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LG BD590 - Blu-ray disc player / digital multimedia receiver / HDD recorder review:LG BD590 - Blu-ray disc player / digital multimedia receiver / HDD recorder

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.

AV outputs
HDMI version HDMI 1.3 Stereo analog Yes
Component video Yes Multichannel analog No
Composite video Yes Optical/coaxial Both

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.

Other connectivity
Ethernet Yes SD card slot No
USB ports 1 RS-232 port No
Like virtually every other player, the BD590 also includes an Ethernet port if you prefer the stability of a wired connection. We would have liked to have seen an additional USB port on the back panel, like on the Sony BDP-S570 and Oppo BDP-80, but it's a minor quibble.

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

CNET speed rating (composite score)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
PS3 Slim
LG BD590
LG BD570

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, see our blog on the issue.

DVD performance

DVD image quality: Test patterns and program material
Film resolution Pass "Seabiscuit" Pass
Video resolution Fail "Star Trek: Insurrection" Pass
Text overlay on film Fail "Invite Them Up" Pass
Cadence tests 2/8

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

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