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LG BP730 Smart 3D Blu-ray Player Review

LG's new BP730 Blu-ray Player is smart in more ways than one

by Steve Withers Jun 26, 2013


Home AV review

12

SRP: £149.00

Introduction

The value that modern electronics provides never ceases to amaze us. Regardless of manufacturer, you can gets some seriously good audio and video performance for a relatively small outlay. A case in point is LG's new BP730 Blu-ray player, which packs in the kind of features that could only be dreamt of a few years ago. It plays Blu-rays, of course, both the 2D and 3D variety, as well as DVD and CD but that's just the start. The BP730 also comes with built-in WiFi, DLNA certified networking, extensive media file support, Near Field Communication (NFC) and Miracast. If that wasn't enough, you also get LG's Smart TV platform included, along with a remote app, a Private Sound feature and Ultra HD upscaling. All that is wrapped up in an attractively slim-line player that can be picked up for less than £150, which seems like great value for money. Let's see if the BP730 delivers on its early promise.

Styling/Build/Connectivity

The BP730 is a great example of modern design, combining a sleek slim-line chassis with a clean and uncluttered facia. There is a two-tier, two-tone effect evident in the design, with the top half composed of a brushed metal section and the lower part using a gloss black finish. Between the two is a recessed section that hides the disc loading slot, although there is a handy little pointer on the left hand side to show you where to actually insert the disc. We aren't huge fans of slot loaders, always concerned it might scratch our discs, but the BP730 had no issues with inserting and ejecting discs.

The top lip of the lower section has some basic touch sensitive controls - on/off, play/pause, stop, skip and eject - on the right hand side, along with a hidden USB port. Also to the right of the bottom section is a well designed and informative display that can be dimmed. That's it for the design - a classic example of elegance and simplicity. Whilst the player is slim in terms of height and depth, it's nice to see a full width BD player in our equipment rack for a change. The build quality is also very good, especially for a player at this price point, but the disc mechanism could have been quieter, with loading and navigation being a bit noisy.


As is becoming increasingly common with new Blu-ray players there are the bare minimum of connections at the rear, with a single HDMI output, an optical digital output and an Ethernet port.


LG has been making great strides with their magic motion remotes and this year seem to have cracked it; the version included with their TVs is proving to be a particular game changer. The BP730 includes a similar pointer style remote, fashioned in gloss black plastic that is extremely comfortable to hold. The main navigation buttons are on the remote but the others are all on a bar that appears at the bottom of screen when you press the Menu button. Whilst using the remote wasn't quite the revelatory experience it was with LG's new TVs, we did find that after a period of adjustment we could use this remote just as quickly as more traditional ones and the pointer itself was quite accurate and responsive. It also makes navigating the smart features an easy and pleasurable experience, so we found ourselves really warming to the provided magic remote.

Setup and Menus

As with previous years, the LG user interface remains a perfect example of a well designed and informative menu system. As such it's a pleasure to navigate, with everything centred around the Home screen. Here you'll find options for SmartShare, Premium, LG Smart World, My Apps and Settings. We cover the majority of these options in the features section, so here we'll concentrate on the Settings menu.

It is perhaps representative of the networked world we live in, that the order of the Settings menu has been changed to reflect this. First up is the Network submenu, where you can set and check your connections (wired or wireless), set the BD-Live feature, setup the Smart Service, change the Device Name, setup WiFi Direct and turn on the Network Play feature. The we have the Display submenu where you can set the TV Aspect Ratio and Resolution, which includes scaling up to Ultra HD (4K) standard. The 1080p Display Mode gives choices of 24p or 50Hz and it’s the former you want for almost all Blu-ray Discs. There’s also a choice of On/Off/Auto for the 3D Mode, HDMI Colour Setting and the option to turn the Home Menu Guide on or off.


The Language submenu obviously allows you to choose the languages for the Display Menu and the Disc's Menu, Audio and Subtitles. The Audio submenu includes Digital Output, which can be sent as PCM Stereo, PCM Multi-Channel, Bitstream or you can allow the player to re-encode to DTS from HD audio for those without capable receivers. There are three other options, the Sampling Frequency with choices of 48, 96 and 192Khz, the option to engage DRC (Dynamic Range Control) for more restrained listening and the option to turn DTS Neo:6 on and off.


