LG BD300 Blu-ray Player - LG BD300

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

We also couldn't discern any motion tracking problems, even when the action gets really frenetic, and it makes a very convincing attempt at delivering a true black. However, when switching to the Silicon Optix HQV Blu-ray disc, the LG's shortcomings are revealed - it fails the important film resolution test due to some excessive strobing in the corner boxes, while the panning shot of the stadium shows some distinct moiré noise on the upper tier, none of which can be seen on the Panasonic DMP-BD55 or Denon DVD-1800BD. It also turned in an unconvincing performance with the diagonal filtering tests, showing clear jaggies on the edges of the rotating bars.

Switching to the DVD version of Silicon Optix' HQV disc reveals more problems - the rotating bar not only exhibits jaggies but judders wildly as it spins round, while the fine lines on the colour bars shows minor flickering. It does however perform well with the detail test. Thankfully these weaknesses are harder to spot with subjective movie playback - Gladiator for example looks fine, with forceful edges and distinct, natural colour reproduction, although it could be sharper and there's more noise in the picture than we would have liked.

Sonically there's little wrong with the BD300. Feeding a Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio bitstream to a compatible receiver delivers the most exhilarating results, particularly with a soundtrack as multilayered and hectic as Hellboy 2. But we were also surprised by how much we enjoyed its CD playback from the analogue outputs - OK it'll be eaten alive on a serious speaker system, but it sounds great though a modest setup, making the soulful jazz of Incognito's Tales From The Beach sound polished and well balanced.

Verdict

The most impressive thing about the BD300 is the amount of features you get for your money, including support for BD Live and a pleasing array of multimedia formats. Also bringing a smile to our chops is its slickness and ease of use, with immaculate onscreen presentation and lightning-quick loading times. It's only flaws are the lack of DTS HD Master Audio decoding and less-than-perfect picture quality that falls short of the high standards set by other players in its price range. But neither of these is a major crime - overall the BD300 is a great-value Blu-ray proposition which makes up for in features and useability what it lacks in picture prowess.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 8
  • Value 9
  • Features 9
  • Design 8

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.

GherkingTR

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?

HDRE

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!

Keithe6e

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. :(

MrGodfrey

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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