LG BP620 review: LG BP620

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The Good The LG BP620 has built-in Wi-Fi, 3D compatibility, and LG's Smart TV suite of streaming-media services, which includes Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and Vudu. The user interface for the Smart TV services is the best on any Blu-ray player this year.

The Bad The BP620 lacks Amazon Instant streaming, and several other services (MLB.TV, MOG) aren't available yet. The remote doesn't have dedicated buttons for Netflix or to jump right to the Smart TV services. And the step-down BP320 is a slightly better deal if you don't need 3D compatibility.

The Bottom Line If you want 3D, the LG BP620 has most of the right features, but the absence of Amazon Instant and a dedicated Netflix button hurt its value a bit.

7.1 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

Editors' note: This review also takes into account a new rating category, Value, in which this Blu-ray player receives a 7.

The BP620 is LG's "flagship" Blu-ray player for 2012, but you couldn't tell by its $130 street price or ordinary feature set. It includes all the important features that manufacturers are charging for this year, such as 3D compatibility, built-in Wi-Fi, and a suite of streaming-media services. The big catch, especially if you were familiar with LG's platform last year, is that Amazon Instant will not be included on 2012 players, which could be a deal breaker for cord cutters. However, LG continues to have one of the best-designed streaming-content portals, with a dead-simple user interface.

While the LG BP620 is an all-around solid Blu-ray player, it's not the best value in LG's lineup (that would be the BP320), nor is it the best 3D Blu-ray player in this price range (the Panasonic DMP-BDT220.) Still, the BP620's straightforward user interface makes it a top 3D Blu-ray player pick, especially if you don't need Amazon Instant streaming.

Design: Boring, but it works well
There's little variation in the design of Blu-ray players, but the BD620 avoids some of the mistakes other players make. There's no annoying flip-down front panel running the length of the player (looking at you, Panasonic DMP-BDT220) and the front-panel buttons are physical buttons, rather than the finicky touch-sensitive variety. It's a basic but well-executed design and my only quibble would be that the silver "Blu-ray 3D" logo looks a little tacky.

LG BP620 disc tray
It's a simple design, but it works.

The included remote is the same one LG has been using for years and it's a pretty good clicker. There's ample separation between the various sections of the remote and the white coloring of the playback buttons (play, stop, and so on) makes them stand out in a dim home theater. The major flaw is the remote is missing a button that lets you jump right to Smart TV (or even better, a Netflix button), which is available on many competitors.

User interface: The apps you want aren't in LG Apps
The home screen has a simple layout, but it's more confusing than it needs to be.

LG BP620 home screen
The LG BP620's home screen looks simple.

That's because it has a Premium icon, which has the apps you want like Netflix and Pandora, and an LG Apps icon, which has a bunch of apps you don't care about. That's the opposite of what you'd expect, and even a seasoned CNET colleague of mine had to ask, "How do I get to Netflix?" when picking up the remote for the first time.

LG BP620's Smart TV interface
LG's simple Smart TV interface has the best layout of any 2012 Blu-ray player I've seen.

LG BP620's Netflix interface
The BP620 has a modern Netflix interface, allowing you to search and browse movies that aren't in your Instant Queue.

The Premium section is where you'll find streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Pandora, and they're laid out in a straightforward grid of icons. The layout is actually the best I've seen so far, without any unnecessary layers or screens getting between you and your content. Unfortunately you can't customize the order that the apps are laid out in, but there aren't enough apps to make this a problem. For simple navigation, LG's Smart TV interface is a winner.

LG Apps interface
LG Apps seems like an afterthought. You'll never use it.

The LG Apps section looks fine, but you'll basically never need to go there. The selection of apps is dismal, ranging from worthless games to classic books displayed on your TV. Given the quality of the apps in the app store, LG should have left if out completely, especially since it's so confusing next to the Premium section. Note that you can't add any of the Premium streaming-media services to the customizable "LG apps" bar that runs along the bottom of most screens, which makes it practically useless.

Features: The basics are covered
Again, the LG BP620 has all the major features covered: built-in Wi-Fi, 3D Blu-ray support, and a full suite of streaming-media services.

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