LG BD670

With every manufacturer adding bells and whistles to try to make its Blu-ray player stand out from the crowd, the LG BD670's no-frills approach ironically is what makes it stand out. Instead of adding features of dubious worth (2D-to-3D conversion, cross-platform search that doesn't work), the BD670 relies on a simple formula for success: built-in Wi-Fi, lots of high-quality streaming-media services--including standouts like Amazon Instant, MLB.TV, MOG, and Napster--and a clean, simple user interface.

Its basic approach makes it one of our favorite Blu-ray players of the year, neck and neck with the Panasonic DMP-BDT210. Overall, the Panasonic has a slight edge with its faster disc-loading speeds and nifty touch-free disc tray, but the LG is definitely worth considering with its slightly superior selection of streaming-media services.

If you're going to use those additional streaming services, go with the BD670; otherwise stick with the DMP-BDT210 and its faster speed.

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Design

The BD670 doesn't have any design flourishes, looking simply like a thin, glossy black box.
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Disc tray

There's a standard disc tray slot, rather than the slot-loading design found on some Samsung players.
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Buttons

There are also physical buttons, rather than touch-sensitive buttons, which is a plus in our book. We like the LG BD670's nondescript look, but if you prefer something flashier, try Samsung.
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User interface

Despite the simple layout of the home apps page, the Premium and LG Apps icons aren't as straightforward as you'd think. Premium brings you to LG's full suite of streaming-media services (Netflix, Pandora, and so on), whereas LG Apps brings you to an app store that carries five completely underwhelming programs. So, basically, when you want to access apps you might actually use, don't select LG Apps.
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Smart TV user interface

Once you get into the streaming-content portal, the interface is dead simple. Unlike Samsung's cluttered Smart Hub interface, LG's streaming-content home screen has big icons for the various services.
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Smart TV user interface, continued

It's the best interface we've seen for streaming content on a Blu-ray player in 2011, mainly because it's easy to quickly get to the streaming service of your choice.
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LG Apps

LG Apps is new this year, but as of now it's not a useful feature. There are currently only five apps available, with the most interesting being Boing Boing Video. Until we see more apps being developed for the platform, we wouldn't factor this into a buying decision at all.
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Connectivity

The LG BD670 has the standard assortment of ports you find on most Blu-ray players. Note that while the BD670 does have a component video output, it's limited to 480i resolution, due to annoying AACS rules.
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Remote

The remote included with the BD670 is laid out well, but it has its flaws. The major shortcoming is the lack of a direct button for launching LG's streaming-media content portal. A Netflix button, as on Samsung and Panasonic players, would have been even better. At least LG makes it relatively easy to access its streaming services via its user interface.
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Smartphone app

Like most Blu-ray players this year, the LG BD670 can also be controlled via smartphone using LG's Remote application, available for both Android and iOS. The app works well enough, but you can't use it to input text in the Netflix and Pandora interfaces, which is when it's most painful to use the standard remote.
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