Most helpful positive review
981 of 995 people found the following review helpful
Fast loading for Blu Ray and truly excels at local media playback!
on April 18, 2011
I was pleasantly surprised with the LG BD630! You get a whole LOT for the money! I am going to try and pick this thing apart somewhat in this review , so if you are interested then Read On Mc Duff!
I purchased this unit for my 81 year old father who has taken to watching Xvid and MKV files from the internet, usually documentaries on WW2 and other history programs. Of course he also watches DVD's but has not until now delved into Blu Ray or Netflix streaming. I needed something for him that had a very easy to follow menu system and worked WELL with a minimum of glitches.
The player itself is very basic on the outside. The BD630 features an on/off , eject, play/pause and stop buttons on it's face and a USB slot covered with a little rubber trap door on the right hand side with the disc drawer in the middle. It doesn't exactly exude high build quality on first glance, but what makes this little player SO good is the software inside. (more on that very soon) Mind you, it isn't totally cheap looking and as the saying goes good things can and DO come in small packages.
This is a very small (not very deep) unit and also a very lightweight one. It came packed with a decent PRINTED manual , basic cabling (you will need an HDMI or Component cable) and a functional remote that uses only 1 AAA cell, also included. It comes with a couple of printed adverts for Netflix and even a small sticker on the top of the unit that screams NETFLIX at you. (easily removed) The power cable is attached. You get composite video out, stereo RCA audio outs , Component Video and HDMI Out , a Coax Digital Audio out and a LAN port for connecting to your home network if you wish to use the Netcast features such as Netflix and You Tube.
Being at the low end of the LG food-chain, this particular player is NOT DLNA enabled and to play your video files (other than blu ray and DVD) you must stream from a USB device be it a thumb drive or external hard drive. You can not connect this unit via the Ethernet connection to your computer. LG starts including THAT feature a few more models UP from this one. I guess that is understandable given the price point.
The connectivity is very good really, you can use this device with everything from an analogue standard TV all the way up to 1080p HDTV and your audio options are just as good with the analogue stereo outs, or the Coax digital which can handle up to 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS and the HDMI which can pass thru the uncompressed Dolby TruHD or DTS Master Audio tracks that accompany much of the blu ray releases. You can set the Video output to match your TV resolution, set picture aspect ratio to play 4:3 programs as is or to stretch them to fill your screen. The USB port can be used to connect a USB thumb drive or even an external hard drive. It isn't too picky about the formatting of the drive and can also support up to 4 drive partitions. That alone is amazing for the price and a nice touch.
This brings me to my first and only MAJOR complaint about this machine. It is SO lightweight than when you plug in your USB drive or cable to it, the unit itself tends to push backwards. Perhaps adding some non slip little rubber feet to the bottom with a couple drops of super glue would easily solve that.
Just be aware that if you are not careful, you run the risk of knocking the thing over when accessing that feature. Note: To access any BD Live features you may wish to download and view, a USB drive is required as there apparently is minimal onboard memory. I personally disable BD Live on every machine I have as this tends to slow loading times.
Set up took less than two minutes after connections were made. The machine boots quickly. Easily as quickly as my Oppo BDP-80. Things got VERY interesting when I loaded a Java heavy Blu Ray disc and it loaded VERY quickly. I can honestly say this machine loads a Blu Ray disc FASTER than my Oppo (a nice fast machine) and that blew me away just to see it happen. Playback was as expected. GREAT! DVD up-conversion to 1080p was average for a new machine today, but better than average for machines only a year or so old. And the disc tray itself is solid and goes in and out without any sort of loud rattle of worrisome grinding noises. (a complaint for some Oppo BDP-80 and 83 users)
The Netflix GUI is about the same as on the current crop of LG TV's. Your performance is going to depend more on your internet connection and speed than the LG software which in my opinion is very good. Navigating my Instant Queue was a bit sluggish but I have the same problem on ANY of my Netflix enabled devices. Once you start playback and it loads, things work just the way you would expect and want them to.
