There's never been a better time to buy a Blu-ray player
What is the LG BP740?
The pace of technological development never ceases to amaze.In just eight years, Blu-ray has gone from a new disc system that was fighting a very public format war with HD-DVD, to an established and mature technology. The modern Blu-ray supports multiple lossless audio formats, as well as 1080p/24 and even 3D. The players themselves have kept pace with these developments, adding smart features and networking capabilities into the bargain. Whilst we might be nearing the end of Blu-rays development cycle, those waiting for an ultra high definition format could have a long wait. The simple fact is that not only do Blu-ray players offer an incredible array of features but they're also remarkably cheap. There has, quite simply, never been a better time to buy one.The latest flagship Blu-ray player from LG is a good example of the kind of technology you can pick up for a relatively modest outlay. The BP740 retails for around £250 but for that you get a state-of-the-art player that delivers all the features you would expect from a modern Blu-ray player. The BP740 includes full 2D and 3D support, along with all the usual lossless audio formats and it adds a fairly impressive smart platform into the mix. There's also a very useful and effective magic remote included, which makes navigating the smart features far easier. If you prefer there's a free remote app and the networking capabilities are equally as impressive, with excellent file support. So lets see how it performs...
Design and ConnectionsThe BP740 uses a rather attractive two tone design, with about two thirds using a brushed metal effect and the final third a gloss black. Aside from that it's a fairly standard rectangular chassis and we're pleased that LG's designers have resisted the temptation to do anything too avant garde. The build quality is reasonable but at this price point it is a bit plastic in nature and could do with a bit more weight. Depending on the surface you stand it upon, we found pushing the eject button could move the whole player. However it was quiet in operation, even when playing or navigating a disc and the tray opened and closed with a certain smoothness. The layout is minimalist with the disc tray to the left, behind a drop down flap and a display to the right of it.
The display is easy to read but could have been more informative, although these days manufacturers just assume you use the on screen displays for disc information. At the far right, there are some simple raised buttons for general control and a USB port behind a small cover. At the rear there is a very basic set of connections, consisting of an HDMI output, an optical digital output and an Ethernet port; although there is also built-in WiFi. We might have expected a second HDMI output from a flagship player but otherwise this is fairly standard these days. The provided magic remote is great, cleverly combining basic disc navigation with an effective way of moving around the smart platform.
The provided Magic Remote is great, making it easy to navigate discs and the smart features.
Menus and SetupThe menu system is accessed from the home page and follows the standard LG layout which is a good thing because they are easy to follow and intuitive to navigate. The menu is broken down into six general headings - Network, Display, Language, Audio, Lock and Others. It's interesting that LG now put the Network submenu first, reflecting the growing importance of video-on-demand services and networking features, even on a Blu-ray player. The setup is very straightforward and LG have kept the number of choices to a minimum, making the BP740 a very easy player to configure and use.
Within the Display submenu there are the usual options relating to your type of TV, the resolution being output, whether or not you want to use the Ultra HD upscaling, the display mode, the HDMI colour setting, the 3D mode and the home menu guide. The Audio submenu is simplified still further, with the minimum of options and most audio formats being automatically output. There are also the usual submenus covering Language and Lock (parental control), along with one called Others which includes general setup options like the Quick Start mode and firmware updates.
There is also the Option menu, which is accessed by pressing the menu/info button on the remote whilst a disc is playing. This separate menu section shows you disc information such as chapters, titles, running time and time elapsed, audio chosen and any subtitles or angles chosen. You can also select the picture mode and thankfully the default Standard picture mode 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.
FeaturesThe BP740 includes an excellent set of features, with LG highlighting the player's 3D and 4K upscaling capabilities. The former is clearly important but the latter is a little redundant since any 4K display will already have upscaling built-in. However, in the continued absence of 4K Blu-ray, we can see why the manufacturers add it as a feature. Another nice feature is the inclusion of the magic remote, which is not only highly effective for navigating the smart features but also works well when just playing discs. LG have certainly moved ahead of the pack in terms of motion sensitive controllers and smart navigation. Of course, this being 2014, there's also a free remote app for both iOS and Android, which is effective but a little pedestrian in its presentation. Although we're sure there will be an upgrade soon, given all the development LG have been putting into smart features this year. As it stands you access all the smart features from the home page, including the setup menu.
