/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

LG BD590 (photos)

The 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.

Matthew_Moskovciak.jpg
Matthew Moskovciak
1 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

LG BD590

LG has consistently been ahead of the pack when it comes to new Blu-ray features, which is why it was a surprise at CES 2010 when nearly every manufacturer announced a 3D Blu-ray player--except LG. Instead, the company went in a completely different direction with its flagship model, the BD590, which includes a built-in hard drive for CD ripping.

3D might get all the hype, but we think LG's strategy makes a lot of sense. We're not expecting more than a handful of 3D Blu-ray titles in 2010, whereas CD ripping is a feature that buyers can actually use a lot this year.

The BD590 also includes all the features of the step-down BD570, including built-in Wi-Fi, Netcast streaming media (Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, YouTube, CinemaNow) and excellent Blu-ray image quality. The biggest knock against the BD590 is its price ($380 street)--$130 more than the BD570, which is basically the same system, minus the hard drive.

At that price takers will be limited, but the LG BD590 is an excellent all-in-one solution for those willing to pay for it.

33943657-2-440-FT.jpg
2 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Design

The BD590 takes its design cues from its predecessor, the BD390, but it's a slightly slimmer, less bulky unit, despite the fact that it includes a hard drive. The front is dominated by a long glossy panel that automatically flips down when the disc tray is ejected.
33943657-2-440-DT3.jpg
3 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Flip-down panel

We're not big fans of flip-down panels--they seem like one more thing that can break later on down the road--but it does keep the unit looking sleek.
33943657-2-440-DT2.jpg
4 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Front panel controls

Under the front panel rest a few playback buttons (including handy chapter forward/backward buttons) and a USB port.
33943657-2-440-DT1.jpg
5 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Less stylish when flipped down

Of course, if you plan on keeping a USB drive in the port, you'll have to leave the front panel down, which looks considerably less slick.
33943657-2-440-DT4.jpg
6 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Logos

The BD590 is jam-packed with logos, including those indicating Gracenote, DLNA, and DivX HD support.
IMG_0372_5.jpg
7 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

New interface

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," replaced by floating ice cubes with more ambiguous titles like "Home Link" and "Netcast." We really don't get the point of the 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.
IMG_0379_4.jpg
8 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Netcast

Netcast is the name of LG's suite of media-streaming services and, luckily, once you enter the Netcast section, you're greeted by large tiles with the names of services. LG's lineup of services is impressive, including Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, YouTube, Pandora, Picasa, and AccuWeather.
IMG_0382_4.jpg
9 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Vudu

Vudu adds a pay-per-view movie-watching option to supplement Netflix's subscription offerings. We consider Vudu to be a worthy alternative to Amazon Video on Demand (which some competing players also offer) and Vudu's HDX streaming titles look surprisingly similar to actual Blu-ray titles. Another slight advantage is that the BD590's built-in hard drive allows you to store purchased Vudu movies locally; but, considering the high price of Vudu movies to purchase, this isn't a big plus.
IMG_0381_4.jpg
10 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

YouTube

LG's YouTube interface is one of the better ones we've seen.
IMG_0373_5.jpg
11 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Built-in 250GB hard drive

The most interesting feature on the BD590 is its capability to rip CDs directly to the hard drive.
IMG_0375_4.jpg
12 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Gracenote tagging

To test it out, we ripped about 25 CDs, and the process was about as easy as it gets. Pop in a CD and the BD590 starts playing it right away, immediately downloading metadata (artist, album, title, and track number/order) from the Gracenote service. We found Gracenote to be near-flawless with its automatic tagging--and we purposefully tried some obscure titles.
IMG_0378_4.jpg
13 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Go lossless

Pressing the info button brings up the option to "archive" the CD, then you select your tracks, and your bit rate (128, 192, 320Kbps, or lossless). We really appreciate the lossless option, as most people have small enough CD collections that there's no need to sacrifice any audio quality. Even better, the BD590 lets you 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.
IMG_0374_5.jpg
14 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Music collection navigation

After you're done ripping, your music is accessible by selecting the music option on the main menu, then selecting HDD. Call us old fashioned, but it was nice knowing that our music would play right off a local hard disk rather than stream over a network that's subject to buffering or dropouts. We had plenty of nitpicks with the user interface for navigating our ripped music and would have preferred more options to customize how our music collection is handled, but all told it's easy to find your tunes.
33943657-2-440-BK.jpg
15 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Back panel

The BD590's AV output selection is standard.
33943657-2-440-DT6.jpg
16 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

No 7.1 analog outputs

The only surprise is the lack of analog multichannel outputs, which were available on last year's BD390.
33943657-2-440-RMT.jpg
17 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Remote

The included remote is a complete redesign of last year's clicker. The main surface is glossy black, which looks sleek coming out of the box but 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. Along the bottom are a few buttons for controlling a TV.
33943657-2-440-SD.jpg
18 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Side view

33943657-2-440-DT5.jpg
19 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Detachable power cord

Unlike the step-down BD570, the BD590 has a detachable power cord

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

40 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
Meet the new 2022 Honda Civic Si sedan

More Galleries

Meet the new 2022 Honda Civic Si sedan

25 Photos
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

More Galleries

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

74 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

63 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
2021 Ford F-150 Tremor: Tough looks, easy livability

More Galleries

2021 Ford F-150 Tremor: Tough looks, easy livability

74 Photos