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LG UP970 Disappointment

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OPPO spoiled me.

I have an OPPO BDP-80 that has served me faithfully for around eight years. It was an "I'm getting a divorce and am going to spend more money than I should on myself" purchase. I remember when it arrived, it was one of the few times when unboxing a new piece of equipment felt like something special. The weight of the player, the excellent remote, the incredible amount of menu settings, etc. all added up to a wonderful hardware experience.

Although it still works wonderfully most of the time, I came into some unexpected funds and decided it was time to update my home theater equipment. I didn't have a gazillion dollars and I have an understanding (but not without limits) wife. I knew that I was going to be getting a new 4K TV, a new receiver to replace my Pioneer VSK-1123 (which I truly loved, but which recently developed a tendency to cut out my center channel), and a UHD Blu-ray player.

I splurged on the TV and spent far more than I normally would be able to on an LG OLED55C7P and also bought an Onkyo TX-NR676 receiver because of its ample number of legacy inputs that are quickly disappearing from many receivers. That left the UHD Blu-ray player. I just couldn't justify spending the money on an OPPO this time, since I was getting so much in one go. I had to try and decide on something more reasonable that would also be able to handle Dolby Vision content. Since I had the LG TV and had read nothing but raves about it, I thought that maybe their players would be decent, too. I picked up a UP970.

It's so disappointing in every way.

First of all the remote isn't great. It's really limited and feels like it would break if I looked at it the right way. There's no display on the front panel, which is something I've gotten used to over the years. The onscreen UI reminds me of a dirt-cheap, off-brand, Chinese DVD player I bought years ago at Walmart because I could make it region-free with a code. It's so ugly. Besides the cosmetic deficiencies, there are also very few options available in the menu settings. When I think of being stuck with it for years after having my OPPO, it makes me sad.

All of the things I mentioned above might be okay if it hadn't already displayed a "quirk." I bought two UHD discs last night, Blade Runner and The Dark Knight. I popped in TDK first and it played fine, loaded quickly, and looked pretty darned great. After a few minutes, I switched it out for Blade Runner. No sound. I couldn't figure out why. I checked the settings on the player and on the receiver and everything looked as I thought it should. I ended up having to cycle the power on the player and reload the disc to make the sound work. I'm sure it had something to do with the communication between the player and receiver, but it was just the poo-icing on the cake.

All-in-all, I can only recommend the player to someone who absolutely has to have Dolby Vision right now and has limited funds. If you can afford better, it's worth the extra money to look elsewhere.

 


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