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LG’s BD570 poises itself as a modestly-budgeted wireless Blu-ray player, but can it still offer the high-definition prowess to make it a solid value? Well, yes and no. On a base level, the disc’s ability to render sumptuous color, detail crispness, fluid range of motion and natural film grain comes fairly close to matching that of its like-minded competitors, including Sony’s more readily recommendable BDP-S570, while its semi-swift speed with booting up and loading discs earns a respectable nod. However, it has three problems that hold it back from being a little package of price-defying wonderful: handling of contrast, sub-par DVD performance, and a penchant for stubborn glitches within both mediums.
Leave it to Spears and Munsil’s Hand-Forged disc to iron out any issues in the picture performance. After watching a bit of content on LG’s BD570, it’ll become obvious that the brightness seems to lean more towards gray than natural blacks. After popping in S&M’s disc to test the contrast and black levels, the results stated that everything was about eight degrees too light. It’s here that the “User Setting” function becomes important, because adjusting the Brightness down to -1 actually brings black levels a lot closer to an acceptable range. However, it can also be just a shade too dark, as the black levels intermittently swallow up detail – though the slightly darker look preserves a far more natural feel about the content. Therefore, the user has a choice between a minuscule higher level of detail in darker elements, or far more acceptable contrast. The rest of the functions, from 3:2 cadence, de-interlacing, and color clipping all passed without much to complain about, aside from an ever-so-slight discrepancy in color cutoff and slightly jerkier flow in 24p. Under a microscope, everything looks rather good.
To test the full Blu-ray capacity of the BD570, the urge couldn’t be resisted to do a bit of comparison testing with Paramount’s “re”-remastered disc for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. The new disc, a real marvel of color and detail, looks exceptional in LG’s player. The slight gradation in black levels during the rich, muddy battle sequence at the beginning offers a highly pleasing experience that’s roughly the same level of high-definition rendering as either the JVC XV-BP1 or Sony’s Playstation 3, while the thunderous DTS HD Master Audio bolsters the clanking of swords and hammering of horse hooves with great clarity and fine lower-frequency fluctuations.
There’s just one rather large problem: the player stutters, stops and skips ahead to another chapter early on in Gladiator, at the same point upon each attempt. That same effect doesn’t happen again on that disc, but it’s an unfortunate glitch – and not the last, sadly. A few other instances occurred where the player would hiccup, fast-forward, then rights itself, and at one point completely lost audio. Thankfully, however, performing a firmware update alleviated a lot of these issues, though the problem with Gladiator still persisted even after a bump up to software version 8.31.300.C. Nevertheless, the player still seems to have trouble with certain discs, which raises a rather glaring red flag.
This isn’t a problem, however, with Sony’s rendering of The Secret in Their Eyes, a beautiful Argentinean mystery-romance hybrid shot entirely with Red One HD cameras. The Blu-ray exhibits a staggering level of detail in close-ups and a velvety, stylish palette, all of which rendered gorgeously on LG’s player. It preserves the slight movement in a cramped public prosecution office extremely well, while retaining convincing flesh tones and impressively balanced black levels. This Master Audio track more focuses on verbal clarity, which the BD570 handled in a graceful fashion.
Exercising the player’s ability to render more expansive aspect ratios, the BD570 successfully plowed through Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio was preserved well, holding the stylish-yet-dark cinematography within Raccoon City’s “Hive” with the sterile, metallic presence you’d expect. Black levels grow deep, and the player keeps speed, while also offering some rather attractive close-ups on Milla Jovovich’s stunning gazes. But, if anything, it’s known that the soundtrack for that film is excessively loud, offered in a DTS HD Master Audio that plowed along with the expected amount of intense clunk and LFE-heavy punch.
Finally, in an exercise to push out the player’s ability to render black-and-white contrast and aged prints, The Criterion Collection’s 1.66:1 presentation of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion unnervingly found its way into the player. The densely-contrasted grayscale image pours through a thick layer of grain decently, though the film stock’s density does soften the image a bit in LG’s player – more so than in others. But the level of detail also surprises against Catherine Deneuve’s hair and against the cracked walls, while the sound presentation of Polanski’s erratic design pierced and prodded the speakers well in its 2-channel Master Audio rendering.
On a supplemental level, BD-Live and BD-Java were tested via Disney’s Prince of Persia Blu-ray to fine success. Connecting to the Internet operated without a hitch, though the decision towards a 570 model (instead of the 590) will require the user to have a USB 2.0 storage device. Also, as a bit of a surprise, the BD570 can handle PAL-encoded special features, as tested by Tartan’s UK presentation of I’m a Cyborg. That feature alone, built into an inexpensive player, and deserves an appreciative nod.
DVD performance was tested with episodes of The Vampire Diaries and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and the impressions left weren’t exactly wine and roses. In short, the results were hazier and somewhat unstable on a visual level, with a fairly flat level dimensionality and erratic constancy. The audio punches in Hellboy filled the room with enough oomph and the Vampire Diaries’ dialogue-driven, music-heavy mix sound decent enough, but nothing to really praise. Its attributes aren’t terrible, really, but more on a mediocre level that’s sup-bar to the present status quo. This is a shame, because the BD570 actually handles PAL-encoded discs, such as Tartan UK’s edition of A Bittersweet Life.