LG has provided a fairly generous set of picture adjustments in the Pic Mode menu, although it’s not in the same league as ‘videophile’ players from Pioneer or OPPO. You can alter the levels of contrast, brightness, sharpness and saturation, as well as alter individual colours. It’s backed up by Dynamic Contrast, block/mosquito noise reduction and black level settings.
LG’s operating system is up there with Sony’s Xross Media Bar for sheer useability, making the entire onscreen interface look distinctive and modern while retaining an innate sense of logic and simplicity.
The Home Menu, for example, presents the various options with bright colourful icons and animations, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. It splits your content into Movie, Music and Photo, while the My Media icon is where you find the content on your home network. It’s just a shame that the Home menu can’t be accessed without stopping the movie, which loses your place in the film if there’s no resume mode.
The excellent layout proves invaluable when using the setup menu, as the deck’s advanced spec means there’s a lot of options that you may not have encountered before. The potentially nightmarish Network settings are actually quite simple – just choose whether you want a wired or wireless connection. Select the latter and the deck starts searching for an access point straight away. All of the key video and audio settings are clearly signposted, and if the 1GB of built-in memory isn’t enough, there’s an option to use a USB memory device instead.
The supplied remote is radically different to LG’s previous Blu-ray handsets in that the lesser-used buttons are hidden under a sliding flap at the bottom, making the main controls less cluttered. Everything is well labelled, and the conveniently-sized buttons press down with a satisfying click. Good work, but after OPPO’s player opened our eyes to the joys of a backlit remote, nothing else seems good enough…
In terms of disc loading speed though, the BD390 shaves a good ten seconds off the BD370’s time – we clocked Spider-Man 3’s first video screen at 27 seconds. It’s speedy in other ways too, offering six different search speeds that kick in without annoying delays, and the menu cursor is responsive.
We were keen to check out the BD390’s Wi-Fi functionality, which worked fine but was frustratingly slow at times, particularly with BD Live – although this can vary depending on your broadband connection. The access point search found our wireless router immediately and after punching in the password it was ready to roll.
We loaded up The International on Blu-ray to check out what bonus goodies were available, and after seven minutes we were about to give up when Sony’s BD Live screen appeared – we ended up watching a featurette about Angels and Demons. After that we chucked Transformers in the tray and the process was a lot quicker – the exclusive web video clips loaded up quickly and played through without any major hold-ups.
Next we tried the network functionality, which also worked smoothly. LG supplies Nero MediaHome 4 Essentials software in the box for this purpose but you don’t have to use it – we stuck with Windows Media Player 11. The BD390 found both PCs on our network in no time and we were able to stream music, videos and photos without any hassle, plus the menu screens used to select and play files are a joy to use. Likewise YouTube, which uses a clear and logical layout and loads up clips quickly, which can be expanded to full screen if you wish.
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