Latest in Bd300

Image credit:

LG BD300 Blu-ray player review

Ben Drawbaugh

Another day, another Blu-ray player and of all the players we've tested this is our favorite one so far. It's taken over two years and we've finally came to a point where a standalone player easily out classes the PS3 as a Blu-ray player. Sure the BD300 from LG still isn't perfect, but what is? Either way, read on for the good and the bad of LG's latest BD Live Blu-ray player.

Gallery: LG BD300 Blu-ray player review | 36 Photos

The Good
  • Fastest player ever tested: 4 seconds to eject tray from off, 37 seconds to load BD-J title (Ratatouille).
  • Netflix HD streaming.
  • BD-Live and BonusView support (Profile 2.0).
  • Good looking menus.
  • Search and bookmark feature is slick with it's own scrub bar.
  • Zoom is also nice for those who don't like OAR.
  • USB port on front is useful for pictures and music.
  • Coaxial digital output is appreciated for those in need.
  • DTS downmix option is a must for those without AVRs that feature the latest codecs.
  • We appreciate the standard power cable that isn't permanently attached.
  • Discrete IR for on and off is a must have for programmable remotes.
  • Resolution button on the remote makes it easy to change.
  • Auto resolution setting did a good job of detecting the appropriate resolution for our display.
  • HDMI and component both work at the same time as long as 1080p output isn't enabled.
  • For non-BD-Java discs there is a last disc resume, which unfortunately only remembers the last disc.
  • Built in screen saver after 5 mins.
  • Dolby's Dynamic Range Control can be used, of those who don't like dynamic audio (loud explosions, soft voices).
  • USB firmware update in addition to CD ISO and network is a very nice 3rd option.
  • Low power consumption at 0 watts off, 16 idle, and 19 playing a BD (Netflix playback is also 16).
  • Bitstreams all the codecs for those with an AV/R with HDMI 1.3.

The Bad
  • Display menu should include more info like codec and bit rate and output resolution.
  • No way to tell if the TV is accepting 24p if your TV doesn't tell you.
  • No resolution passthrough.
  • Eject button should be near the tray instead of on the other side.
  • No internal storage for BD-Live, and USB port on front is less than ideal for BD-Live storage since it has to stay there most of the time.
  • Can't change the resolution while a disc is playing.
  • Had problems connecting to the internet, in the end we had to use our ISP's DNS instead of our router's.
  • Doesn't internally decode all the codecs which is pretty important if you need that feature.
  • Second rate DVD upconverting and deinterlacing.
  • Higher than average suggested retail price at $350.

Speed daemon
A lot of fuss has been made about how slow Blu-ray player are, but it looks like those days are over. The BD300 was the first player we've ever tested that even came close to loading discs as fast as a PS3, and in fact beat it by 2 seconds in our test -- admittedly not a wide margin. But maybe more importantly, the BD300 uses less than 1 watt of power in standby and still manages to eject its tray in under 4 seconds from off (the PS3 takes 23 seconds in its lower power mode).

The BD300 is really second to none when it comes to doing what Blu-ray players are meant to do: play Blu-ray Discs. While those who still enjoy DVDs might want to pass on this one because of its second rate DVD upconverting ability, for most it shouldn't be a big deal -- it isn't that it is bad at upconverting, it's just that it isn't as good as others like the BD-P2500 from Samsung. But overall, when compared to just about everything else in its price range, there really is no comparison. It is fast, uses very little power, is nearly silent, outputs all the latest audio codecs via bitstream, features discrete IR commands for power, and produces the stunning picture quality we've come to expect from Blu-ray. Now this alone would make it a great player, but add in Netflix Watch Now streaming in HD, and you have yourself a great value at $350. Of course this crown is sure to be short lived as we've already heard plenty about the next generation of Blu-ray players at CES, but for now LG can rest easy knowing it has one of the best Blu-ray players on the market.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr