Going to a cinema to watch the latest movies in 3D can be a breathtaking experience if you are interested with the movie. But if you want to enjoy the 3D experience at home, you have to shell out some extra cash to replace your HDTV with a display with 3D support. Fortunately, many TV manufacturers including LG are trying to bring 3D technologies to their more affordable models so ordinary consumers can experience the real thrills of 3D visuals. However, the programs and movies that you see on your cable network do not support 3D. Your TV may have a feature that can convert 2D to 3D but the results can vary. In order to get the cinema-like experience, you have to invest in a 3D Blu-ray player and buy 3D Blu-ray titles. That sounds like a lot of money to spend but it is a future-proof investment since 3D is becoming more mainstream as more movies and games are released. LG also wants to make the transition easy by offering the LG BP520 at a pretty affordable price.
Simple and elegant are the best words to describe the BP520. This Blu-ray player is about 1.6 inches thick with a smooth black finish so it should look great if you place it in front of or next to a large HDTV. In fact, the LG BP520 looks exactly like the cheaper 2012 LG Blu-ray models. All of the front components and connections are hidden until you turn on and use the Blu-ray player. The remote control is fairly easy to learn and already has a pair of AAA batteries so it is ready to go when you want to enjoy some content. Like other Blu-ray players, you can press the eject button on the top right of the player to see the tray. If you want to plug in a USB storage device instead, you have to pull the tab on the right side of the player and plug it right in.
When hooked up to a 3D HDTV, the LG BP520 performs as advertised with decent 1080p visuals. Even if you do not have an LG-branded display, the BP520 should work with any display with 3D features. It is also capable of reading other Blu-ray formats including BD-ROM, BD-R and BD-RE. Blu-ray movies with added bonus features can be accessed by the player as well so you can make good use of any included extras. If the Blu-ray is burned as a data disc, the format can still be read as long as there are MPEG2, MPEG4, MKV, AVCHD, M4V, WMV, FLV, 3GP and/or VOB video files present. The standard audio and image formats are supported too. On the audio side, DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus are supported, allowing 7.1-channel speaker configurations to be utilized.
The LG BP520 functions as a fully featured DVD player so you can actually sell your old DVD player if you have plans to replace it with a BP520. The LG BP520 can even serve as a superior DVD player replacement because it improves the image quality of DVD titles in general. Provided you have a 1080p display, you can let the upscaling feature make the video utilize every pixel on the display.
Like the slightly cheaper LG BP320, the LG BP520 can provide a smart TV interface to any display. While you cannot take advantage of the 3D features, the LG Smart TV experience is a great place to explore if you find yourself bored with the programs on TV. All you have to do is bring up the Blu-ray player’s home screen and go to ìPremiumî so you can find all of the available services that the BP520 works with. Popular audio and video streaming services like Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Vudu can be accessed as long as there is Internet although Amazon Instant Video is absent. There are also a few useful non-streaming services like Picasa Web Albums and AccuWeather. LG has its own applications in the “LG Apps” section in case you want to play some basic games or view other interactive content. Although you cannot install your own custom applications, LG plans on releasing new firmware updates to add support for current apps or add new ones. LG’s flagship LG BP620 model actually has these same features but the LG BP520 only depends on the Ethernet port for connectivity. If you want to connect to a distant wireless router in the house, you need to buy a separate adapter at LGís website.
The only wireless connectivity trick that the LG BP520 has is the SimpLink feature which works with other LG TVs that have this feature. After connecting the BP520 to the LG display using your HDMI cable, you only need to use one remote control to manage the TV and Blu-ray player.
Finding out which LG Blu-ray player to buy takes a little bit of thought. But if you want the most affordable way enjoy Blu-ray 3D content, the LG BP520 is a very competitive choice. A good technique would be to buy an Ethernet cable long enough to connect your router to your TV if you really cannot reposition the router or TV. If you manage to do that without getting the cable in the way, you just saved about $20. The LG BP520 only costs about $130 which is quite surprising considering the 3D and Internet functions. This goes to show that Blu-ray is finally becoming a format that everyone can respect. Even if you do not need all of the features, the LG BP520 can be viewed as a cheap 3D Blu-ray player or a cheap HDTV Internet attachment. It bridges the gap between the LG BP620 and BP320 quite nicely. When buying this player, make sure that there is a 3D logo on the front. Then ask which one lacks the wireless features so you know are getting the cheapest 3D Blu-ray player of LG’s lineup.
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