LG BD690 3D Blu-ray Disc Player Review
More and more Blu-ray players are coming out with extra features that help differentiate them from other models on the market. The key selling point of the LG BD690 is the fact that it comes with an internal hard drive and CD ripping capabilities. But are these features enough to justify the higher price tag?
Key Specs For The LG BD690
Online Streaming Services: Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Pandora
BD Live? Yes
Dimensions:16.9 x 9.8 x 2 inches
LG BD690: The Pros
Built in Hard Drive For CDs: The major selling point of the BD690 is the fact that it comes with a 250GB hard drive included. This is designed to let you rip as many as 400 CDs right to the device. This helps to save space instead of storing physical CDs in your living room, it means that you have access to your whole music collection in one place, and it's also easy to browse thanks to the fact that it automatically downloads track lists and album art to the player when connected to the internet.
Although this is a useful feature, depending on your needs, there are a few problems with it. Firstly, it isn't that clear how to rip your CDs to the player. The menu doesn't show any ripping option, instead it's hidden under the “info” menu after you've inserted a CD. The process is also slowed down by the fact that you need to choose your settings each and every time you insert a new CD.
3D Compatible: Even if you don't yet have a 3D TV, the fact that this Blu-ray player includes 3D means you'll be ready for the future.
Streaming Media Services: The LG BD690 comes with a number of media streaming services built into the device, including Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Video, MLB.TV and Pandora. The interface is among the best you'll find on a Blu-Ray player, meaning that you can easily find what you're looking for. Considering the fact that a streaming media player can cost $100 or more on its own, finding a Blu-ray player with these services built in can save you some money if you know you want them.
Connectivity: There are plenty of different connections built into the LG BD690, including a USB port built onto the front for easy access. There's also an HDMI port, optical and coaxial digital audio ports, component video output and stereo analog outputs.
Wi-Fi is integrated into the machine, so you don't need to purchase a separate dongle as with some players. This makes things easier to set up right out of the box, but you can also use the Ethernet connection if you don't have a wireless home network.
Disc Loading Time: The disc loading time on the BD690 is reasonably good. Although there are players on the market with faster loading times, this is still good for a Blu-ray player, meaning you won't have to wait long before you can start watching.
Design: Although the LG BD690 is a little on the chunky side (see below), the design itself still remains quite sleek. This is helped by the fact that there are no buttons on the front: they're all hidden by the flip-down door.
LG BD690: The Cons
Price: The BD690 is expensive when compared to other Blu-ray players on the market. If you simply wanted a device to play Blu-ray discs and nothing else, you'd be better off shopping elsewhere. However, it's the CD ripping feature and included hard drive that bumps the cost of this player up, so it's worth it if you have a need for the functions.
Size: When compared to the most modern Blu-ray players now available to buy, the BD690 certainly looks big and chunky. Many Blu-ray players are half the width, making them a lot easier to slide on top of a shelf in your living room. That said, this particular model does house a 250GB hard drive, so it makes sense for it to be bigger.
Remote Control: Although the layout of the remote control on the LG BD690 is good, and easy to find your way around, there are a few things wrong with it. Firstly, there's no button for ripping CDs. As mentioned above, this makes the whole process quite clunky and means you have to do a bit of searching before you realize where the option is. There's also no shortcut button for accessing the Smart TV functions.
The good news is that you can take advantage of the iPad/ iPhone/ Android app and control your Blu-ray player that way. However, you can't use it to input text for searching within Netflix and other media streaming services, which is a drawback as it'll make finding specific shows slower.
Is The LG BD690 Worth Buying?
The LG BD690 is unique in the world of Blu-ray players. The included CD ripping feature, plus 250GB hard drive, means that it can be a useful place to store all of your CDs in your living room. That said, most of us by now already own MP3 players to do the same thing. It really depends on your need for this specific feature as to whether the BD690 is worth buying or not. After all, it does cost around $100 more than similar Blu-ray players without the CD ripping.