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LG UP870 review: Affordable, bare-bones 4K HDR Blu-ray player gets it right

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The Good The LG UP870 4K Blu-ray player, for the same price as many HD-only models, is excellent value for money. It offers the best disc-loading speeds of any player to date and is capable of excellent image quality.

The Bad The player lacks the features you might expect for a 4K player including Dolby Vision, Wi-Fi and streaming apps. The remote control isn't all that fun to use.

The Bottom Line The LG UP870 4K Blu-ray player strips down its feature set to the bare minimum and concentrates on what's important: superlative performance

8.4 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Ecosystem 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 9
  • Value 10

There comes a time when every technology crosses the line from enthusiast to mainstream, and now it's 4K Blu-ray's turn. In the LG UP870, the format now has its first truly affordable player, and it's a doozy. It's blazing-fast and plays disks to a very high standard. In short, it's one of the best-performing Blu-ray players we've tested.

Yet there's one big caveat. In a world of smart, connected devices the UP870 is fabulously, gloriously "dumb." Answer me this: Do you buy a Blu-ray player based on how well it streams Netflix? If yes, then you should probably stop reading now. The UP870 doesn't stream Netflix, Amazon, YouTube or anything at all. 

On the other hand you probably already have multiple streaming devices, so you don't really need streaming on your Blu-ray player. The UP870 also excludes other stuff you probably won't need or use, such as Dolby Vision, and concentrates on the necessities. The LG is cheap and it's good. What else do you want?

While the LG UP870 is currently listed as $199 MSRP, the company says it will be running a promotional price for the foreseeable future at $109. Also it's worth noting that the model we reviewed is the end-of-life UP875, but LG says it is identical to the UP870, which will be available throughout 2018.

Design and Features

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This Blu-ray player only plays discs, don't expect any Netflix streaming here.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Half-width Blu-ray players are great if space is tight, but they don't exactly scream "serious home theater." Despite its budget price, the full-size LG UP870 looks like something you could put in a Show Us Yours gallery and feel proud.

It's not showy, yet it's attractive in its own minimalist way with a matte, gunmetal finish. Unlike the similarly brutalist X700, the LG actually includes a modicum of controls on the front of the unit itself, including the Play button the Sony lacks. Who thought that "Play" would be an optional extra these days?

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The menu on this Blu-ray player keeps things simple.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The interface is identical to every LG player we've reviewed over the past five years, minus streaming. The lack of clutter means the process is streamlined: you can either play discs, stream music, photos or videos from a USB drive or adjust the settings. Like the Sony X700 before it, the fuzzy-looking interface is seemingly ported over from its HD players, and so we had to confirm with a test pattern that the LG was putting out 4K. It was.

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