The BD690 arrived today from Amazon, so I've spent the last several hours getting acquainted. The BD690 is replacing a BD390, which stopped recognizing discs recently, so I've been anxiously awaiting the 690.
Feature-wise, I believe the BD690 is virtually the same as the 670, with the addition of the 250Gb HD and Gracenote. Vampidemic posted some fantastic details on the features and 670, so I'll just add a few things that I noted.
After powerup and a few minutes exploring, I upgraded firmware with no issue. The 690 is on a wired connection, and I did turn off the Auto Power Off so that didn't interfere.
Original: SW Version: BD.7.62.158.E
New: SW Version: BD.8.62.211.E
The new interface is fine, and better than the ice cubes of the 590 (one reason I didn't buy it). When browsing movie/music/photo files, I don't care for the 3 file views. I'd like to have a pure list/details view. The most verbose view on the 690 still cuts off the longer names of many films. I do like that cover art for mp3s with embedded art displays on the file icons. No art is on the artist folders though.
The 690 sees .m4v files on my Mac CIFS/SMB file share - the 390 didn't. That's good so I don't have to switch filenames depending on the device - BD690 or AppleTV via iTunes. I rip and/or convert most of my files using Handbrake to h.264/AAC in mp4s, so it's good news the LG now sees both formats without issue.
I tried playing one 1080p file "Sita Sings the Blues" (Creative Commons licensed) but it will not play on the BD690. The warning/error message says "Video resolution not supported". The BD690 is wired to the network, not wireless, so it's not a bandwidth issue. Obviously it wouldn't seem to be a technical restriction on a Blu Ray player, possibly a licensing restriction (who?), but it seems odd for LG to prevent streaming 1080p content locally. I didn't try moving the file to the HDD to see if that matters.
I also have MediaLink DLNA server running on my Mac, along with an an expired Twonky server. Each displays with their icon in the Movie, Music and Photo folders. I couldn't connect via Medialink, though. The error is just "A network error occurred." It's a DLNA server primarily aimed at the PS3, but it worked with the 390. For now, I only really care about CIFS/SMB support in the LGs.
The Premium menu itself is a little slow to load, and the street cityscape isn't what I would choose.
Netflix: activated and played fine. Search is included. No disc queue management features. HD indicator not on title line, only in full details; also in search. I haven't kept up with the variety of Netflix GUIs so can't say specifically which one this is.
Pandora: logged onto account, decent interface, better than my Denon 3311CI.
Vudu: You get a free HD rental for your email address and activation. The speed test ended 4Mbps (wired) which is only HD/720p quality. I have 16Mbps service from Comcast so expected better results.
DIVXTV is better than I expected, but the videos (tried Revision 3 and CNET) wouldn't load. Kept getting a skip or wait message.
Viewster has a few (85) mostly indie horror films, none I know.
Amazon VOD is the one app I'm hoping is in the March 25th mystery update.
After localizing Accuview weather app, the Premium background changes to reflect current day/night time and shows the local city and temp above the icon menu. It does this after displaying the app icons, so that doesn't seem to add to the Premium menu lag.
Gracenote works well on physical BD and provides decent title, synopsis and actors. It doesn't seem to work on any streaming video. I haven't ripped CD directly on BD690 yet. It did retrieve disc, artist and buying info from my well tagged library of mp3s. Pressing the "Buy Info" button just says "Available from online store". I'd like to understand what metadata is used to query Gracenote, and if possible, I'd tag my video files to get the Gracenote info.
The HDD seems somewhat redundant with streaming capabilities, but it might eliminate some network challenges and serve as a media backup. I changed the device name to LGBD690 and turned on media file sharing in the network menu. The BD690's drive now appears on my network, making it very easy to create folders and copy/move files directly from a computer. I've only copied 2 large files to the HD so far, one using 802.11n and the other wired, both at decent speeds (5-6MB/sec via wifi, not wifi direct, and a pretty consistent 7.2MB/sec wired). When I copied the .mp4 from my Mac using finder, it deposited both the .mp4 video file and a normally hidden "._" prefixed file on the BD690 (but not displayed in finder). I deleted the hidden file from the BD 690 interface and everything's fine. There was no added hidden file when I copied another file so I'm not sure when to expect these hidden files.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the functionality of the 690. Amazon VOD had better show up in the update, though!