The 2011 flagship Blu-ray DVD Player for LG is the BD690. It is very similar to last years highly successful and award-winning BD590 model. The fundamentals and features are the same. For example, the BD690 has an internal hard drive of 250GB, for storing music, photos and videos(personal/non-copyrighted). Other features include DLNA support, built-in Wi-Fi and online streaming services. One big change from the 2010 model, is that the BD690 has the ability to playback 3D blu-ray discs.
The LG BD690 sports a sleek modern design, with a drop down front panel revealing the control functions. The design gives the player a cleaner, more efficient look. The front panel contains the disc loading tray, Play/Pause buttons, display screen and a USB Port. Of course, the front panel will need to be down when a USB device is being used.
VIDEO QUALITY: The BD690 is capably of providing pictures at Full HD 1080p video resolution on both 2D and 3D blu-ray discs via the HDMI connection. Standard DVDs will be up-converted to near HD levels as well. Other video connections include Composite Video(480i resolution) and Component Video (up to 1080i). If you are going to be using the Component Video outputs, be aware that 2011 blu-ray discs will be restricted from displaying high-definition images via this connection.
AUDIO QUALITY: The BD690 supports all the latest high-resolution audio formats. There are Digital Audio Outputs (Optical, Coaxial), Analog Audio Outputs (L,R) and of course the HDMI output. The HDMI connection will give you up to 7.1 channels of lossless surround sound. And can support both Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, for clear, more realistic sound. The LG BD690 has a Digital/Analog Conversion rate of 192KHz/24bit.
One of the great new features of the 2011 LG line-up is its SmatTV feature, replacing the old NetCast Entertainment suite. Smart TV still provides many online streaming services such as Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, YouTube, Pandora and has added new services like Hulu Plus, Amazon VOD, NBA Game Live, MLB.TV and NHL GameCenter. LG has also equipped Smart TV with its very own applications store. This will allow you to download new apps. Like the free iPhone/Andriod app, which will let you control your player and input text commands from the phone’s keyboard.
Other great features that make-up the BD690 include Built-in Wi-Fi, DLNA capability (streaming videos and music from your PC), Simplink connectivity (using one remote to control all HDMI LG devices), Express Reaction Start-up, ripping CDs, USB 2.0 Media Host, Music and Video ID and it is the first player to be certified Wi-Fi- Direct. Meaning it can send and receive data from other Wi-Fi capable devices.
THE PROS:The BD690 Blu-ray DVD Player is LG’s flagship model for 2011. Unlike last years model, the BD590, this one is 3D capable. It still comes equipped with the 250 GB Hard Drive for storing data and ripping CDs. While providing excellent image and sound quality, the player’s other features include Smart TV Access (Netflix,Vudu), built-in Wi-Fi, Gracenote’s MusicID® and VideoID™, DLNA Certified and Express Reaction Startup. As if these great features were not enough, The BD690 is the first player to be on the Wi-Fi Direct certification list.
THE CONS:The LG BD690 is only equipped with 2.0 channel analog audio outputs. This is not great for those who still own a non-HDMI Audio/Video receiver. The price tag for the BD690 is $350.00, this may be a little more than consumers want to spend for a player. These consumers may want to check out LG’s BD670 model. This is a very similar model, minus the Hard Drive but at a very cheaper price.
THE FINAL WORD:The LG BD690 blu-ray player will probably end up on many experts and consumers “best list” for 2011. And rightly so. The BD690 offers an outstanding array of features including a 250 GB Hard Drive that is extremely rare in a Blu-ray DVD Player. The high cost may make consumers a little weary, but for those who purchase the BD690 they should not be disappointed. The LG BD690 is equipped with all the latest features (online streaming, DLNA,Wi-Fi, fast boot time) and much more. Providing excellent 3D and standard blu-ray playback. — Price you should look for when purchasing — Under $350.00