The BD590 is also 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.
We mentioned before that it's possible to copy music stored on your PC to the BD590's HDD over the network; it also works for photo and movie files. We couldn't find a way to directly transfer files from the BD590's hard drive to a PC over the network, but you can transfer files to a connected USB drive. (In case you're wondering, lossless audio files are stored in WAV format.) In all, the BD590 was considerably more flexible than we were expecting, although power users will find nits to pick with its limitations.
|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 BD590 offers onboard decoding for both high-resolution Dolby and DTS formats. If you want to play SACD and DVD-Audio discs, you'll need to look to Oppo's players; Sony's BDP-S770 also offers SACD playback.
|HDMI version||HDMI 1.3||Stereo analog||Yes|
|Component video||Yes||Multichannel analog||No|
The BD590's AV output selection is standard. The only surprise is the lack of analog multichannel outputs, which were available on last year's BD390.
|Ethernet||Yes||SD card slot||No|
|USB ports||1||RS-232 port||No|
Blu-ray image quality
Overall, we were impressed with the BD590's Blu-ray image quality, as it passed all of the most important test patterns and program material tests. As usual, the most-dedicated videophiles will still prefer the very slightly better Blu-ray image quality of the Oppo BDP-83, but the vast majority of high-definition movie fans will be perfectly satisfied with the BD590's Blu-ray image quality.
All our testing was conducted via HDMI at 1080p/60, with the Sony Bravia KDL-55XBR8 display and Oppo BDP-83 and Sony BDP-S570 for comparison. For more information on our testing procedure, consult our full guide to how we test Blu-ray players. Home theater enthusiasts can also see more-detailed testing results in our 2010 Blu-ray players comparison chart.
Editors' note: We found the Blu-ray and DVD image quality of the BD590 to be identical to the step-down BD570, therefore these sections are essentially the same.
|Blu-ray image quality: test patterns|
|Film resolution||Pass||Dynamic range high||Pass|
|Video resolution||Pass||Dynamic range low||Pass|
|Text overlay on film||Fail||Luma multiburst||Pass|
|Cadence tests||1/8||Chroma multiburst||Fail|
|Chroma bug test||Pass|
The BD590's performance on test patterns was largely solid. First off, it passed the two most important tests--the film and video resolution tests--that generally indicate the player will have no issues on the vast majority of Blu-ray titles. We did notice that the BD590 slipped a bit on the film resolution test, showing moire for a second, which is something we didn't see on our reference Oppo BDP-83. However, we didn't notice any issues in actual program material.
The tests the BD590 failed--text overlay, the majority of the cadence tests, and the chroma multiburst--are comparatively minor tests that don't have a major impact on image quality. In the text overlay test, though the text itself was free of artifacts, the video in the background suffered from comb-like shredding, visible on the top of the newspaper, and anytime one of the edges of any of the actors when they're in motion. However, the issue isn't visible with subtitles on standard Blu-ray movies like "Mission: Impossible III." Yes, the BD590 failed some of more esoteric cadence patterns, but we've seen almost no program material on Blu-ray using those cadences, so we don't consider that test very important.
The LG BD590 also failed the chroma multiburst, as the most detailed section of the test pattern was darker than the rest. However, we couldn't notice any difference resolution or color in actual program material, so it's hard to ascribe much to the BD590 failing this test. Videophiles may also be interested to know that the BD590 does clip whites in "standard" mode, but movie mode passes all "whiter-than-white" signals without a problem.
|Blu-ray image quality: program material|
|"Ghost Rider"||Pass||"Tony Bennett"||Pass|
|"Mission: Impossible III"||Pass||"NIN Live; Chapter 3"||Pass|
|"Sunshine"||Pass||"NIN Live; Chapter 4"||Pass|
The BD590 passed all our Blu-ray program material tests, giving it an edge over the competing Sony BDP-S570, which had some trouble with the video-based "Tony Bennett: American Classic" disc. However, the image quality difference between the two players isn't that large, as most movies are film-based and look nearly identical. We thought the difference between the BD590 and the Oppo BDP-83 was even smaller.
|Blu-ray operational speed (in seconds)|
|"Mission: Impossible III" | player on||13.87||"POTC" | until movie||87.30|
|"Mission: Impossible III" | player off | quick start||n/a||"Spider-Man 3" | until movie||71.67|
|"Mission: Impossible III" | player off | no quick start||27.28||"Sunshine" | chapter skip||12.72|
|"POTC" | past loading||30.88||CNET speed rating (composite score)||85|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
As we saw with the step-down BD570, LG's new Blu-ray players are a little slower than last year's fastest Blu-ray player, the Oppo BDP-83. The CNET speed rating of 85 gives it the edge over noticeably slow players like the Vizio VBR200W, but it does feel a step behind the lightning-fast Sony BDP-S570. In typical use, the BD590 feels plenty fast enough, but it's not a standout speed-demon like last year's BD390.
There have been many reports online about playback problems on movies like "Up" and "Terminator: Salvation", and we've been able to confirm the issues on those movies, but only in 1080p/24 mode. Since the movies play fine in 1080p/60 mode and LG has stated it's working on a fix, we don't consider it a major issue, although we'll continue to monitor user feedback. For more information,.
|DVD image quality: Test patterns and program material|
|Video resolution||Fail||"Star Trek: Insurrection"||Pass|
|Text overlay on film||Fail||"Invite Them Up"||Pass|
The BD590 failed some of our standard test patterns, but we didn't notice major issues in any of our test patterns. It's worth pointing out that though the BD590 did technically pass the 2:2 resolution test, it took much longer than the Oppo for its processing to kick in and eliminate the moire. Again, we'd give it a slight nod over the Sony BDP-S570 for doing a better job handling niche video content, and pure videophiles will prefer the Oppo BDP-83 if DVD image quality is a high priority.
Streaming video image quality