The Lock submenu allows you to set a Password, DVD Rating, Blu-ray Disc Rating and Area Code. Finally the Others submenu allows you to setup the Pointer, DivX VoD service, turn Quick Start and Auto Power on or off, Initialise the setup and update the software.


There is also a button called Option, which shows you disc information such as chapters, titles, running time and time elapsed, audio chosen and any subtitles or angles chosen. There is the option to change the aspect ratio, select the user settings and access information about the movie from the Gracenote database.

Features

As is is the case with all manufacturers, LG Blu-ray players aren’t endowed with quite the same level of Smart features as found on their current TV lineup but what is there remains quite impressive. As mentioned previously, the BP730 has a Home screen where you can access an number of different options - SmartShare, Premium, LG Smart World and My Apps.


If you select Premium you can access LG's excellent Smart TV internet portal, where you'll find an interesting selection of apps which are all very nicely presented in LG’s card style format. Among the pre-loaded apps available are BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Acetrax, Netflix, Dailymotion, Picasa, Cinetrailer, Viewster and LOVEFiLM. However you can also download more apps from the LG Smart World section, which you can then save and access in the My Apps section.


The LG Smart World section includes all of the apps available for LG's platform and they are grouped according to genre (Game, Entertainment, Life, Education and News/Info) or by certain categories (Hot, Top Paid, Top Free and New). It's good to see that LG's Blu-ray players now offer their 3D video streaming service, which increases the amount of 3D content available to the user. The BP730 includes an Ethernet port, built-in WiFi, WiFi Direct, a USB port and also compatibility with external HDD playback. The BP730 is also DLNA certified, so it has extensive networking, connection and sharing capabilities - all of which can be accessed from SmartShare. The BP730 supports an extensive list of files including MKV, DIVX, WMV HD, AVI, MPEG, AVCHD, XVID, MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC and FLAC, which seemed to hold true whether streamed or via USB. We tried out our new DivX Media Test Kit and the BP730 passed with flying colours.


Along with built-in WiFi and WiFi Direct (WiDi), the BP730 also includes Near Field Communication and Miracast, which allows easy connection with your mobile device and screen mirroring, allowing you to share videos, music and photos from your mobile device on your TV screen. Whether you are listening to music from a CD, USB drive or over your network, the BP730 can identify your tracks using the Gracenote database. There's also LG's Sound Gallery where you can choose from seven different sound genres and their Private Sound feature, which allows you to send sound from your TV to your mobile devices via WiFi, allowing you to listen to the TV through the headphones of your smartphone, tablet or laptop.


Speaking of smartphones and tablets, there is also the latest version of LG's remote app, which is freely available for both iOS and Android. The app is well designed, attractive and easy to use, with a navigation controller, a touch pad, a QWERTY keyboard, content info and various settings. We found that the app worked very well and whilst not quite as interactive as some of competition, it does provide a viable alternative to the provided remote.

3D and 1080p Playback

As is always the case, every player should be able to output the content on the a Blu-ray disc equally as well over HDMI because it is a digital signal. The same is equally true with digital audio and since the BP730 is essentially a digital transport with no analogue options, we would expect a flawless performance with both audio and video. As a result the overall 3D performance of the BP730 was excellent with the all the content we tried playing flawlessly. With recent purchases like Oz the Great and Powerful, Texas Chainsaw and Bait we encountered no firmware issues, added crosstalk or any other unwanted artefacts affecting picture quality.


As with the 3D performance, the digital nature of the content means that any Blu-ray player capable of outputting 1080p24 should essentially be identical to any other when using the HDMI output. That is of course as long as the manufacturers don't mess with the output by adding picture mode options rather than just maintaining the integrity of the output on their players. Thankfully, in the Standard Picture Mode, the BP730 showed no signs of unwanted manipulation, as did the User mode. However the Movie and Vivid modes need to be avoided – Vivid over-emphasises the colour palette and clips detail near white, whilst the Movie mode does the opposite. In the Standard mode the BP730 output the video without any issues, all the Blu-rays we watched showed plenty of fine detail and appeared free from any undue judder.

