LG BP620 Review
3D Blu-ray Player, $150
For 2012, LG offers four Blu-ray player models with the fully featured 3D capable BP620 as the king of the hill.
Similar to the LG BD670 that I reviewed last year, this BP620 includes all the goodies, including a built-in Wi-Fi adapter and a wide array of Internet content providers in the SmartTV package.
And as a sign of the times, this year's BP620 retails for about $80 less than the 2011 BD670.
If you don't want an integrated Wi-Fi adapter, then the BP520 supplies all the other BP620 features for $20 less. Subtract another $10 and the BP320 is not capable of playing 3D Blu-rays but it does have the Wi-Fi built-in.
To round out LG's Blu-ray player lineup, the BP220 is the real bargain for those who are looking for the SmartTV content but don't need Wi-Fi or 3D facilities.
Before you read on, unlike all preceding years' Blu-ray players, none of these 2012 LG models include Component video (YPbPr) outputs. If you are planning on connecting this Blu-ray player to your AV receiver or HDTV with Component cables, you are out of luck. If you can't use an HDMI cable, then look elsewhere for a Blu-ray player.
(Editor's notes: Except for the aforementioned differences, the LG BP520, BP320 and BP220 have similar specifications to the BP620 and this review can apply to all of three.
With that said, I am using our Blu-ray Buying Guide as a template for writing this review and the BP620 ticks almost all the boxes on the Guide's checklist.
Also the BP620 is very similar to the LG BD670 that I reviewed last August. Rather than constantly referring you back to that article, I will use some of the verbiage here.)
The LG BP620 can playback 3D Blu-rays and does it well. Of course, to watch 3D movies at home, you will also need a 3D TV. But it doesn't matter if your 3D TV requires the active shutter or passive polarizing glasses, the BP620 will work fine with either.
This Blu-ray player cannot convert 2D photos or videos to a 3D-like image nor can it recognize .MPO files, which are 3D still image photos.
As mentioned, the LG BP620 supplies both wired and wireless methods of connecting to the Internet.
When you click on the Home Menu's Premium option, you'll find most of the popular offerings including Netflix, YouTube, Facebook and Pandora, as well as newcomers like AUPEO! (personal radio) and the Karaoke Channel.
Last year's LB BD670 also included DivX TV, which aggregated a diverse lineup of content providers. DivX TV is not part of the Premium options on the BP620 and I miss many of the channels that it hosted like the New York Times, The Street, and The Onion. Though some of its sources like AP can be found as a Premium app and the always stimulating TED is available in the LG Apps store.
This LG Apps feature has expanded its offerings from last year, now some of the categories like Entertainment supply 40 different content provider apps such as USTREAM.
As a reminder, to use an Internet capable Blu-ray player, you will need Internet service in your house. Then by connecting the player to your home network through a router, you can stream content like movies from Netflix through your player to your TV.
Also, if you are serious about obtaining good picture quality when you are streaming movies, you will need fairly fast and robust bandwidth from your Internet provider, ideally around 10Mbps.
I know some sites suggest as low as 2.5Mbps, but if anyone else in your house is accessing the network, the video playback will deteriorate. At least try to have around 5Mbps.
Luckily, many Internet providers are now offering service with speeds up to 60Mbps and beyond. See if the speed you now have works for your streaming needs and then rev it up if you require more.
Once your BP620 is plugged into your home network, it is possible to play photos, music and movies directly from your DLNA-compatible computer or media server through this DLNA certified player.
LG also provides a copy of Nero MediaHome 4 Essentials that you load on your Windows based PC. The software creates a DLNA-compatible digital media server on your PC.
The manual also states that "This player can play video, audio and photo files located in a Wi-Fi Direct certified server. The Wi-Fi Direct technology allows the player to be directly connected to a Wi-Fi Direct certified server without connecting to a network device such as an access point."
The LG BP620 has a wireless adapter integrated in the player and requires no additional components. Though, I still prefer the speed and reliability of a wired connection over the wireless solution. It's also often much simpler to setup a wired network.
If you choose to go wired, the BP620 does provide a LAN connector on the back panel.
With its matte black body and glossy black front, the design of the BP620 is about as standard as you can get. Which is not a problem for me since its stature makes it almost indistinguishable in a stack of equipment.
I've encountered no hiccups playing an assortment of DVDs and Blu-rays (2D and 3D) on the BP620.
The manual lists that the LG BP620 will play the following media, BD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R and DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW (VR), Audio CD, CD-R/RW. I did not try to play any non-commercially produced media on this player.
Here's a table of file formats that it can handle.
The BP620 supplies one USB port on the front right corner. There is no SD card slot.
You can download photos, music, and videos stored on your computer on to a USB flash drive, pop it into the BP620 and display or play them on your TV.
Though with this player, if the files are located on a DNLA compatible computer or server, you can access them directly and forego the USB middleman.
The slideshow menu is pretty basic, for example, you have three speeds and a few transitions but there is no Fade. You can add music to your presentation.
As you can see from its back panel, the BP620 does not offer 7.1 Analog Audio Outputs. None of the current LG models do.
And as I was looking at other Blu-ray player sites, I discovered that this feature is hard to find on any 2012 Blu-ray players.
This lack of outputs only effects a few audiophiles who do not want to give up their favorite analog audio components.
And as a reminder, as you can see, the back panel does not supply Component video outputs. The one analog video output is Composite, which only should be used for maintenance purposes.
The BP620 does not offer a second HDMI output. Once again, this feature is only useful in certain situations and not necessary for the majority of consumers.
For example, often the second HDMI only carries an audio signal, which can be useful with home theater projector's setup.
The manual states Power Consumption at 12W, which is on the low end for Blu-ray players.
To its credit, LG does not offer Quick Start on the BP620. This option, which shortens the start-up time when turning on the player, was a silent sipper of electricity because when it was activated, the player never totally powered down.
For me the minor time savings gained with this feature was not worth the constant power drain. If you are that impatient waiting for your disc to spin up, put down that Red Bull.
The retail price for the LG BP620 is $150. I'm finding it online for at least $10 less. Even though I have come to expect it, I'm still amazed to see how prices have dropped, even for a fully featured 3D Blu-ray player. But competition is cut-throat and even at a discount, the price is in the mid-range for Wi-Fi enabled, 3D players
Once again, if you don't need the built-in wireless adapter, you can obtain all of the BP620's other delights by purchasing the less expensive LG BP520.
The LG BP620 3D Blu-ray player with an integrated Wi-Fi adapter provides solid playback of both 2D and 3D Blu-rays and a wide array of other formats. Its lineup of Smart TV Internet content providers is impressive, though the departure of DivX TV and its added breadth of channels is mourned.