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LG BD-300 Blu-ray Player Print E-mail
Monday, 26 January 2009

The Basics

This Blu-Ray player is somewhat of a letdown, both in sound and video quality as well as its feature-set.  It retails at a suggested price of just under $400, but offers few frills or even many standard features in mid-priced Blu-Ray players of its class.  It is a Profile 2.0 player, so it is capable of accessing BD-Live content, as well as playing BonusView video.

The video and audio outputs on this device are designed for current technology, but they offer nothing to owners of older AV receivers.  The BD-300 features HDMI, component video, digital optical and digital coaxial outputs, but there are no analog inputs whatsoever.  

This player is coupled with the Netflix “Watch Now” program, meaning that Netflix subscribers can play Netflix films on their television sets as opposed to the videos being locked on their PCs. When streaming from Netflix, the image quality is about what you would expect from a standard DVD.

The Upside

The Blu-ray picture quality is decent for this price range.   Load times are fast for both streaming videos and Blu-Ray discs, which is a relief when considering the agonizingly slow speed of some of the other mid-range devices.  The menu is fairly simple to navigate which makes it a breeze to use.  
The Downside

Although the BD-300 can stream all high-resolution audio in its native format, it can only internally decode Dolby TrueHD.  This is a setback for LG, as many newly released Blu-Ray players in this price-range are offering both Dolby TrueHD and HTC-HD Master Audio decoding.

The Netflix compatibility may sound great, but most of the functionality still requires the use of a PC.  While you can play Netflix streaming video on the TV, you still need a PC nearby to access title and queue them up.  There’s no built-in menu support or browsing ability for Netflix’s site.  
The layout of the remote and the buttons on the device itself is cluttered and confusing until a few uses have warmed your fingers up to the awkward placement. The LG BD-300 does have a serious problem rendering black levels.  Our Pirates of the Caribbean test material didn’t offer the inky blacks that we are used to with most players.

There are only a few Netflix-capable devices on the market, so if that is your number one criteria, then the LG BD-300 may be a good investment.  However, be forewarned that this device is wired for playback only and requires a PC to access Netflix content.  For everyone else, this is a mediocre Blu-Ray player that could have displayed better picture quality and more audio functionality in order to compete with other mid-range players on the market.

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