Top positive review
446 people found this helpful
Great bargain BD player
on May 5, 2010
Update 11/26/2012: This review was written more than 2 years ago. Technology move very fast. So this player is ancient now. It was good for its time. I've moved to using my PS3 as my media center (it plays DVD/BD, streams Netflix, VUDU, Amazon, Hulu, Crunchyroll, plus DLNA content off my NAS).
I am a hardcore geek and have also worked in the streaming video industry the past 4 years. So you may be surprised to hear that this is the first BD player I ever own. I've tested plenty of BD, DVD, streaming boxes, so I know all their strengths and weaknesses.
I waited till now because the early generation of BD players are underpowered (that's why people complained about slow startup, slow to load BD, sluggish menu/UI, etc.). Knowing the performance of that generation, plus having tested the up-n-coming ones, I waited for something that is worth spending money on.
I almost bought the LG BD-390, but that was still too expensive. So I waited for the next gen after, which is the LG BD-5XX series. Since I have wired ethernet to where my entertainment console is, I pick the BD-550. For streaming video, I never want wireless (attested by people commenting on quality, stutters, delays and re-buffering). If I absolutely had to go wireless, I would use 802.11N (not G) and one that supports the 5Ghz band. But that is another topic.
The 550 does everything I need and want. Fast CPU, boot up less than 10s, load BD in about same amount of time (except for a few that has BD-Live and more complicated content). Btw, to use BD-Live, you will need to plug in a USB flash stick (I use a 4GB USB flash, one of those tiny one. Make sure it is formatted as FAT or FAT32.).
Netflix - good UI, fast (I have 25Mb down/10Mb up). So no problem streaming HD. Netflix requires 3.6Mb down for HD. Nice thing about Netflix is that it dynamically adjust quality so you can actually watch the movie. That does mean you won't always get HD if your internet connection is not reliable, e.g. you are using wireless (see why I stick with wired?) Also love the 550 ability to let me view Netflix movie menu and add movies direct on the player (you don't need to go to a computer to add movies to your Instant Queue! This is an awesome feature on the LG BD!
VUDU - good UI, sluggish, there is a lag between pressing buttons and getting results. I kept overshooting or getting wrong choice because of this. Different selection of movies, cost more if I watch a lot of movies (pay each time). So depending on your watching pattern, could be expensive.
Pandora - good, although I don't want to turn on my TV just to listen to music. That's what my stereo is for.
Youtube - good, fun for times when you have parties. Pain having to enter URL via the remote. Wish I can connect a real USB keyboard and use that.
I think the 550 is a bargain for the price. Very happy with it. Stay away from the 3D BD players and TVs. Bleeding edge stuffs, wait at least a year for that to settle before wasting your money.
Last but not least. Make sure you update the firmware! And check regularly. They fix various issues and add new features. I updated twice within the first day of opening the box.