LAS VEGAS--At CES 2010, LG rolled out a truly unique product with the BD590, combining a Blu-ray player with a hard drive, allowing for CD ripping and Blu-ray playback from a single box. We awarded it Best of CES in the home theater category, and LG has announced its successor this morning, the BD690, offering an incremental update to last year's product.
The basics are the same, with the BD690 featuring a 250GB internal hard drive, which can store music, photos, and personal (i.e., noncopyrighted) videos. Considering how cheap hard-drive space is these days, we would have liked a larger capacity, but it is large enough to hold most people's CD collection. There's built-in Wi-Fi, and like last year's model it's DLNA-compliant so you can also stream music, photos and video from a connected PC.
The BD690 supports LG's new Smart TV suite of streaming media services. Smart TV includes all the same streaming-media services found on last year's LG products (Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, YouTube, CinemaNow) and also adds Hulu Plus, Amazon VOD, NHL GameCenter, NBA Game Live and MLB.TV. LG will also have its own applications store, enabling you to download new apps for your Blu-ray player.
The player will also be be controllable via a free iPhone/Android app, which will enable text input using your phone's keyboard. That's a nice upgrade, as searching for movies using an onscreen keyboard can get tedious.
You'll also notice the BD690 offers 3D Blu-ray playback, which was lacking in last year's BD590.
Without a release date or pricing, it's tough to see how the BD690 will compare to other players, but expect it to carry a price premium for buyers that want its unique capability.