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This past Christmas, I decided to buy my husband a Blu Ray player. Not that he's really into Blu Rays over DVDs but I know that he really wanted the Star Wars box set on Blu Ray. After quite a lot of looking online, I went with the LG BP125 model which was £49.99 at the time of purchase. I had no experience whatsoever with Blu Ray discs or players so I really didn't know what I was looking for when I bought this. However, it seemed to get good reviews and it was a good price.
== What comes in the box ==
The player comes in a standard box for this kind of product with the actual unit cased in polystyrene so it doesn't move about. Inside the box was the unit, AC adaptor, small remote control and a very basic instructions manual. I say manual but really this is a fold out piece of paper which doesn't give the largest amount of information. When folded up the paper is A5 sized while it is A2 sized when unfolded. It is printed on both sides but tells the buyer to go to the LG website to download the full owner's manual. I think it is a bit cheap to not include the full manual as it means either printing it out or saving it to a computer if you wanted it.
Another thing that is quite frustrating is that you don't get everything you need to use this Blu Ray player straight away. The player does not come with a HDMI cable which is necessary for using it. Without it, you have a box you cannot use. Luckily, you do get one AAA battery with the player which is for the remote control. The control is small with plenty of buttons but luckily they are all spaced out quite well and so far, I have never had a problem with pushing the wrong one. They are also clearly marked so you can see what you are pressing.
The player itself is quite a bit smaller than I had expected it to be and at 19.8 x 27 x 3.9 cm, it is a fair bit smaller than your average DVD player. It is also extremely light and weighs 1.6 Kg. The player is easy to move about should you want to change where it is or what room it is being used in and it is also easy to pick up when you want to clean around and underneath it. The player is made from black plastic but it seems to be quite robust. As it is light, it can easily be placed on top of other devices such as DVD players or modem etc, without it being too heavy to sit on top.
== Initial set up ==
Firstly, lets assume that you have a HDMI cable already when you go to set up the BP125. Pretty much, you plug in the player and connect the right ends of the HDMI cable to the right places. One end in the HDMI out port in the back of the player and one end in the HDMI in port in your television. After turning the player on, you are required to set the language. This is explained on the instructions leaflet and it tells you which buttons you'll need to press on your remote. It is all extremely simple. After that, you're ready to watch whatever you like.
== Using the player ==
The player either turns on by a button on the remote control or on the unit itself. The unit only has two buttons (on/ off and eject) so it would be very hard to be confused as to which one to push. Next to the on/ off button on the unit is the eject button so pressing one then the other will turn the unit on and open the disc tray ready for you to pop in a disc. The disc opens nearly silently and in a really smooth motion. I have accidentally pressed the button on the remote a couple of times and not noticed the tray was open until I looked at it.
Once you have a disc in the player, you can choose the movie option from the main menu and it will play straight away. The BP125 does also have other features though and you are able to do much more than play Blu Ray and DVD discs. The front of the player has a USB port and you can connect external hard drives and memory sticks. If you want to use either of these, you choose the USB option from the main menu instead of movie. The player supports DivX so you are able to watch movies downloaded from the internet or bought from iTunes etc. You can also play music stored on a hard drive or see photos you have taken on your big screen. This was partly why I chose this model compared to others as I have loads stored on an external hard drive and I wanted to be able to watch them on the television.
Blu Ray and HD are supposed to give a crisper, more defined picture than regular television or DVDs. I have to say that I was certainly impressed with the quality of everything with this Blu Ray player. Films and television programs were much better quality than if we had watched them on cable or through a DVD player. I didn't really think that a Blu Ray player would make such a difference but it really has. I couldn't believe the difference in quality. But, there is a reason why DVDs are £10 and Blu Ray players aren't.
Now comes the problems. We bought quite an expensive HDMI cable as I didn't want anything to go wrong. Whenever we play anything on this player, whether it be a DVD, Blu Ray or file on external hard drive, it skips to blue screens. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't but most of the time it does. It can be in intervals of every couple of minutes or every couple of seconds. Obviously, this seriously interrupts our viewing and is an absolute pain. We initially thought maybe it was a problem with the HDMI cable after doing a bit of research online so we bought another one. The skipping kept on happening. After multiple emails to LG, we still have no idea why the skipping happens. We have gotten through a couple of things without it skipping to the blue screen once but I think that was just a fluke. Now, we have to get someone from LG to pick up our BP125 and take it away to hopefully repair whatever might be wrong with it.
== Overall ==
While I like the actual BP125, the playback is absolutely terrible for the price we paid. As I said, we have barely been able to get through watching anything without it skipping to the dreaded blue screen. Nothing we have done, or that LG have suggested have fixed the problem so I hope we just got a dud unit and this isn't the case with more of them!
During the time of the plain old video recorder I felt that I was well informed of the electronics available at that time, as they were easy to understand for a non technical person like me. However, technology has advanced at an alarming rate and I feel totally overwhelmed by the products on offer. My husband and I jumped on the band wagon with a DVD recorder and various DVD players, but we vowed we would not be drawn into purchasing a Blu-Ray player especially as the discs were so expensive when comparing with DVDs.
However, after managing quite well without the delights of blu-ray, a couple of months ago my husband declared that we needed to enhance the quality of our viewing despite the fact that I was more than happy with the crisp images offered by our flat screen television.
My husband has a frustrating habit of jumping straight in and purchasing whatever catches his eye as opposed to carefully researching new purchases, so I took the liberty of carrying out the appropriate research. As my numerous attempts to persuade him that we didn't need a blu ray fell on deaf ears I suggested LG's Blu-ray Disc/DVD Player, model number BP125, which is region 2. Consequently, our purchase was made with this review discussing my thoughts.
