If I were a betting man, I’d predict that the $100 BP540 will be the most popular Blu-ray player LG releases this year. It isn’t their top of the line, but it has the features most people are after. With Wi-Fi, 3D and a bevy of apps it will fit the needs of almost everyone. LG sets the BP540 apart from its competition with some unique features like “Private Sound Mode.”
But does LG have the playback performance to go along with their rich selection of features?
Click on to find out.
The LG BP540 handles all your Blu-ray and DVD discs in addition to audio CDs. It includes a selection of LGs Smart Apps, though it can’t utilize all of the ones their TVs can. Getting online is done with the Ethernet jack or the integrated Wi-Fi. 3D movies are supported as well. As with all current Blu-ray players, the only video output is HDMI. A single coaxial digital output is provided for audio as well. A front panel USB port provides access to media off a flash drive.
The included remote is simple, with only the playback controls being backlit. LG does provide apps for control with your smartphone, if you prefer that. The front controls are tactile buttons that are easy to press and clearly marked. The front panel has a simple LED display.
With Blu-ray content the LG BP540 leaves nothing to be desired. Movies look flawless. Progressive and interlaced titles both come off the player correctly. Color decoding, often a sore spot for other players, is correct from the LG BP540. Edges are anti-aliased well so you don’t see jaggies at all. Load times are good, and only a few seconds short of the best players available.
With DVD content the BP540 falls behind. Anti-aliasing of jaggies is sometimes lacking. Watching the DVD of Titanic with a large number of angles causes this to reveal itself. It isn’t always easy to see but there are players that are better.
More people likely care about the online content and streaming performance than DVD playback. Movies streamed through Netflix look good, as it supports 1080p playback and the most recent interface. The responsiveness of the user interface is lacking compared to a Roku 3, but on par with other Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. Major streaming services include the the major: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu and Hulu Plus.
DLNA features work well with my networked storage devices. Playing audio files, including FLAC and MP3, works well. Even browsing my library of over 700 albums is easy with the BP540. It is a better interface for this than any other Blu-ray player I’ve used. Playing back my Blu-ray movie rips, made with MakeMKV, some of the audio tracks don’t work. This is the case with most Blu-ray players, and an uncommon test. Playing back more conventional movie files all work fine.
A unique feature to the LG players I found useful is the Private Sound Mode. With an app installed on my iPhone, I can send audio from the player to my headphones. This is great for watching a movie at night while someone is asleep. Netflix, DVD and Blu-ray movies I tried all work fine. The only downside is that it does a number on your cell phone battery life, and the audio can start to lag behind what is on-screen.
The LG BP540 is a very good Blu-ray player. With Blu-ray titles it plays them back perfectly, which not every player can say. The streaming content it has looks great, but some other players offer more. The inclusion of the Private Sound Mode is a nice one for people that want to watch a movie without bothering others in the same room. If you want to watch a Blu-ray , it’s a good solution. When you factor in the price compared to other similar models, it comes across as a good bargain as well.
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