Covers most bases
BBC iPlayer performance sluggish
App store underwhelming
Touchpad control isn't perfect
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The LG ST600 Smart TV upgrader is a little black box that functions as a means of enjoying the multimedia functionality offered by LG's current 'Smart TV' Connected TV platform on any TV with an HDMI.
Its compact (11cm x 11cm) minimal stylings should fit in nicely with most black TVs. It has no onboard storage, instead it gives you a USB port on the right-hand side (next to a 'Reset' button) in which to connect drives of your own on top of DLNA networking functionality.
At the rear sits an HDMI, an optical S/PDIF with AC3 support, and an Ethernet port.
A small but serviceable 'Magic' remote control is well laid out with buttons catering for most key functions and doubles up as a touchpad for mouse-style control of the included web browser, though this is not quite as responsive as we'd like.
If you have an iPod Touch/iPhone or Android phone you can download a free LG Remote app that includes a QWERTY keyboard from the relevant online 'stores'.
The metallic-look hi-res menus falter occasionally in their use of English, but have a clean Apple-like finish to them as well as being sensibly organised. Adding to the slickness is the fact that artwork for any files you have is pulled from the web where available.
Wi-Fi is built in, so need to shell out extra for a dongle and getting it working with our Virgin-issued wireless-n Netgear router was simply a matter of holding in the latter's WPS button and selecting 'Dynamic IP' in the options.
The ST600 will play a healthy range of media formats with slideshows for photos and four levels of speed offered for video navigation. It handled most in our library with the exception of one MKV HD video clip, though picture performance was better via Ethernet than streamed wirelessly.
VoD offerings comprise YouTube, BBC iPlayer and rentable movies from Acetrax and you can browse photos on Picasa and listen to internet radio via Vtuner. While it benefits from HD streaming and the big-screen interface, iPlayer video proved slow to load and navigate on our test sample.
In addition, an LG app store promises games, entertainment and news but very few 'freebies' are included (Facebook and Twitter are surprisingly absent). You also get a selection of games from Accedo.
Gripes aside, the ST600 is one of the better value products of its type, and manages to make armchair web browsing less of a chore than on similar products
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