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LG BD300 Blu-ray Player review



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Back when the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD format war was in full swing, LG sat on the fence by launching a player that spun both formats (the much maligned BD100). But now that the dust has settled, the Korean company has turned its attention to Blu-ray exclusively with the BD300, a modestly-priced but feature-packed player.

But before we get stuck into its features, here's an interesting little curio - the BD300's page on LG's website still shows the HD DVD logo, which makes us think that at some point the BD300 was destined to be another dual-format deck. We can confirm however that it doesn't play HD DVDs, as demonstrated by its almost violent rejection of our V For Vendetta disc.

Anyway, on with the review. The BD300 boasts full BD Live support, which at this price is not to be sniffed at. It's soon to be joined by the BD370, which also allows you to connect to YouTube and watch video clips through its Internet connection, and although the US version of the BD300 supports downloads from Netflix, the UK version is currently limited to downloading film extras and the like. The BD300 supports Profile 1.1 BonusView features too, making this deck a wise investment if you're into bonus features.

The BD300 is a very classy-looking player, with a beautiful translucent fascia and a delectable silver strip running along the top that has the power and open/close buttons embedded into it. The display panel is bright and easy to read, and alongside it is a USB port, which you'll need if you want to download BD Live content or play MP3, WMA and JPEG files from an external storage device.

The rear panel is equipped with all the key connections, with the only notable omissions being multichannel analogue outputs, which would have been useful for owners of older amps without HDMI inputs. But it does offer an Ethernet LAN port, the necessary connection for web-enabled features, and an HDMI v1.3 output that supports 1080/24p output and Deep Colour. The inclusion of optical and coaxial digital audio outputs is handy if your amp is limited to one or the other, but the composite video output is about as useful as a paper umbrella. Rounding up the sockets is a set of component video outputs.

As the lack of multichannel outputs suggests, the LG's audio talents are fairly limited. On the plus side, it's able to output Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio bitstreams from its HDMI output - great news if your receiver can decode them - but it's only able to decode Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus, which will be a real blow for those with HDMI-equipped receivers without HD audio decoding who want to enjoy the extra resolution offered by DTS HD Master Audio.

Format support is pretty healthy though. Aside from the aforementioned MP3, WMA and JPEG playback, the BD300 also accepts AVCHD and DivX (but sadly not DivX HD like the DVS450H DVD player) as well as spinning BD-RE/BD-R, DVD-RW/-R, DVD+RW/+R and CD-RW/-R discs.

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Mathew White

January 17, 2009, 11:16 pm

I got through no less than 4 LG DVD players (with HDDs) ranging from 𧶀 up to 𧹺 before I gave up them. Every machine suffered the exact same problem - after trying to play any Region 1 disc, they would no longer play any single layered Region 2 discs. A very strange firmware fault. I managed to get a refund and ended up with Panasonic.. far superior. I have a few LG products in the house and am retty happy with them all, but I won't touch their disc players again.


January 18, 2009, 5:00 am

Is it just me, or did DVD players get under 𧴜 quicker that Blu-ray players have? I understand that Sony has to recoup dev costs, and early players were basically repackaged desktop pcs with p4 chips in them... so perhaps what is needed is a cheapo chipset from the no-name manufacturers? Blu-ray has been around for a while, and I still see the format as an indulgence for enthusiasts. Sorry this sounds so negative! DVD to HD formats isn't quite the step that was taken when we went from VHS to DVD. Will Blu-ray ever be widely adopted or squashed flat by internet-connected media centres and video on demand?


January 18, 2009, 5:02 am

Although this and the other players in the 250 bracket review very well I'm just not convinced by the price of the media (ouch) nor the apparent boot up times & loading time of the blu-ray disks - go make yourself a brew. Having owned 1 expensive Sony DVD deck from back in the day, and now experiencing the joys of almost instant viewing from WD's HD TV, I'm now viewing the future. Having to find my film of choice (amungst my extensive DVD collection) and then open a tray and eventually eject it seems a thing of the past. Just give me my 1080p HD experience on download and I'll be happy. Blu-ray Blu-late Blu-it for me!


January 19, 2009, 5:00 pm

@GhehinG, I think it's just down to supply and demand, there is not mass appeal for BlueRay, as such it's taking longer for the price to drop. Also the format war didn't help. Like you pointed out nowadays there are more ways to get HD, some would say was there really any need for BlueRay?. Maybe even ReadOnly USB pens might have been a better media.

Andy Vandervell

January 19, 2009, 5:16 pm

If anything the end of the format war allowed the manufacturers to postpone price cuts that would have happened has HD DVD been there to compete with. Now that the global economy is as it is, it seems less and less likely we'll be seeing a significant reduction in prices. :(


January 19, 2009, 6:41 pm

HDRE, downloading 1080p HD may be the best solution for you, but with my connection (broadband, just not that great) I could probably get the Blu-Ray delivered in the time it takes to download - and that's assuming my ISP doesn't cut me off for "breach of fair usage policy" halfway through.

That said, I am not ready to invest serious money in Blu-Ray. Some discs are reasonably priced - Hellboy 2 cost me less than the DVD version - but personally I can't see myself buying a standalone Blu-Ray player. Personally I think multi-purpose devices like the PS3, and PCs with Blu-Ray players, are the way to go at this point.

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