For those of us who were dying to get our hands on a 3D Blu-Ray player around Christmas were both Happy and Excited to see the LG BP325W WiFi 3D Smart Blu-Ray player show up for the Black Friday...
3D Blu-Ray, Smart Functions, Wifi
Extremely Limited Content, Very Limited Connection Options. The 4 apps on the box are the only 4 apps on the player.
For those of us who were dying to get our hands on a 3D Blu-Ray player around Christmas were both Happy and Excited to see the LG BP325W WiFi 3D Smart Blu-Ray player show up for the Black Friday sales. I mean, who wouldn;t be excited about a 3D Blu-Ray with WiFi and Smart Apps in the $60 range. Heck - I spent more than that on Season 1 of Game of Thrones. And call me picky...but I just love to have matching brands for my TV and Blu-Ray to take advantage of HDMI-CEC. So - without thinking too much more on the subject...I added it to the cart and did my part to get Best Buy back into the Black for Black Friday.
Upon initially opening the box...I almost instantly realized that this was considerably different than my previous Blu-Ray player (circa 2009). The Size was absolutely unbelievable. The entire unit is only slightly larger than my 7" Tablet. granted, it's a hair thicker than a tablet...but certainly it was a lot smaller than my older unit. It was also lighter and easier to move around and get into a place in my Entertainment Center. I suspect that it is a little flimsy (and I won;t even contemplate what a fall from a counter height onto a hardwood or tile floor would do to it) but you have to expect this to be the case when your dealing with something in this price range.
Once in place and ready for hookup...a few things start to become apparent. Most notably - I realized that they're was a significant lack of connections. Merely an HDMI out...and a Digital Coax out for audio. Granted...this is a 3D Blu-Ray player and it needs HDMI for 3D Playback...but my previous Blu-Ray at least had Component out connections and analog audio outputs for hook-up to my older TV's and dated home theater system. I wouldn;t exactly call this a negative...since I was already planning on purchasing a new A/V receiver to go with the new 3D TV we had just purchased...but it was certainly a disappointment at first to not be able to hook the unit up to my ancient sound system. I am assuming that manufacturers are in fact phasing out legacy connections...but I'm sure they're is a large sector of the populace that would buy this unit based on price alone...even if they didn;t have a 3D Capable TV...simply to future-proof having to buy another if they ever upgraded to 3D. To any of you out thee in this group...be aware that this unit has only 1 HDMI and 1 Digital Coax output.
So - Once we were past the initial disappointment that our first 3D Blu-Ray would be watched using only the TV's internal speakers...I continued to hook everything up. Of course, the beauty to the HDMI standard is the lack of clutter. No points awarded to LG for this fact...but it's certainly worth mentioning.
Initial boot-up and configuration was fairly straightforward. Having used LG's menu's before on my TV...I was able to breeze through network setup and updates fairly quickly. I was very interested to see what types of apps I would be able to load onto this Smart Player. I already knew from the box that Netflix, Vudu, Picaso, Accuweather and YouTube were available (since those logo's were printed on the box). What I didn;t know...and what took a long email exchange with LG Customer Service to find out...Is that this particular model was designed specifically for Black Friday as a Door Buster Deal. It was designed to have the lowest possible price...and in order to achieve that...they made this particular unit unable to add content from LG Smart World or LG TV Apps. So - in the simplest of language...THE 5 APPS THAT ARE PRINTED ON THE BOX ARE THE ONLY 5 APPS AVAILABLE ON THIS PLAYER. THERE IS NO DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT. YOU WILL NEVER GET NEW APPS.
It was a real kick to the (won't mention here) to learn this. I had just assumed that "Smart" meant that you would have access to all of the apps. I at least thought that I would have access to the same apps my 2012 LG Smart TV had access to. But - unfortunately not.
I went on to watch our 3D Movie (Finding Nemo 3D) with the whole family and we were all thrilled with the picture quality. The 3D processors appear to work flawlessly and combined with our 55LM6200...the experience was (and still is) amazing. I suppose I'm the only one in the family that's disappointed in the BP325w...since I'm the only one who was really looking forward to having a player capable of the same apps that our LG TV already had. I had initially planned on moving the BP325w up to my sons room (even though he doesn;t have a 3D TV, or even one with a HDMI connection) so he could stream apps...it looks like that won;t be possible.
All-in-All...it's a fine unit for purely 3D Blu-Ray or even just regular Blu-Ray watching. Excellent Picture quality, load times and easy to use. The WiFi can be useful for those Discs that have enhanced content available online...but it won;t let you access anything else on the web. The Smart Features may have some use...especially if you are a Netflix user, but for everyone else though...this is one of those players that looks great on paper...but with the limits built-in to it to keep the cost down...I think most interested in the "Smart" aspects of this player are better off spending a bit more and grabbing the BP625 (or other current equivalent).
So - In conclusion...am I happy with the player? Yes. At $60 (Black Friday Prices)...it's hard to complain about a lack of features. However, if more info was available on Black Friday about this player...I probably would have skipped over it and spent twice as much on one that has real Smart capabilities.