LG BD550 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

LG BD550 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

LG plans to add four new models to its Blu-ray line this year. At the low end of the price spectrum is the BD550 ($229.99), which lacks the 3D support, integrated hard drive, and WiFi-readiness you'll find in the higher-priced models. But you do get LG's NetCast system, with Netflix and VUDU.

LG-BD550-Blu-ray-Reviewed.gifLG's 2010 Blu-ray lineup includes four new models: three standard models (the BD550, BD570 and BD590) and the 3D-capable BX580. We have not performed a hands-on review of the entry-level BD550, but here is an overview of its features. This Profile 2.0 player supports BD-Live Web functionality and BonusView/picture-in-picture playback, and it offers both onboard decoding and bitstream output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The BD550 does not include the wireless network connection and DLNA media streaming you'll find in the step-up BD570 and BD590, but it does support LG's NetCast Web platform, which includes access to video-on-demand services from VUDU, Netflix and CinemaNow, as well as Pandora, YouTube, Picasa, AccuWeather, and more.

Additional Resources

• Read reviews of nearly every top performing Blu-ray Player on the market today at HomeTheaterReview.com's Blu-ray resource page.
• Check out this terrific source for Blu-ray disc reviews at hometheaterequipment.com. Your reviews are welcomed there too.

In terms of video connections, the BD550 offers HDMI, component video and composite video outputs (no S-video). This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI. Video adjustments include the ability to choose between several preset picture modes and access color, contrast, brightness, sharpness, and noise reduction controls. Audio outputs include HDMI, coaxial digital (no optical), and two-channel analog. The BD550 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so the only way to pass decoded high-resolution audio formats is via HDMI.

The BD550 supports the BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, WMA, MP3 and JPEG formats. You can add the player to your home network using the back-panel Ethernet port; as I mentioned, it does not support a wireless connection option. The BD550 lacks internal memory to store BD-Live features; a front-panel USB port is provided for this purpose. The USB port also supports music and photo playback. Finally, the player lacks advanced control ports, such as RS-232 or IR.

Read Page 2 for The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion

LG-BD550-Blu-ray-Reviewed.gifHigh Points
• The BD550 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.

• The player has internal decoding and bitstream output of high-resolution audio sources.
• It supports BD-Live Web content and can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• The NetCast Web platform offers access to VUDU, Netflix, CinemaNow, Pandora, YouTube, Picasa and more.
• The USB slot allows for easy playback of digital media files.

Low Points
• The BD550 lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so it's not the best choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver. 
• The player does not have built-in WiFi or internal storage for BD-Live.
• It also lacks an advanced control port like RS-232.
• The BD550 is not 3D-capable.

Conclusion
Even though LG lists the BD550's price at $229.99, this Blu-ray player is actually available for well under $200 at major retailers, and its list of features is generally on par with other players in that price class. Moving up the price chain in LG's line will get you built-in WiFi and DLNA media streaming (BD570), an integrated hard drive (BD590) and 3D capability (BX580); however, if those features don't matter to you and you're simply in the market for the core Blu-ray and Web package for under $200, the BD550 is a good choice.

Additional Resources

• Read reviews of nearly every top performing Blu-ray Player on the market today at HomeTheaterReview.com's Blu-ray resource page.
• Check out this terrific source for Blu-ray disc reviews at hometheaterequipment.com. Your reviews are welcomed there too.

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