LG DVS450H 'floating' DVD player
Cool looks, cool playback
Review At first glance, you might be forgiven for thinking that the heavily polished DVS450H is a victory of style over substance. But not a bit of it. This player has looks and brains, and has enough surprises up its sleeve to genuinely impress.
LG's DVS450H: 'It's a floater alright...'
OK, let's get one thing straight from the start. This DVD player doesn't actually float. Put it in the bath or the local duck pond and it will plunge to the bottom the same as any other piece of consumer electronics. The 'floating' claim refers to the fact that the unit’s design means the player can be mounted on the wall with the supplied bracket, which actually comes in pretty handy if you are into the whole hanging your TV on the wall thing.
Even if you're not, it provides a way to get the unit up and out of the way. The other placing option is to use the fold-out circular foot built into the base of the unit. Our only (slight) gripe here is that the unit is 430mm high and might be too high to fit easily on the shelf of some AV furniture.
LG has gone to great lengths with the appearance and form-factor of this unit and on the whole it has got it right. The now familiar LG black with pearl colored buttons combines with the unusual upright style well, which is different enough to provide and intriguing alternative without being too outlandish to not be user friendly. In fact, a few years back, LG had a wall-mountable projector that used the same basic design as this DVD player.
Designed for wall hanging
One slight snag with a vertical deck is that it can be a little difficult to get the hang of putting a DVD into the player without getting your fingers all over the surface of the disc or even dropping it.
For £130 this machine actually has quite a lot of functionality. Progressive Scan, DivX HD playback, DVD upscaling to 1080P, CD-R/RW support, and a USB input into which you can hook digital cameras and MP3 players for MP3, WMA and JPEG playback are all included.
This machine really delivers when it come to DVD usage. The unit isn't the quietest ever. When you're jumping around the sections of a disc, there's a definite whirring noise, but the machine makes up for this by being very quiet in playback.
There's a built-in stand if you don't want to hang it on your wall
We decided to really give the unit something to get its teeth into by loading up Iron Man with its fast-paced action and sumptuous production values. Spinning up a disc in the first place is quick, and jumping from one scene to another is more or less instantaneous, as is calling up the main disc menu. The machine's processor can select the best format to suit the screen you are using, from 576i - regular interlaced DVD definition - all the way up to 1080p full HD.
All-round picture quality is good, driven along by the machine’s Progressive Scan technology, delivering natural looking colour and flesh tones. The unit handled the Iron Man action scenes accurately with really smooth image transition and the right amount of depth for the slower paced narrative and character scenes. Gwyneth Paltrow hasn't looked this good in years.
Picture freeze and fast-forwarding within a scene are both of good quality, with fast response times and little loss in terms of image quality. There are other features, like choosing camera angles and expanding a selected area of the playback by up to 400 per cent, but these are mild amusements only and don't really add too much to the proceedings.
We tried something a little slower paced in the form of the comedy Knocked Up, and the machine still did well, giving a pleasingly realistic stage for the action to unfold. Although there are some scenes in this movie, like the birth sequence, when a really clear picture isn't as welcome as you might assume.
A really decent DVD player then, but the unit also has the ability to play DivX HD content downloaded from the internet. DviX movies can then be played back from a DVD, or external hard drive connected to the player’s USB port.
Placing a horizontal DVD is easy - but it's harder when the player's vertical
All these functions can be accessed quickly and easily from the slick and snappy on-screen GUI. The unit it itself has basic touch-sensitive playback controls on the front of the unit, and these work well enough. However, access to the whole set of features is only available from the remote, which although small, is well laid out, with each button sensibly labeled.
Other useful attributes include and auto power off if the machine is idle for a short time and a parental lock feature. Connectivity is pretty well catered for - video out options include HDMI, component- and composite-video, and there are also audio out L/R options.
In the end, this machine isn't just a good DVD player, but quite a nice little media hub too. As such, £130 isn't unreasonable, even in an era of Tesco-sold £20 DVD players. Everything the LG does, it does well, and you can find the function you want with minimum fuss from the front of the machine or the remote, making it a doddle to use. It generates a great looking picture, and it's not bad looking itself.