Another trick up the LG’s sleeve is Home Link, which allows streaming of movies, music and photos from PCs, NAS drives and other DLNA-certified AV gear on your home network. Unlike some players, however, LG doesn’t limit you to common formats like DivX, MP3 and JPEG – it’ll also stream MKV, DivX HD, WMA, H.264, AVC, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (PS and TS) and AAC.
Alternatively you can shove a storage device or external HDD (FAT16, FAT32 or NTFS) into the USB port and play the above file types, plus you can even rip audio CD tracks onto a connected USB device in the quality of your choosing – 128kbps, 192kbps, 320kbps or lossless. And don’t worry about tagging your tracks, as the deck does it automatically when you load the CD using the online Gracenote Media Database.
That’s the party tricks covered, but it’s worth remembering that the BD570 also does all the less glamorous donkey work, such as decoding HD audio soundtracks into multichannel PCM (or delivering them as a straight bitstream via HDMI), upscaling standard-def DVDs to 1080p and outputting Blu-rays in their native 24p frame rate. BD Live content can be accessed wirelessly, although you’ll need to connect a USB device in order for it to work.
The onscreen presentation is a lot fussier than Sony’s or Panasonic’s, but there’s no denying how stunning it looks. The Home menu has had a dramatic revamp and is bursting with innovation – it’s designed to look like a tank of water, with each of the icons bobbing up and down within a glimmering block of ice. When you highlight one it juts forward, while animated bubbles float up from the bottom of the screen.
The setup menu is a simpler affair but still easy on the eye, while the various menus for searching network content are tidily presented using Windows-aping yellow folders and a straightforward structure. What a pity then that all of these menus are sluggish, with the cursor pausing a moment too long when you press the remote.
It’s a shame because a lot of thought has gone into the gloss-black remote’s design, with a large cluster of buttons in the middle governing the most-used features, with other well-labelled keys lined up around them in a sensible formation.
Hit Display while watching a movie and an eye-catching menu appears on the left containing information about the disc (selected audio track, chapter, subtitles etc) and provides access to a simple array of picture adjustments. There are three presets (Standard, Vivid and Movie) plus a user-defined mode that lets you alter brightness, colour, contrast, sharpness and noise reduction.
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