What is Blu Ray?
This was my burning question, as whilst I had heard that it offered an improved picture when making a comparison with your traditional DVD player, I have to admit that I didn't have a clue. Following my research I discovered that it is the name of a new optical disc format, which was developed by the Blu-Ray Disc Association. I learned that all the big brand names such as Sony, Samsung, LG and Apple are members. In addition to being able to hold a considerably larger capacity than a traditional DVD disc, the use of advanced video offers a far superior high definition experience.
I was totally unaware that DVD players and recorders rely on a red laser with blu ray using a blue violet laser. Another question I had whilst carrying out my research was whether our current DVDs would play on a blu ray player, as I had no intention of replacing them especially as we've built up quite a large collection over the years. Thankfully, the answer to this question was yes, as the LG blu ray player promises to enhance the viewing experience and breathe new life into DVDs.
I must admit that this is our first LG purchase, but the brand frequently scores top marks in many surveys and their products seem to be very affordable. In addition, I learned that the brand is currently listed in Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics.
What do you receive for your money?
I was pleasantly surprised when we received our purchase, which I ordered online, as despite my research, I didn't even consider looking at the product size, as I presumed it would be similar to that of a standard DVD player. I couldn't have been more wrong, as its size is half that of our DVD player with its measurements of approximately 27 cm in length, 3.9 cm in depth and 19.8 cm in width. In addition, it is extremely lightweight at just 0.95 kg, so I find it easy to lift to dust underneath although my husband wouldn't have a clue about regularly moving it as he prefers to wipe around it on those very few occasions that he decides to pick up a duster!
The Blu-ray player has been constructed from a sturdy black coloured plastic and its appearance can be described as modern and sleek. I was a little concerned about it being situated on top of our other electrical gadgets, ie DVD recorder, DVD player and Sky box, as one area of our living room is beginning to give the appearance of an electronics factory. However, due to its small size it is unobtrusive and blends in well.
The remote control operates by a single AAA battery, which was included and with its measurements of 4½ cm x 15 cm it is far smaller than I had anticipated although it houses a considerable number of plain grey buttons together with various coloured buttons. Whilst some of the buttons can be described as being fairly small, they are well spaced out, so I do not experience any issues with knocking the wrong buttons although this possibly could be a problem for those consumers who have large fingers. Whilst there is a "simple manual" as described by LG, which is basically a double sided sheet of A2 paper, which is folded into A5 size, the consumer is directed to the internet to download the owner's manual.
I find this frustrating as when I make a purchase I expect it to be accompanied with all of the information that I need although this seems to be a common practise these days with many electrical purchases. This would also prove to be a real downside for those consumers who do not have internet access. The final item accompanying the player is an AC adaptor and I would advise that an HDMI cable is required although this is not provided.
Setting up the player
Setting up the blu ray was extremely easy and for a non-technical person such as myself, I would describe it as idiot proof. Whilst the directions for set up are included in the rather vague manual, they are displayed by way of a few diagrams with only a small amount of text such as images showing the "HDMI Out" and "HDMI In". The next stage is setting the language to English, which is displayed on the television screen and set by using the appropriate buttons on the remote control. Fortunately, the leaflet displays the required buttons in red, which are also identified on the remote control in the same colour, so I was easily able to follow the simple instructions.
Using the blu ray player
This process is self-explanatory although identical to that of the set up procedure, the manual displays images together with directions, which are identified in red with the corresponding buttons on the remote control also being displayed in red. The disc drawer is easily opened and closed and is almost silent in operation. I was really intrigued to witness the picture quality offered by blu ray and I cannot say that I was in the least bit disappointed. Whilst our HD flat screen television normally offers imagines that I would describe as crisp and of a high quality, watching in blu ray was a totally new experience for me. The images are far more defined with an improved level of clarity and offer more detail when comparing with a traditional DVD player.
It was when I was researching blu ray players that I learned that this particular model has a USB port and supports JPEG image file formats, so we are able to view our extensive collection of digital photographs on a large screen as opposed to our laptops. As a result, we are able to look at them in a higher level of clarity and crispness.
As previously stated, I am no technical expert, so have copied the following information directly from the outer box:- DivX certified to play DivX video up to HD 1080p including premium content, external HDD playback and MKV playback. Whilst this isn't a feature we will ever use, the player offers a parental control, which will no doubt be a necessary feature for a large number of consumers. The player offers advanced audio features of Dolby Digital Plus/Dolby TrueHD. The player is not compatible with 3D, which is not an issue for us as we have no desire to upgrade our television to a 3D model.
The player operates from a 12 W power consumption and carries a 12 month guarantee from the date of purchase with LG promising to replace the product free of charge should any components fail within this timescale.
Price and availability
We originally made our purchase from Currys website where we paid £49.99, which I thought was a fantastic price for a blu ray player especially one from such a well known brand. However, when I discovered that Asda were selling the identical player on Black Monday for just £34 I couldn't resist making a further purchase for our bedroom. I have looked online for the best price and at the time of writing you can make a purchase from Currys for £44.99.
I am well impressed with LG's Blu Ray Disc/DVD Player, Model Number BP125, as for the price I feel we are receiving a lot of product for our money. It took me a long time to finally give in to blu ray and I am so glad I did especially as my husband and I prefer to watch films at home rather than pay a fortune visiting the cinema. The only negative is that whilst blu ray discs have drastically reduced in price, they are still more expensive than traditional DVD discs. Consequently, I cannot see me making every new DVD purchase in blu ray unless of course, the price is right. As for rating this blu ray player, I can give nothing less than five stars together with a high recommendation.
I hope you found my review useful and thanks for reading.