1080i Playback

As ever it’s with interlaced and standard definition content where the video processing on a player can begin to make a difference and here the BP730 did an excellent job. The ability of the player to detect film content inside an interlaced signal and correctly deinterlace it is important and, as we have come to expect from LG, their proprietary video processing is exceptionally good. The BP730 passed all the popular cadence tests on Blu-ray discs and also performed well with the deinterlacing tests, avoiding aliasing and keeping edges smooth. The BP730 also had no problems with the video resolution loss test, correctly processing the moving portion of the image and leaving the background free of artefacts. The LG player was also able to handle discs with film content that is encoded at 1080i/50Hz without any problems.

480i/576i Playback

As with the 1080i content the BP730 benefits from LG's excellent video processing when dealing with standard definition content. The player was able to fully reproduce the SMPTE 133 resolution test, correctly scaling the full 576i/50Hz images without any loss of detail or unwanted ringing. Video deinterlacing performance was also excellent and the BP730’s performance was equally impressive with the film detail test, correctly locking on to the image resulting in no aliasing in the speedway seats behind the race car. In the cadence tests the LG also performed flawlessly, correctly detecting the most common types 2:3 (NTSC - USA/Japan) and 2:2 (PAL - European). The BP420 also had no problems with the test displaying film material with scrolling video text, the text was always clearly readable without any shredding.


Of course it’s all very well a player passing a selection of test material but the proof of the pudding, as always, is in the eating - so we tried the BP730 out on some real world material. Whilst we watch less and less standard definition content these days and rarely buy DVDs, we do still have an extensive collection of old favourites. These include a number of TV shows and obscure movies, yet to take a bow on high def disc. As a result the BP730 allowed us to enjoy our box set of From the Earth to the Moon and Sam Raimi's largely forgotten For Love of the Game all over again. The images the player produced were excellent, with the video processing teasing every last detail out of the ageing DVD format.

Video Review


Disc Load Times

LG seemed to have improved the boot up and especially the load times since last year and the BP730 performed well in these tests. It took 8 seconds to get to the Home screen when turned on and this could be reduced to 3 seconds in Quick Start mode. The player uses more energy in standby when it Quick Start mode, so it really depends on how important those extra 5 seconds are. In terms of disc loading speeds, it took 10 seconds to get to the menu screen on a DVD and 15 seconds to get to the copyright page on a Blu-ray disc. Of course, once you get to the copyright page on a BD, how long it takes after that will largely depend on the studio.

Energy Consumption

  • Standby (Quick Start Off): 0W
  • Standby (Quick Start On): 3W
  • Idle: 9W
  • Playing a disc: 10W

Conclusion

8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

The Good

  • Flawless Blu-ray playback
  • Excellent video processing
  • Impressive build quality
  • Extensive feature set
  • Well designed menu system
  • Attractive styling and design

The Bad

  • Could be quieter in operation

I own this 0
I want this 0
I had this 0

LG BP730 Smart 3D Blu-ray Player Review

The BP730 certainly has the looks, thanks to a slim-line design that incorporates a two-tone construction with brushed metal on top and gloss black at the bottom. There is a central recess where the disc slot is hidden and there's also some touch sensitive controls and a useful display. At the rear is a very basic set of connections, with just a HDMI output, an optical audio output and an Ethernet port. There's also built-in WiFi, WiDi and a USB ports hidden behind a cover on the front facia. It takes a while to become familiar with the provided pointer remote but once you have it largely pays dividends, especially when navigating the smart features. The menu system is well design, informative and intuitive to navigate, whilst setup is very straightforward.


There is a Home screen from where you can access the impressive selection of smart features. These include numerous apps, video-on-demand services and other premium content, along with the NFC and Miracast features. There is extensive file support, along with DLNA certified networking capabilities and the remote app is excellent, providing a handy alternative to the provided controller. The all-digital nature of the outputs means the BP730 is effectively a digital transport and thus is flawless in its delivery of both audio and video from 2D and 3D Blu-rays. The video processing is excellent, as we have come to expect from LG, and as a result even DVDs can can look great. The BP730 is another great disc-spinner from LG, combining elegant slim-line design with superb performance and packing in a host of cutting-edge features.

