CNET First Look
LG BD590The LG BD590 deftly handles Blu-ray playback, CD ripping, and streaming media services like Netflix from a single box, but you'll have to pay for that simplicity.
>> Hi. I am Matthew Moskovciak, Senior Associate Editor at CNET.com and this is the LG BD590. This is LG's flagship Blu-ray player this year and it is the first standalone unit that we have seen with a built-in hard drive used for CD ripping. The exterior design hasn't changed much from last year's BD390. The front panel has a mirror-like finish and when you eject the disc it flips down and you could see there is some front panel controls as well as a USB port. Now, while the exterior design hasn't changed that much LG has completely redesigned the menu system. The new menu has kind of a floating ice cube design and we didn't really get how that helped us find our media. Luckily, once you go into the Netcast section, we really liked this design a lot more which has big blocks representing the different streaming services, which is a strength for LG. Netcast includes Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Vudu, CinemaNow, you can get a lot of content online in addition to watching Blu-ray movies. Another part of the menu design is the CD-ripping functionality, which we found really easy to use. All you do is you pop in a CD, it automatically gets album art and song titles from the Gracenote service. If you have it connected to the Internet, you just pick what bit rate you want to rip it in and that is it. It is a lot better than if you have to go and then manually find song titles or do-it-yourself and especially if you are not comfortable doing that stuff on a PC, this is a really good alternative. While CD archiving is a unique feature on the BD590, it doesn't have 3D Blu-ray support which the flagship models from most other manufacturers do. Now, we haven't had the chance to test 3D Blu-ray or any of the new 3D HD TVs are coming out, but if that is something you are interested in or maybe interested in the future, this may not be the player for you. We found the image quality on the BD590 to be excellent overall, Sure it did not pass all of the test panels that we threw at it, but it passed all of our standard program material tests. Really, the main sticking point we had with the BD590 is the price. Online, they are selling for about $380 right now and that is a $130 more than the step down BDP570, which has all the same features except for the built-in hard drive. Overall we did find that the BD590 had a really impressive mix of CD-ripping functionality, Blu-ray playback and media streaming, but you are going to have to pay to get all that functionality in one box. I am Matthew Moskovciak from CNET.com and this is the LG BD590.