Top positive review
41 people found this helpful
So much, so much
on May 22, 2013
I write this review from the perspective of a fifty-something dad who has over the years put together various stereo rack systems and has hooked up a range of peripherals to televisions from VCRs to game systems to dvd players, so I admit that I do not have the expertise or equipment to discuss the finer points of the performance of electronics. I am confident that other reviewers will be able to provide that information. I will pretty much stick to my experience of setting this system up in my home.
To begin, I hooked this system up to my family's Samsung 54" television. It does not have 3-D capability, so I will not be able to comment on that aspect of the blu ray player's capability. My television does have an impressive picture, with deep blacks, vibrant colors, and sharp, quickly refreshing images. I just did not have an LG television, but it is perhaps useful for readers to see how well this unit works with products by another manufacturer.
The package arrived with all components securely held. The first thing I did was lay out all the parts to make certain everything was there. It is important to note that the full manual for this product is on a CD-ROM. You do not need to refer to the disc to put the unit together, however; there is a relatively simple cheatsheet that relies on drawings and cartoon figures. It would have been a bit more helpful had there been more colors on the cheatsheet, but it was adequate. Hold on to the CD-ROM, however, because the more I explored the blu ray player, the more capabilities I found. Aside from being able to access the Internet, it has Gracenote abilities to identify audio CDs, it has Bluetooth capability, it can download LG propriety apps, it can respond to apps downloaded onto Apple devices, and it even has FM radio capability. Basically, this unit will likely replace your music system, as well.
I immediately discovered three problems with the package, however. First, it did not include an HDMI cable. You will need to buy one separately in order to install the blu ray player. Also, you will need to purchase an optical connector to send television broadcast sound through the home theater system. Next, during the set-up process, which includes introducing the unit to your Internet in order to take full advantage of its Smart TV technology, you will need to type in some information. While you can use your remote control to select the typing elements, it would have been a good idea had LG included a modest wireless keyboard along with this package. After all, it is difficult to get a full use of many parts of the Internet if one cannot type. I would recommend to LG that the company add the HDMI cable, the optical cable, and a modest keyboard in the future; surely the added price would be offset by the convenience and increased usability.
I encountered only one problem in the setup, by the way--usually when I hook up a wi-fi device, I am asked only for the password for the router the unit recognizes. For some reason, the blu ray player wanted the IP address, the gateway, and some other information. I eventually discovered that I could skip that screen, and everything worked. This information would have been necessary had I hardwired the blu ray player to a modem, but it was not necessary here. I don't know why it asked for it.
The internet connection, by the way, permits users to access Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and any number of content providers through the blu ray player. LG also has various apps available for download. One can connect USBs to the unit, too, so one can access music files and images from them. Further, the unit checks for software updates, too; once I installed it, one of the first things it did was to update itself. I am grateful to see that LG continues even this degree of product support.
The actual installation process was easy, requiring only the connection of the blu ray player to the tv through the HDMI cable (the optical cable is not needed for sound to come from the blu ray player), the addition of a small FM antenna, and the connection of the speakers. Four of the speakers, a center speaker, a subwoofer, and two peripheral side speakers, connect directly to the back of the blu ray unit, and the speaker connection wires are color coded. One also connects a wireless transmitter to the back of the blu ray player; it controls a separate receiver unit to which one connects an additional pair of speakers. I placed this receiver unit about eighteen feet away from the blu ray player, and it worked beautifully. The speaker wires are about eight feet long, a fairly generous length, and I spent more time deciding where to place the speakers than I spent hooking the speakers up. The smaller speakers, by the way, are constructed to that they can be hung from walls as well. The smaller speakers have little rubber feet/pegs so that they do not transmit vibrations onto shelving or furniture. The subwoofer has larger pegs. The central speaker has small rubber strips.
This unit has a slot for installing discs instead of a tray. I found it difficult to use, because when it ejects the discs, it does not do so far enough to permit one to pick up the disc by placing a finger in the hole and placing another finger on the disc's edge to avoid touching the media side. Lacking a tray also means there is more physical contact with the media side of the disc as it slides in and out of the machine. I do not like this method of inserting discs at all.
About the speakers--while the sound is full and rich, I do not care for their makeup and appearance. They are housed in a glossy plastic casing, and they attract dust right away. I set them up in a newly vacuumed room, and within three hours, they already needed wiped off. Also, the speaker cones are bright yellow, highly visible from all over. I would have preferred speakers with a matted finish and some more subtle appearance, and I understand that this issue is a matter of taste, but I prefer not to be diverted by the device when I am experiencing the film.
The unit's performance is impressive. Since my family does not own a number of blu ray discs yet, I tested it with a DVD version of THE DARK KNIGHT and blu ray versions of SKYFALL and BRAVE. I had been told that blu ray players would make DVDs look sharper and better, and I was not disappointed; the picture was rich and detailed, and, while I occasionally saw pixilation (usually distance shots of skyscrapers, in the case of this movie), it was actually less than I noticed when the DVD player was hooked to my old cathode ray television. But playing the blu ray discs was a new experience altogether. When SKYFALL ran, the textures and images had depth and detail that surprised me--I think I could see dimples on the fruit in a marketplace chase scene, and landscapes looked as real as gazing through a window. BRAVE offers a similar revelation, an overwhelming presentation with many distinct elements of animation onscreen at a time--just the labor required to animate Merida's hair is impressive. Making the upgrade to blu ray offers a rich viewing experience.
Aside from that, the sound from this unit makes home viewing a near-cinematic experience. I have to say that if one is weighing the value of adding rear speakers to a unit while making a purchase of a home theater system, I would recommend without reservation getting those rear speakers for a more immersive pleasure. In SKYFALL, bullets seem to whiz by, there's Doppler effect as cars go by, and crowds surround. In BRAVE, the woods are full of birdsong, arrows pass overhead, and threats sneak up from behind. As fine as the pictures are, the sounds make movie viewing even more satisfying. Get those rear speakers.
So, overall, I have a great deal of satisfaction with this product's performance. The setup is mostly easy, and the results are rich and full. My reservations, as noted above, include the glitch in internet installation, the lack of peripheral material such as the HDMI cable, the optical cable, and wireless keyboard, the appearance of the speakers, and the means of disc import. Recommended.