LG announced its new Blu-ray lineup just more than a month ago at CES 2010, so we were shocked to hear we'd be getting review units in early February. The BD590 took home the Best of CES 2010 award in the home theater category for its built-in 250GB hard drive and CD ripping functionality, while the BD570 is the more direct successor to the popular (and well-reviewed) BD390.
According to LG, the BD570 and BD590 will be coming in mid-March with list prices of $280 and $380, respectively. We'll be doing in-depth reviews with both of these products over the next few weeks, but we wrote up our initial impressions of the exterior design and revamped user interface.
The front is dominated by a long glossy panel, that automatically flips down when the disc tray is ejected. We're not big fans of flip-down panels--they seem like one more thing that can break down the road--but it does keep the unit looking sleek.
We loved the dead-simple user interface on last year's BD390, so we were a little dismayed to see that LG has done a complete overhaul. Gone are the simple squares with straightforward labels like "My Media" and "Netflix," and replaced them with floating ice cubes with more ambiguous titles like "Home Link" and "Netcast." We really don't get the point of new interface and how it makes the BD590 easier to use; it doesn't look cool to us and it seems to slow down navigation. That being said, the new interface isn't bad, we just preferred the old one.
Another advantage of the BD590's built-in hard drive is that it enables download and playback of Vudu high-definition HDX files, like on the standalone Vudu box. We haven't tested this feature yet (we will for the full review), but our prior experience with HDX has been very positive.
Pressing the info button brings up the option to "archive" the CD, then you select your tracks, your bitrate (128, 192, 320kbps, or Lossless). Even better, the BD590 lets you to continue to listen to the CD while it rips, which takes a lot of the pain out of the process of ripping your music collection
The 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. Button layout is mostly straightforward. Playback controls have a "hill" that runs underneath, making it easy to find by feel; there are also nubs on the rewind/fast-forward button. The 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 the bottom are a few buttons for controlling a TV.
We've also received a review sample of LG's BD570, which includes much of the same functionality as the step-up BD590, minus the hard drive and music ripping. We haven't had much hands-on time with it yet, but we took a full suite of photos.