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It's probably just as well for Pioneer's admittedly awesome Blu-ray player that we didn't review it after LG's BD390. While Pioneer's £1,750 effort offers the finest picture and sound performance we've seen so far, it's utterly humbled in the features department by LG's £220, Wi-Fi-enabled bargain.
King of connections
The BD390's design isn't particularly awesome by LG's usual catwalk standards, due to its slightly chunky profile and a glass-like front panel that feels tacked on.
The BD390 hits its stride with its connections, though. Particularly eye-catching are a LAN port (should the ground-breaking built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi system not float your boat), a set of 7.1-channel analogue audio outputs, and a USB port.
Neither the LAN port nor the built-in Wi-Fi system are there just because the BD390 supports Blu-ray's DLNA-certified, allowing you to stream music, photos and even video files through to your TV from your PC. If you wish, you can also use the Ethernet port to access YouTube, and pipe the videos you want to watch onto your telly. The BD390 ships with the Nero MediaHome 4 Essentials software, but most people will probably prefer to use a more widely known system, such as Windows Media Player, for network playback.online features. The player is also
Getting the BD390 to recognise our networked machines couldn't have been easier. It worked right off the bat, even in Wi-Fi mode, without any of the brain-numbing fine-tuning that we've had to endure with one or two other networked AV devices we've tested. The worst that can be said of the BD390's Wi-Fi capabilities is that sometimes connections seem rather slow. For all we know, though, this could be down to the servers of the BD-Live content we're checking out, rather than the BD390.
The BD390's analogue audio outputs enable it to pipe 7.1-channel high-definition audio (DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD) to any receivers with 7.1-channel inputs. Your receiver doesn't, therefore, need to have an HDMI input and its own HD audio decoders.
The USB input is able to handle just about every multimedia file type we could think of, including MP3, WMA, AAC, MPEG-4, JPEGs and even DivX HD. The BD390's combination of easy-to-follow on-screen menus and a dedicated media-server application that clearly divides all your files into their different types keeps everything relatively straightforward.