Aside from the price break, the BD570 hasn't changed much from the BD390. Yes, the BD570 doesn't have 7.1 analog-audio outputs, but there's still NetCast streaming services (including Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, and Picasa), built-in Wi-Fi, and it has an excellent image quality. What has changed is that the competition has caught up; nearly every manufacturer is offering a Blu-ray player with Wi-Fi and Netflix at this price in 2010. There's also 3D Blu-ray looming on the horizon and the BD570 isn't compatible; Sony is promising a firmware upgrade this summer for its competing BDP-S570. Don't get us wrong--the BD570 is a still great Blu-ray player, but it's not the standout product that last year's BD390 was.
Last year's LG BD390 looked slick but was a relatively bulky player, especially compared with players like the Sony BDP-S360. The BD570 has a more slimline profile, coming in at just 1.7 inches tall by 8 inches deep by 16.9 inches wide. The front panel has a glossy black finish, and it flips down to reveal the disc tray, front panel's buttons, and a USB port. It's a reasonably attractive looking player, although it doesn't quite have the same high-end feel as the BD390. If you plan to keep a USB drive connected, you'll have to keep the panel flipped down, which makes the player look considerably less slick.
LG's included remote control is a complete redesign over last year's clicker. The main surface is glossy black, which looks sleek coming out of the box, but being a remote, it naturally accumulates fingerprints quickly. Its button layout is mostly straightforward with its playback controls having a "hill" that runs underneath them, making it easy to find by feel; there are also nubs on the rewind/fast-forward buttons. The remote's main directional pad is surrounded by six buttons, which is a little more cluttered than most Blu-ray remotes we use, but we didn't find it that troublesome in use. Along its bottom are a few buttons for controlling a TV.
We loved the dead-simple user interface on last year's BD390, so we were a little dismayed to see that LG has given this year's model a complete interface overhaul. Gone are the simple squares with labels like "My Media" and "Netflix," replaced by floating ice cubes with more ambiguous titles like "Home Link" and "Netcast." We really don't get the point of the new interface and how it makes the BD570 easier to use; it doesn't look especially cool to us, and it feels slightly slower to navigate.
Netcast is what LG calls its suite of media-streaming services. Luckily, once you enter the Netcast section, you're greeted by large tiles with the names of services. We found this design more to our liking, navigating the streaming services feels speedy and there are large buttons for each service. LG's YouTube layout is also one of the best we've seen and we found it quick and easy to browse for videos. However, the exception, as always, is using the onscreen keyboard to input search terms; perhaps we'll see QWERTY keyboard remotes on future players to alleviate that problem.
We have one last design gripe, though--unlike nearly every other Blu-ray player we review, LG's players come in 1080i video mode by default. That's unfortunate, since many users won't realize this and change to 1080p, which means they'll be relying on their HDTV to do some of the serious video processing.
|Key Blu-ray features|
|3D Blu-ray||No||Onboard memory||No|
Like its predecessor, the BD570 has built-in Wireless-N; however, it's not a unique feature in 2010 as competing players like the Sony BDP-S570, Samsung BD-C6500, Toshiba BDX2700, and Insignia NS-WBRDVD also have the feature. However, Panasonic's DMP-BD85 still requires a separate USB adapter.
According to LG, the BD570 is not upgradable to support 3D Blu-ray playback. While we have not had a chance to test any 3D Blu-ray products yet, it's worth mentioning that Sony has announced that the competing BDP-S470 and BDP-S570 both will receive a firmware update in the summer to enable 3D Blu-ray support, as well as the PS3 Slim getting an update to support it. We expect LG to announce a 3D-compatible Blu-ray player later in 2010.
|Amazon Video on Demand||No||Pandora||Yes|
Online streaming media services continue to be a major strength for LG's Blu-ray lineup. The BD570 includes the same NetCast features as last year--like Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora--but also adds Vudu, Picasa and weather. Vudu is the major addition, as it adds a pay-per-view movie watching option to supplement Netflix's subscription offerings. We consider Vudu to be a worthy alternative to Amazon Video on Demand, which some competing players also offer.
The BD570 is DLNA-compliant and capable of streaming video, audio, and photo files from a network-connected PC or viewing them from USB drive. The full list of supported formats are available on the specifications portion of LG's Web site. We had no trouble playing a couple MKV and DivX HD files off an attached USB drive; however, like last year's BD390, MKV files won't stream over the network. LG includes Nero's MediaHome 4 Essential software, which worked well. We were also able to use the built-in media server in Windows Media Player, after turning the sharing options on.
|Audio decoding capabilities|
|Dolby TrueHD||Yes||DTS-HD Master Audio||Yes|
|Dolby Digital Plus||Yes||DTS-HD HR||Yes|
|Bit stream output||Yes||SACD/DVD-Audio||No|
Like nearly every Blu-ray player available now, the BD570 offers onboard decoding for both high-resolution Dolby and DTS formats. If you're looking to play back SACDs and DVD-Audios, you'll need to look to Oppo's competing players; Sony's competing BDP-S570 also offers SACD playback.
|HDMI version||HDMI 1.3||Stereo analog||Yes|
|Component video||Yes||Multichannel analog||No|
The BD570's AV output selection is standard. The only surprise is the lack of analog multichannel outputs, which were available on last year's BD390.