LG BD390 Blu-Ray player with Wi-Fi

Jan 10, 2010

I was watching this Blu-Ray player for a few months and after having compared the features and prices with other Samsung and Sony players, it ended up as the logical choice. It took less thant a week to arrive from a German eBay shop that beats my usual providers (Amazon, Komplett, Pixmania) in terms of price and stock availability.

The installation was surprisingly easy and quick: after about 15 minutes, the unit was Network-connected, Region-hacked, and Firmware-updated ! Never mind the user manual was only in German (I downloaded the EN version from lge.com), it was really not necessary!

Network connection: My wireless router Billion Bipack 7402GXL was detected and I could even use its WPS (Wi-Fi protected Setup) function for the first time. In the Wireless setup, the LG BD390 offers a "Push Button" option, which starts a timer of 120 seconds during which I just need to press the WPS button on my router to have all the network information exchanged, saving me from entering manually the encryption type and key. That's all I needed to have the unit connected to the Internet. Repeating the operation later, I've found that it sometimes needs up to 3 retries to have the "Wireless Dynamic IP" setup successfully. Maybe a wireless range issue?

Region Hack: I downloaded the necessary file from multi-region.net and burned the RMTM0000 folder contained in the 6000.iso file.
Two things to consider regarding this hack:
- it is reported to work only on European models for some reason (to verify).
- it may not run if you already updated your firmware to the latest version.  LG Support Web Site keep a few versions back if needed.

The good thing is that the change is persistent, so upgrading the fw afterwards will not affect the hack.

Upon loading the CD containing the hack, a region selection appears where you just need to select the region you want with the up and down keys on the remote (0 for Region Free).

Firmware Update: the BD390 came with a the firmware version 8.08.360.B. I took the time before updating to look around the functions and browsing through the menu. I noticed it was sometimes sluggish, and occasionally even froze (trying to access a .TS file from the local network). If there was a Java console, I bet it would show an endless list of UnhandledExceptions scrolling. A 5 second push on the power button (like on most PC's) was necessary to force the unit to power off.
I had the firmware 8.08.529.B ready on a USB drive, but despite that, the player detected the update on the Internet and offered only this way to update. I found out after that, because I plugged in the USB drive before powering on, the DB390 didn't detect it at boot time. Un-plugging and re-plugging solved the problem.
The update operation took about 5 minutes and ended with the player powering off (not restarting). Upon powering it on again, I verified that the upgrade was in place and noticed that the operations were a bit smoother in general, and the unit generally more stable, even though some glitches are still present.

That's it, the player was set up, with a short review to adapt the display settings so it would work well with my almost-HD television (HD-Ready Samsung LE32R51B)

First use:

I won't give a full technical review, there are many good ones available already, but just my impressions during the first hour of use.

The HOME menu is called by pressing the Home button on the remote and offers 6 different sections:

Movie: that's were the local medias can be played: Movie/Audio disc or USB drive
I played a Divx movie from the USB drive and it loaded instantly, which differs greatly from the almost 2 minutes load time that my SilverCrest DVD reader from Lidl always needed, obviously to fill its buffer. Does it mean that the LG uses faster memory or... doesn't bufferize anything ?
Loading the Blu-Ray version of Ice Age 3 took between 20 seconds to 1 minutes depending...I don't know what! Loading DVD was always faster. I found the unit very silent, particularly after having recently seen a Samsung player in action.
Photo: will scan local medias for pictures

Music: will scan local medias for playable music.

My Media: That's the place I was looking forward to play with. All the uPNP/DLNA hosts show up here: it found my mobile phone Sony Ericsson G705Synology DS109 and computers (XP SP3 and Seven).
Re-scanning the network will never give twice the same result, so several attempts may be needed to get the full list.

Listing the media content can be randomly fast or sluggish even with the latest firmware.

The sluggishness of the unit is partially due to the remote and using a Logitech Harmony instead gives a much better response, but in addition, the system also sometimes stops responding for several seconds for no apparent reason.

The default view is not the best and pressing the Display button on the remote brings a more convenient "zoomed-out" view of the files list.
Inside My Media section, the content is again separated into three distinct kind of content: Movie, Photo and Music.

My Media > Movie: Wi-Fi 802.11n is especially welcome for playing video content, however my wireless router is still 802.11g.
This, combined to the occasional traffic from the Wii, the IP Cameras, and the weak signal caused by the distance from the router, resulted in occasional choppy Divx playback from my Synology NAS. This could be improved  by a proper buffering, but the LG BD390 doesn't seem to do any.

My Media > Photos: I found a bug in this part: the rendering of pictures from my NAS was awfull, as if a mosaic effect had been applied to them. Same from my phone. The same pictures read from a USB drive would show fine. (update: this turned out to be a Synology bug resolved from DSM 2.3-1143)

My Media > Music: the mp3's were played smoothly with no surprise. I just regret that it is such a basic music player, a shuffle function would have been nice.

YouTube: The YouTube browser.
Well, yes it plays videos from YouTube all right. I just don't see myself  spending evenings browsing YouTube videos on the telly, so I won't go there very often.

Setup: also speaks for itself.

In conclusion, some polishing is still needed to make this unit a fully satisfying player, but the potential is really there. Let's see if LG can make some difference here...

- very simple to setup
- great set of features
- support many formats
- silent BD/DVD playback

Cons: (with fw 8.08.529.B)
- the player is randomly sluggish
- occasional crashes (not too often)

Cheapest (€223.-) found on eBay by  ITSS-DAMM.

Region hack: multi-region.net

Complete review: see audioholics.com

Support Web Site: www.lge.com

1 comment:

  1. A note on LG support web site (for Ireland):

    once you'll have spent your time registering an account, your product and sending an email with your detailed question, you'll receive the email below basically telling you that all this was useless and you must call them instead! WHAT A JOKE!

    -----------Reply to Customer Enquiry------------
    Thank you for your email.

    We are very sorry to hear of your experiences with regards to an LG BD390 Bluray player.

    We would advise that you contact the customer helpdesk on the number below with the unit’s model and serial number to hand.

    One of our agents will then be able to talk you through this, trouble shooting resolutions and implement any appropriate actions.

    Best regards,
    LG Electronics UK Helpdesk
    LG Customer Services
    UK: 0844 847 1400 Ireland: 0818 27 6954
    Mon-Fri 9am to 8pm Sat 9am-6pm