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LG BP645 Blu-ray Player Review

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All this for under a ton.

by Mark Hodgkinson Jun 24, 2014

  • Home AV review

    18
    17,226

    Recommended
    LG BP645 Blu-ray Player Review
    SRP: £99.99

    What is the BP645?

    The BP645 is LG’s second ranking Blu-ray Player for 2014.

    If you want 4K Ultra HD scaling, you’ll need to look upwards to the BP740 but otherwise this Blu-ray player offers almost every feature you could wish for. It has built-in WiFi, Miracast and DLNA as well as a host of online services and apps.
    Retailing at just under £100, the BP645 is not likely to break the bank but this is an enormously competitive sector so it will need to do a bit more than show a few core competencies in order it is to flourish. Let’s see what it can do.

    Design & Connections

    Once you’ve removed the various stickers and wrapping adorning it, the BP645 becomes the very epitome of a plain black box. This is no bad thing in our view as we like our players discreet and, save for a few simple operational buttons, that look a bit tacky in all honesty, there’s not much else to report. There is a small display window just to the right of the buttons and a drop-down flap concealing a tray-loading disc mechanism.

    We could actually detect a certain amount of noise from the player when a disc was playing back, which seemed to be caused by vibrations, although mileages will vary dependent on what material you place it on and how far away you sit but some isolating rubber feet – widely available on the internet – will solve any reverb issues.
    LG BP645 Design & Connections
    LG BP645 Design & Connections

    The only connection at the front is a USB port, hidden behind a fiddly protector and around the back we have an HDMI output and S/PDIF digital audio out. There’s also a LAN port for wired internet but there is built-in WiFi if you wish to place the BP645 away from your router. The supplied remote control is sensibly sized for a Blu-ray player with buttons that are easy to find and sensibly arranged.

    The disc tray vibrates a little during playback

    Menus

    As per every other player in their range, the LG BP645 opens up to a Home screen with five main areas of interest – Smartshare, Premium, LG Smart World, My Apps and Settings – and there’s also a shortcuts bar at the bottom where you can place your favourite apps. Since four of those five submenus relate to Smart TV features, they’ll be addressed below and the Settings Menu is LG’s usual study in simplicity.
    LG BP645 Menus
    LG BP645 Menus

    It is broken down into six submenus which are very easy to navigate but we’re curious why the Display Menu doesn’t have an Auto setting for 1080p24, only choices between that and 1080p50. Most players do provide that so we’re not sure why LG doesn’t and unless the end-user is savvy enough to detect the added judder and then work out it could be fixed in the Menus, they won’t be getting the most out of their Blu-ray collection. In actual fact, if you don’t select 24Hz as the 1080p Mode, it will play them at 60Hz which muddies the waters yet further. Otherwise, the rest of the options are fairly safe at defaults.

    LG BP645 Video Review


    Features

    The BP645 has a really good set of Smart TV features that could almost justify the price alone. SmartShare is your multi-media playback area and the BP645 can stream over DLNA, Miracast, USB and via WiFi Direct. The Premium area – as the name suggests – has all the best apps and these encompass Netflix, YouTube, NOW TV, Amazon Instant, Spotify plus the iPlayer and Sport apps from the BBC. You can also keep tabs on your Facebook, check out Google Maps or, through LG Smart World, download all manner of games and lifestyle apps. The My Apps subheading allows you to consolidate and edit all your non-Premium apps but we rarely found ourselves using the facility.
    LG BP645 Features
    LG BP645 Features


    The usual excellent array of VoD apps from LG

    Is the LG BP645 a good Blu-ray player?

    We did encounter a few playback hiccups/player lock-ups prior to installing the latest software version for the BP645 and thankfully that cleared all the issues up. Following that, the BP645 delivers almost everything you would want from a Blu-ray player. Disc load times are pretty snappy, with most reaching the disc menu in under 25seconds, depending on the amount of BD-Live content on the disc. You can shave another few seconds off that by disabling BD Live in the Settings Menu, too, which is precisely what we did. You’ll find that option, semi-logically, in the Network Menu.

    You can, should you wish, make some picture altering adjustments found under ‘Options’ after hitting the INFO/MENU button on the remote during disc playback. We prefer that LG ‘hides’ them there as it means most are unlikely to touch the option as the ‘Standard’ Picture Mode gives you exactly what you want, which is unmolested playback of your DVDs and Blu-rays. We ran the measuring equipment on a calibrated display and there was no untoward alteration in colour tracking, enforced sharpening or changes in gamma, which the Vivid and Cinema modes can’t claim so it’s best just to leave as is.

    Those with daughters of pre-high school age are no doubt familiar with the movie Frozen and it’s still a Blu-ray disc in regular use around here. This is good, in a way, as Frozen is an excellent looking animation to show off your display and we must say it looked every bit as good as it ever did being piped from the BP645 to the Panasonic AS640. Other BD’s in fairly regular circulation at the moment include Gravity and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug which both have great 3D presentations as well as 2D and the BP645 was not found wanting, regardless of resolution.

    Where a player can add a bit of worth, as far as disc playback is concerned, is with your standard definition DVDs or those rare Blu-rays provided in interlaced format. In each case, the BP645 delivered the goods with an excellent scaling engine complemented by solid film cadence detection and typically very competent deinterlacing capabilities. A good test for the handling of interlaced Blu-rays is the Stevie Wonder: Live at Last disc and you can see by looking at any stringed instruments in the band that fine lines and details are retained by the BP645 under movement. Turning to some animation again, the DVD of Tangled was scaled so well by the LG that you could, at times, be forgiven for thinking you’re watching the Blu-ray version.

    Everything you're likely to need except 24p auto-detection

    Conclusion

    8
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    Pros

    • Faultless Blu-ray playback
    • Excellent scaling of DVD
    • A really good set of smart features
    • Good price

    Cons

    • No 1080p24 detection
    • Disc mechanism sometimes audible during playback
    You own this Total 1
    You want this Total 1
    You had this Total 0

    LG BP645 Blu-ray Player Review

    It might not look like much but that’s exactly what we want from a Blu-ray player so we will forgive the LG BP645 for that. There is a discreet display panel and a few tacked-on operational buttons but you could pretty much slip this one in to your cabinet unnoticed. The supplied remote if perfect for the job with easy to find and reach buttons, whilst most will be happy with the connectivity options on offer, which include outputs for HDMI and digital audio as well as USB plus wired and wireless LAN.

    LG’s home screen makes for a user interface which is easy to navigate and there aren’t a catalogue of technical settings in the setup menus. We do find it strange that LG can’t implement a 24p detection mode however, so you’ll need to manually adjust depending on what you’re playing. In fact, it’s the only real weakness of this player as disc playback was excellent, both HD and SD, 3D and 2D. There’s a good range of Smart features, too, including most of the major streaming services and the whole package merits an easy recommendation.


    The Rundown

    Picture Quality

    8

    Sound Quality

    8

    Features

    8

    Ease Of Use

    8

    Build Quality

    7

    Value For Money

    8

    Verdict

    8

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