Sunday, January 15, 2012

LG Smart TV Upgrader Box ST600 Review

I've been using an LG Smart TV Upgrader ST600 box for a few months and decided to write a review on it. Since there are different programs/features accessible in different countries, my review will be based on the box being used in Canada.

This box upgrades an existing HD television to a "Smart TV" by allowing you to stream video through such services as YouTube, NetFlix, and Canadian National Film Board onto your HD television. In the US, you would be able to stream/access services such as Pandora (which isn't available in Canada). The Smart TV Upgrader box also allows for web browsing/surfing as well as streaming video, audio, and photos from your PC or associated network capable device (such as a NAS drive). There are some games available via the LG Apps Store.

In Canada, the online content includes NetFlix, YouTube, The National Film Board, Accuweather, Picasa, Ameba (Smart Kids TV),, Funspot, Karaoke Channel, Vtuner, NHL,, Viewster, I-play7u, Dailymotion, and Googlemaps.

The first thing that I did after plugging in the LG Smart TV Upgrader box and connecting it to my television is to update the firmware/software on it. As of this review, the firmware/software is ST 8.79.198.

The box connects to the network either using a standard network cable or using Wi-Fi. Setting up the box to use your home network's WiFi is very simple and I didn't have any issues connecting to two of my routers. I opted to connect to my network using a standard network cable since my television is in close proximity to one of my routers and I felt that the streaming would be better with wired over wireless. However, I did use the box over my wireless network and didn't experience any major issues.

The box uses a standard HDMI cable to connect to your HD television. If your television doesn't include an HDMI port, you are out of luck (unless you purchase or get some type of HDMI converter). The HDMI cable is not included with the unit and you will have to purchase one if you don't already have one. There is also a port for digital audio but I didn't use it.

There is also a USB port that supports external storage (playback) or a USB keyboard or USB mouse. I was able to use a USB keyboard that included a USB hub and then plugged my USB mouse into the USB port on the keyboard and didn't have any issues.

I use my LG Smart TV Upgrader box mainly for watching NetFlix, YouTube, National Film Board, and streaming online content from my PC. I will also use it quickly for Accuweather or to view some of my pictures on Picasa. The box supports almost every video file format that I tried (AVI, MP4, MKV, WMV, DivX). The only video format that I had which it didn't support was FLV. The streaming from my NAS drive and my PC was seamless. There was no buffering or stalling when accessing the media files over my internal network or when accessing Netflix and the National Film Board. However, with YouTube, the videos did occasionally stall. I did notice that it does sometimes abruptly exits Picasa and goes back to the LG Smart TV Upgrader box's home screen. I've read reviews where some people have experienced problems streaming internal videos as well as external videos but excluding the buffering/stalling that I've noticed with YouTube videos, I have not had the issues that these people have had. I'm not sure if it is because I'm using a different firmware version or whether it is because I'm using a wired network connection.

Another issue with viewing YouTube videos with this device (excluding the buffering/stalling which is probably related to my internet speed) is that you can only view YouTube videos, you can't view YouTube movies. The search feature with YouTube sometimes doesn't work immediately and I would have to enter the search string more than once.

The other thing that I find that happens occasionally is that the Smart TV box will sometimes not be able to see my computer on the network using the included Nero Home software. Rebooting my computer normally will fix this or waiting/refreshing the connections list on the Smart TV box will also sometimes help fix this problem. My NAS drive is always seen by the Smart TV box without any major issues. The only issue that I have experienced with my NAS drive and the Smart TV box is viewing my JPG pictures. Occasionally some pictures for some reason are not viewable on the Smart TV box (even though they were taken from the same camera and in the same format). These same pictures are viewable on my PC without any issues.

In terms of the browsing experience, I find it to be a bit lacking. It is extremely slow and the support for more advanced websites which require either java or Flash is extremely limited. I rarely use my Smart TV box to browse the web.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the LG Smart TV Upgrader box. It could be better but it does what I want without any major issues.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section.

*UPDATE: If you want to go to my blog entry on my review of watching Netflix with the LG Smart TV Upgrader Box ST600, please click on *THIS* blog entry.

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