The smart platform on the BP740 reflects last year's TV system, which is a fairly standard approach amongst all the manufacturers, so sadly no webOS on a Blu-ray player just yet. However the system that is there is still very good, with a simple, responsive and intuitive layout that is made all the easier to navigate thanks to the magic remote controller. The Premium section includes a decent selection of video-on-demand services, including Now TV, iPlayer, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Netflix and BlinkBox, plus music streaming services like Spotify. The LG Smart World section includes a large number of other apps and you can collect all your favourites together using the My Apps section. The BP740 includes SmartShare for accessing a network and it had no problems finding ours and supporting a wide range of file types. It also includes Miracast, WiFi Direct and Private Sound Mode 2.0 for sending audio to your mobile device without bothering other people.
The smart platform is excellent with good networking capabilities and decent file support.
Audio and Video PerformanceThe BP740 is essentially a digital transport with all of the audio and video being passed via HDMI, although there's also an optical digital output for those that need it. As such we found the BP740 to be a flawless digital performer, delivering both the audio and video exactly as it is on the disc. When it came to the lossless audio formats like DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, the BP740 passed them directly to our receiver with no issues whatsoever. The same was true when streaming audio via our home network, playing a DVD using DTS or Dolby Digital or even popping in a CD for some two-channel music. However there is no support for SACD or DVD-A, so if that's important you should look elsewhere.
As with the audio, the digital nature of Blu-ray video means that as long as the player isn't doing anything it shouldn't, then all Blu-ray players should perform in the same manner. The BP740 certainly didn't put a foot wrong in this regard, playing 2D and 3D Blu-rays without a hitch and delivering an excellent all-round performance. There is slightly more opportunity to add value with the few 1080i discs available and, as we'd expect from LG, the deinterlacing was excellent. The same is true with DVDs and again the BP740 proved to be very capable at deinterlacing and scaling the standard definition discs, giving the older parts of your movie collection a new ease of life. The BP740 was also able to get the best out of the various video streaming services that are on offer, turning the player into an excellent all-round video source.
LG BP740 Video Review
Disc Load TimesThe BP740 is reasonably fast booting up, getting to the home page in 14 seconds. It's only 8 seconds with Quick Start engaged but that does use more energy in standby, so it really depends on how important that extra 6 seconds is. The loading times of discs will vary from studio to studio but it was still very fast with most discs loading in about 20 seconds. When it came to DVDs, the BP740 was equally as fast and regardless of the disc type it was also very quick at navigation.
The BP740 is an excellent digital transport that delivers a flawless audio and video performance.
- Standby: 0.0W (3W in Quick Start Mode)
- Idle: 10W
- Playing: 11W
- Excellent video performance
- Impressive Smart features
- Magic remote is very useful
- Great networking capabilities
- Attractive looks
- No SACD or DVD-A support
- Only one HDMI output
LG BP740 Blu-ray Player ReviewLG's latest flagship Blu-ray player, the BP740 is a wonderful example of how much the format has evolved over the last few years. The BP740 sports an attractive two tone finish, with a minimalist chassis design that includes a few basic controls, a simple display and a disc tray behind a drop down flap. The build-quality is reasonable, although the construction is a bit plastic-heavy and the player could do with more weight. However, it is fast and responsive when playing discs and the mechanism is suitably quiet, whilst the power consumption is very low.
The BP740 is a digital transport and, as such, there is only a single HDMI output, an optical digital output and an Ethernet port. However, there is also built-in WiFi, along with support for WiFi Direct and Miracast. The BP740 includes a magic remote, which proved to be excellent and very useful for navigating the smart platform or playing discs. The LG includes support for 3D Blu-ray and has excellent video processing, although it's debatable how useful the 4K upscaling will be. In terms of other features, the smart platform is excellent, with plenty of useful apps, and the networking is equally as good, with a decent level of file support.
When it came to audio and video playback, the BP740 didn't put a foot wrong, delivering a flawless performance. The 2D and 3D Blu-rays looked exactly how they should, whilst the deinterlacing and scaling was able to breathe new life into older standard definition discs. The audio performance was just as good, delivering the digital source to our AV receiver without any issues. There's no denying that the LG BP740 will get the best from Blu-ray collection but it manages to add so much more at the same time. If you haven't taken the plunge into Blu-ray yet, isn't it about time you made the most of your high definition TV?
Ease Of Use9
Value For Money8
Our Review Ethos
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