to further distinguish its newest player, LG is taking the concept one step further by adding YouTube playback and future support for the CinemaNow VOD service.
In terms of Blu-ray features and performance, the new BD370 ($299) is almost identical to its predecessor. This is a Profile 2.0 player that supports the playback of BD-Live Web content and BonusView (picture-in-picture) features. It can output Blu-ray discs at 1080p/60 and 1080p/24, and it will pass Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks in bitstream form over HDMI, to be decoded by an A/V receiver with the necessary high-resolution audio decoders.
The player can also decode these formats internally (the BD300 lacked internal DTS-HD Master Audio decoding); however, it lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so you can only pass the decoded high-resolution audio over HDMI.
The BD370 sports the needed Ethernet port to connect to your broadband network, necessary to access BD-Live Web features and to enjoy Netflix and YouTube content.
The player lacks internal memory to store BD-Live content, so you have to add your own memory via the front-panel USB 2.0 port. (The step-up BD390 includes 1GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi/802.11n support, and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs.) The BD370’s USB port and disc drive support playback of JPEG, MP3, and WMA files.
As I mentioned, the BD370’s performance is on par with that of the BD300. The video quality with Blu-ray films is very good: Detail is excellent; and, when outputting Blu-ray films at 1080p/60, the player’s video processor cleanly rendered challenging scenes from Mission Impossible III and Ghost Rider, creating no digital artifacts. However, it failed the 1080i processing tests on the HD HQV Benchmark disc. This isn’t a huge issue, since few BDs are natively 1080i; however, you may encounter the occasional concert film in 1080i and, in those cases, could see artifacts and a loss of detail.
The player’s upconversion of standard-definition DVDs is inconsistent. It produces a solid level of detail, but it doesn’t always handling the deinterlacing process well. It failed my torture tests from Gladiator (the stadium flyover in chapter 12) and The Bourne Identity (the window blinds in chapter four) but did a slightly...