Highly Recommended

The Rundown

Picture Quality

8

Sound Quality

8

Features

8

Ease Of Use

9

Build Quality

7

Value For Money

7

Verdict

8

Our Review Ethos

Read about our review ethos and the meaning of our review badges here.


    1. The News Bot

      The News Bot News Supplying Robot Staff Member

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      Reviewed by Stephen Withers, 26th June 2013. The BP730 is another great disc-spinner from LG, combining elegant slim-line design with a superb performance and packing in a host of cutting-edge features - Highly Recommended.
      Read the full review...
    2. Clem_Dye

      Clem_Dye Member

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      Looks interesting, and potentially a good foil for some of the cheaper players from the likes of Samsung, Sony, etc., only yet again no ITVPlayer, 4OD or Demand5 catch-up services. Samsung really does seem to have cornered the market here.


      Clem
    3. lapino

      lapino Member

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      How would a PS3 compare to this as a 3D Bluray player?
    4. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers Assistant Editor

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      When you're dealing with a digital signal over HDMI, then any Blu-ray player will be identical to any other Blu-ray player with both audio and video (2D and 3D). The only exception is if the player is manipulating the signal in some way that it shouldn't be but if that was the case we would flag it up. Reviews that comment on subtle differences in the pictures and sound quality of different Blu-ray players are generally talking utter rubbish. The PS3 is an excellent Blu-ray and if you're currently using a PS3 you won't see any difference by changing to the BP730 or any other Blu-ray player.
    5. bobj5

      bobj5 Member

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      Finally, a player that eliminates the headache of video encoding... though I am yet to try it, but the Technical specs on the LG site for this model shows almost every Video Format is playable directly on this model without the need of any Video encoding software.
    6. bobj5

      bobj5 Member

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      The LG BP-730, in terms of Video Compatibility and playability, is better option than PS3... It plays all available formats directly via USB or Disc, without the hassle of any Video Encoding S/W.
    7. dabbler

      dabbler Member

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      Might have had it on the list but for fact no rear USB port. I mean who wants their cabling hanging out the front of player all the time...how hard would it have been to add extra rear port.
    8. casjen

      casjen Member

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      Is it multiregion on DVD... Its £110 In Richersounds at mo
    9. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers Assistant Editor

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      No, all players in the UK are Region 2 for DVD and Region B for Blu-ray.
    10. Caprica

      Caprica Member

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      Recently having bought this player, my gripe is all the stuff i can get from the store is useless rubbish. Cine trailers doesnt work correctly and has approx a mere 10 trailers (wow), i dont play games and if i did it would have to be the like of tetris, as those style of games is all it supports.
      NO> 5od, ITV player, 4od, Vevo ect.. Very,VERY poor LG,
      To leave on a positive note, Iplayer works fine!
    11. Training4all

      Training4all Member

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      Anyone know how to enable this player it to play xvid?

      thanks
    12. robbynaish

      robbynaish Member

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      Hi guys,

      i have this player, but it has big problems with my Synology DS 214.

      The player se immediatly the Syn, i can go inside folders, but every video i try open, the screen become white, there is the cursoor that i can still move around the screen, but player is blocked. I need unplug from power!!!!
      I tried even with NAS direct to the Player by ry45... nothing, always Lg blocked!!!

      Is is a problem of me, or is a general big bug?

      The Syno works perfectly with my wdtv and another mediaplayer, and with Tv LG too!!!

      The FW is the last one

      Many thanks

      Ale
  • Type

    Disc Formats Blu-ray
    BD-V
    BD/R/RE
    BD 3D
    DVD
    CD
    CD-RW
    DVD + R/RW
    DVD + RDL
    File Formats XViD
    MPEG2
    MKV
    AVCHD
    DivX
    DivX HD
    AVI
    MP4
    M4V
    JPEG
    Audio Formats Dolby Digital
    Dolby Digital Plus
    DTS-HD Master Audio
    Upscaling Engine Yes
    3D Blu-ray Playback Yes
    Smart Features Yes
    Remote App Yes

    Connections

    HDMI Out 1
    Optical Digital Out 1
    USB Ports 1
    Ethernet 1
    Wi-Fi Built-in
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