It is noteworthy to mention I had NO problems at all playing DVD-R and CD-R discs. Discs containing Xvid and other video file types also loaded quickly and played perfectly. Just for fun I put in a region free Pal disc and it spit it back out with an on screen message telling me it was the wrong region. (I had to try) So basically, this thing will play ANYTHING I or my Dad owns EXCEPT for Pal. OH well, you can't have everything!
Basically, it works and works well. You can update the firmware via the LAN port or by downloading from the LG site and burning a disc or putting it on a USB drive which is what I did before attempting to play anything. Time will tell if LG continues to support this machine with further firmware updates as they become needed to play some of the more Java intensive titles such as the new Alien discs. If updating firmware intimidates you, find someone you know who is an old hand at it and let THEM do it so you don't accidentally 'brick' your player. Really, it isn't that difficult. (just don't turn the machine off while updating)
I personally own an LG 47 inch LE 5400 television and as expected the software in the BD630 is almost identical for playing computer files, mp3's looking at photos, etc. IN some aspects , they have improved the software and I was duly impressed. It is smooth, easy to see what you are doing with logically laid out screens , easy to identify the individual file names and the transport controls are solid and responsive when playing everything from an Xvid to a 720p or 1080i Mkv file. We didn't have any 1080p files to test so I can only speak for the others. They all loaded reasonable fast and played glitch free. Pause and resume worked perfectly. You can access the info screen while playing the file. Audio synch was a non issue. Basically this is everything a person could want in local media file playback. (6-7-11 EXCEPT playing Divx files, see my update below) Try as I could, I encountered NO glitches of any type other than having to set our Harmony remote response time to shorter as it was giving double commands for the left and right direction buttons.
Just the local media file playing ability of this unit alone is worth the purchase price. Add THAT with great Blu Ray playback, VERY fast loading times (depends on the Blu Ray title as some discs will load quicker than others) more than decent DVD up-conversion , Netflix streaming and much more and I think LG has a winner at a price point you just can't argue with. I remember just a few years ago Sony was selling their flagship Blu Ray Player for 999.00 and it didn't do 25% of what THIS machine can do. Good stuff and a FULL one year warranty for Parts AND Labor!
Oh yeah, my 81 year old father is having NO trouble making this thing work at all. I just caught him playing a HD video file that he had loaded himself and I thought to myself "now THAT is user friendly" !! If I run into any future problems or software glitches with this thing I will update this review and add whatever else I have learned.
UPDATE 5-13-11 The LG is still going strong. We have yet to run into any file that will not play and unlike some reviewers have not experienced any player malfunctions with standard DVD playback including my Lord of The Rings extended editions. NO freezes, disc jams or failure to loads encountered so far. I still stand by my earlier statement regarding the Blu Ray disc load times. They ARE faster than my Oppo BDP-80 which is pretty fast to begin with.
IMPORTANT UPDATE 6-7-11 I found out the hard way last night that this player does NOT support any Divx files. I should have read the spec sheet more carefully as they do not list Divx as a supported codec. SO if you want to play any Divx encoded files you will need to 'trans-code' them using a program like 'Handbrake' or 'Any Video Converter' which is MY favorite (freeware) and change it into a codec the player DOES recognize. I was surprised to find this out as my LG HDTV WILL PLAY files with the Divx file extension. Go figure! SO FAR this is the ONLY type of video file I have run into that will not play. (Apparently LG didn't want to pay the licensing fee to Divx)
FINAL UPDATE 9-20-11 Just wanted to say this LG player is still going strong and plays the new Blu Ray Star Wars set without issue or glitch. For the money I'm convinced it's a real bargain. My 81 year father has been happily playing Xvids, MKV and H264 files easily like he has been doing it all his life and has not once come to me for any help with a disc or file that won't load. I purchased this same player for my lady friend and she gives me nothing but glowing reports. As with all electronics I am sure at some point it will be obsolete, but for now it is a solid contender and I stand by my full review. Cheers! Marty Gillis