Built-in Internet applications can now be found on a growing number of Blu-ray players from the likes of Sony, Panasonic and Samsung, but it was LG that set the ball rolling in early 2009. The BD370 was the first player to use its Ethernet connection for something other than BD Live downloads or software upgrades, allowing you to stream videos from YouTube.
Since then, LG has added a couple of other sites and grouped them under the NetCast moniker, as well as introducing built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA media streaming on the BD390. At the same time, LG’s rivals have been upping the stakes with their own ‘on-demand’ web portals and other juicy networking features, turning the current Blu-ray player market into a fascinating technological playground.
LG’s latest gambit is the BD570, which like the BD390 is equipped with an enviable arsenal of wireless networking and multimedia features. It sits in LG’s range just below the 3D-ready BX580 but above the cheaper BD560, which lacks Wi-Fi and DLNA support.
The BD570 is an immensely attractive player, with a dark translucent flap across the entire fascia that covers up the buttons, USB port and disc tray. This flap is framed by a glinting silver trim that adds a subtle touch of elegance to the overall design. Also pleasing is the sturdy aluminium casing and its wonderfully slim measurements.
The only notable omission on the back panel is multichannel analogue audio outputs, everything else is present and correct. There’s an HDMI output (version 1.3) that you can connect to a TV or AV receiver, plus a set of component outputs for old-school TVs and projectors. Optical and coaxial digital audio outputs provide alternative ways of sending Dolby Digital or DTS bitstreams to an amp, and these are joined by composite and analogue stereo outputs. Completing the line-up is an Ethernet port for those who don’t have a wireless router, or prefer the stability of a wired Internet connection.
But thanks to its built-in support for the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard (as well as b and g), the wireless connection is pretty stable too. Using this or the Ethernet port, you can access the afore-mentioned NetCast feature, which includes YouTube, Picasa and AccuWeather.com. These three sites aren’t really going to get people frothing at the mouth with excitement – especially when compared with the superb selection of content on Sony’s BRAVIA Internet Video – but the feature is gorgeously presented with full-colour animated graphics and operates smoothly.