In 2009, it's not enough for a Blu-ray player to just play Blu-ray movies. With the ubiquity of online media streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Video On Demand, consumers already expect Blu-ray players to offer a wide variety of standard-definition, instant-gratification media options to complement their high-definition Blu-ray experience.
LG was the first company to realize this trend with the BD300--the first Blu-ray player with Netflix streaming--and the company's flagship Blu-ray player, the BD390 stays a step ahead of the competition with its outstanding feature set--Netflix, YouTube, CinemaNow, built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi (a first), 7.… Read more
We're putting the final touches on our review of the LG BD390 (the full review will be up soon), but we've wrapped up our testing of its CinemaNow functionality. We've had some experience with CinemaNow as a PC-centric download service, but the BD390 is the first standalone product with streaming CinemaNow functionality that we've seen. The service is similar to Apple TV, Vudu, or Amazon Video On Demand, allowing you to rent ($3-$4) or buy ($10-$20) movies and stream them over a broadband connection.
The LG BD390 already includes Netflix streaming, so the advantage of CinemaNow is that it includes some new releases that aren't available for Netflix streaming; Netflix's streaming catalog is heavy on older releases. There's no doubt CinemaNow includes some new releases that Netflix doesn't have ("Appaloosa," "W," "The Spirit," "Transporter 3"), but the selection feels much smaller than Amazon's; we couldn't find any of the most popular movies on Amazon ("Bride Wars," "Slumdog Millionaire," "Marley & Me," "Twilight") on CinemaNow. (CinemaNow wouldn't disclose how large the current library is, except that "thousands" of titles are available.)… Read more
Editors' note: This review originally mentioned issues with the included USB Wi-Fi adapter when connected to the BD-P4600's internal USB port. Subsequent testing indicates that the problem was a faulty Wi-Fi adapter included with our review sample, as a replacement Wi-Fi adapter works perfectly. We have had no issues with the new USB Wi-Fi adapter, and the review and rating have been updated accordingly.
Samsung likes to say its "Touch of Color" design scheme elevates products to "works of art," but really it comes down to three main principles: rounded corners, translucent red highlights, and … Read more
If you've been following the Blu-ray market, it was getting obvious toward the end of 2008 that standalone players needed to innovate, since previous step-up features, like Profile 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio, were becoming standard. LG was the first company to break the mold by releasing the BD300, which was the first Blu-ray player with built-in Netflix streaming--and it did it well.
The LG BD370 is the entry-level successor to the BD300, and it's very similar with the main upgrades being onboard decoding for DTS-HD Master Audio Essential and faster load times. Unfortunately we still had … Read more
In almost every standalone Blu-ray player we review, you're likely to find a comment about its disc-loading speed and how it inevitably doesn't compare with the Sony PlayStation 3. For once, that's not the case, as the Samsung BD-P3600 is flat-out faster than the PS3 at loading most movies and its operational speed is just as quick.
It also has a nearly comprehensive feature package, including 7.1 analog outputs, 1GB onboard memory, an included Read moreadapter, and Netflix and Pandora streaming. Top it off with excellent image quality on Blu-ray movies and a sleek design, and …
Samsung was the first manufacturer with a standalone Blu-ray player, but in 2008 it often felt like the company was struggling to keep up with Panasonic. When Panasonic released the first Profile 2.0 player, Samsung was still shipping Profile 1.1 players, with promises that future upgrades would make its player up to snuff. Now, just a few months into 2009, it appears the tables have turned.
The Samsung BD-P1600 comes complete with all the features we now expect on Blu-ray players, including Profile 2.0 compatibility and onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. But the … Read more
At the end of last year, Panasonic's DMP-BD35 earned the first Editors' Choice award given to a standalone Blu-ray player, because of its excellent feature set and reliable playback. The DMP-BD60 is the follow-up to the DMP-BD35, offering nearly the same feature set plus access to VieraCast, Panasonic's proprietary video content portal. So it may be surprising to see that the DMP-BD60 scores significantly lower than the DMP-BD35 did when it was first released--but that's just how fast the Blu-ray market is moving. While competitors are adding Netflix streaming, Wi-Fi connectivity, and onboard memory, the DMP-BD60 is … Read more