LG has struggled to really compete against the big players in the Blu-ray player market, falling short of the five-star honours bestowed on Panasonic, Sony and Pioneer.
To date, LG has offered a good performance, rather than a great one.
The BP740 is the flagship model from LG’s 2014 range, and the first we’ve seen from the company this year too.
It certainly looks the part, with a smart two-tone brushed-silver and gloss-black finish, stylised control buttons, LED display and flip-down cover.
LG’s designers have stuck to a traditional rectangular shape, too, instead of an over-the-top design.
Set-up is straight forward thanks to LG’s intuitive and easy-to-use menu system. Included in the box is one of its Magic Remotes, which offers Wii-like point-and-click functionality, and traditional buttons if you prefer to use your remote that way, instead.
It’s certainly nice to have the option – those with a less steady hand may find the wand frustrating and need some time to get used to it, although we found it makes navigation quicker.
As the player at the top of LG’s range, we hoped for a second HDMI, but just the one should be fine for most set-ups.
Elsewhere, you have an optical out and ethernet port to play with, although there is wi-fi built in and a USB port on the front panel for playing back still images, music and video, with support for most major formats.
DLNA and Miracast are also on board for streaming compatible devices over a home network.
4K upscaling is the headline feature on the BP740, and is a feature we’re seeing more of at this price.
Of course, you’ll only be able to take advantage of if you have a 4K display, and if you do, then you’re likely to use the upscaler in that instead.
Load a disc into the BP740 and it responds quickly to commands and boots fast. First up is a Blu-ray of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which looks gorgeously crisp, with edges well defined and a decent amount of detail.
The colour palette is cool here, which means it keeps a natural handle on colours throughout, although it does lose a bit of punch and excitement in the process.
Audio performance lacks scale and low-end oomph, but midrange performance is strong, meaning voices come across clearly and confidently.
It’s a much more together experience than we heard from LG last year, but the BP740 has lost a bit of punch.
More after the break
This audio character carries across, including with both 3D discs and DVD upscaling.
A run through of Jurassic Park in 3D looks gorgeous, with detail levels remaining high and with a realistic sense of depth. Motion is handled smoothly too, with only the odd case of instability in really busy scenes.
The DVD upscaler in the BP740 is good enough to give old movies a new lease of life, but is not without fault, either. While images are sharp and well-edged with decent amounts of detail, the picture is noticeably noisy.
It’s easily watchable but the noise the upscaler imparts on the picture does take away from its performance somewhat.
When it comes to on-demand content, LG hasn’t dropped the ball, offering most of the big on-demand movie services – Amazon Instant Video, Blinkbox and Netflix, as well as other biggies like BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Spotify too.
This is when LG’s wand remote comes into its own, making it quick and easy to browse content and breeze between menus.
Content loads quickly and without issue – you’ll always get a more stable performance over a wired connection if you can get it, but with wi-fi on board it’s not a necessity.
The Private Sound mode we saw last year returns in this year’s players too, and allows you to transfer the sound from a Blu-ray or DVD to your smartphone or tablet, which you can then plug headphones into.
It might sound like a syncing nightmare waiting to happen, but we find it works well, keeping in time with the movie on screen and keeping those late night movie sessions from disturbing the rest of the house.
The LG BP740 is a well-presented little unit that does a lot of things right and would make a fine addition to your set up at this price.
However, it needs to work on its audio performance and video performance. It’s a big improvement on last year, but there’s still some work to do.