General operation is a cinch. The freshly designed menu dispenses with the fussy ‘ice blocks in water’ design of last year’s models for a simple row of icons and a choice of four backgrounds, although the same pastel colours, cartoony graphics and easy-to-read fonts remain. The more straightforward layout makes it quicker to respond than last year’s systems too.
Elsewhere the quirky Smart TV menu superimposes the icons over a picture of a street, while the media streaming/USB menus are great to look at, with judicious use of folder icons and the ability to display album art where available.
But using the DLNA functionality is far from easy. First off, it was initially tricky to get our host laptop to appear in the list, and the LG insisted on taking us to a CIFS login screen first. When the laptop finally appeared, most of the above formats streamed without any hassle, although it chewed over an AVCHD file for far too long.
Also annoying is that the content list populates itself at a snail’s pace, while the lack of a search modes or shortcuts when looking for content is galling – with upwards of 16,000 songs on my hard-disk, it took forever to find a particular track. In its favour though, there’s a useful Gracenote feature that allows you to view information about a particular track, listing the rest of the songs on that album (this is accessed using the onscreen Info menu or the ‘Music ID’ button).
Another plus is the user-friendly remote, which is peppered with large rubbery buttons that make it easy to use without having to look at it the whole time. Clear labelling, glow-in-the-dark keys and a conveniently-placed multi-directional pad complete a very well-designed zapper.