Last year's LG BD390 felt like the first Blu-ray player to really have it all, with built-in Wi-Fi, excellent streaming services, onboard storage, and 7.1 analog-audio outputs. The only drawback was its $400 list price, so it's good news to see its successor, the LG BD570, selling for as low as $250 online.
Aside from the price break, the BD570 hasn't changed much from the BD390. Yes, the BD570 doesn't have 7.1 analog-audio outputs, but there's still NetCast streaming services (including Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, and Picasa), built-in Wi-Fi, onboard storage, and it has an excellent image quality. What has changed is that the competition has caught up; nearly every manufacturer is offering a Blu-ray player with Wi-Fi, Netflix, and onboard storage at this price in 2010.
There's also 3D Blu-ray looming on the horizon and the BD570 isn't compatible; Sony is promising a firmware upgrade this summer for its competing BDP-S570. Don't get us wrong--the BD570 is a still great Blu-ray player, but it's not the standout product that last year's BD390 was.
Last year's LG BD390 looked slick, but was a relatively bulky player, especially compared with players like the Sony BDP-S360. The BD570 has a more slimline profile, coming in at just 1.7 inches tall by 8 inches deep by 16.9 inches wide.
The front panel has a glossy black finish and it flips down to reveal the disc tray, front panel's buttons, and a USB port. It's a reasonably attractive looking player, although it doesn't quite have the same high-end feel as the BD390.
We loved the dead-simple user interface on last year's BD390, so we were a little dismayed to see that LG has given this year's model a complete interface overhaul. Gone are the simple squares with 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 new interface and how it makes the BD570 easier to use; it doesn't look especially cool to us and it feels slightly slower to navigate.
Netcast is what LG calls its suite of media streaming services. Luckily, once you enter the Netcast section, you're greeted by large tiles with the names of services. We found this design more to our liking, as navigating the streaming services feels speedy and there are large buttons for each service.
Vudu is a major addition to LG's services this year, as it 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. If you're interested in Vudu's top-of-the-line HDX streaming movies, you'll need to step-up to the BD590, as its built-in 250GB hard drive download more of the file as a buffer.
Like virtually every other player, the BD570 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.
LG's included remote control is a complete redesign over last year's clicker. The main surface is glossy black, which looks sleek coming out of the box, but being a remote, it naturally accumulates fingerprints quickly. Its button layout is mostly straightforward with its playback controls having a "hill" that runs underneath them, making it easy to find by feel; there are also nubs on the rewind/fast-forward buttons. The remote's 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 in use. Along its bottom are a few buttons for controlling a TV.