LG ST600 = Wii without game.

I admit it was an impulsive purchase.  They put this big package in a very nice spot next to all other fancy electronic stuff in the Costco warehouse.  There is a picture of it on the package with four advantages of this Smart TV Upgrader, not showing the back panel though, no demo on the shelf either.  Because I’d like to try Netflix in Christmas holidays and my TV was not smart enought to connect directly to the digital network, it caught my attention by a Netflix logo on the box.  With the price tag under a hundred bucks, I just took it without a second thought.

Got home, opened the box, what?  A tiny home-router-size box embedded the middle of two-piece carton frame in the package.  Maybe the outer package is made specially for Costco, but it’s not necessary to be as large as that of a food processor, or they just want to impress the consumers – the bigger the better.  Let me open the inner package, connected the tiny DLT-tape-size LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader to the power adapter, LAN cable and my own HDMI cable.  Using the tiny remote controller with just a dozen of buttons on it, I turned the device on.

The interface on the TV screen is very simple, just a few blocks of functions it provides – apps (everyone uses the word apps) like YouTube, Picasa, Netflix – of course if you have a subscription; media browsing that I believe it’s connecting to shared storage in the LAN; and the Internet with its simplified browser.  I started browsing, to type in the URL address, it gave me an on-screen keyboard.  With the touch button and four way arrow keys on the remote, it’s really hard to navigate.  Oh, man!  Too bad my TV is not a touch screen.  Would LG know that?

The first web page was finally loaded in a minute, I warn you, it’s very very slow, like dial-up.  Also I found it’s not 1080, I know how a web page looks like under 1080 resolution since my PC has 1080 monitor via VGA, thenwhy bother using HDMI?  Not to mention some posts on the Internet said the box doesn’t support Flash update, which means it will become an antique brick in a year.

Next, I tried YouTube, after clicked the icon, the screen went blank for a minute – nothing – not even a cursor.  Okay, can I try to search?  Oh, man!  Again, it gave me another on-screen keyboard, worse things this time it’s not even a qwerty keyboard.  I t-y-p-e-d something like I normally search on YouTube, it gave me a big blank screen with some small blank screens at the bottom, all of them hardly finished loading in three minutes.  I am sorry, what’s going on?

I lost my patience on this not-that-smart brick.  It literally turned my TV more stupid, it’s a downgrader, not a upgrader.  I was glad it’s not a hard decision to pull the plug and got control on my TV using the regular remote controller.  I believe this box would make my holiday life much harder when I have the Netflix and trying to search the movie I want to watch, and it wouldn’t deliver the content in ideal quality.  I ditched Wii two years ago because its low resolution, naive, toy-like quality; this one is even worse, there is no game on it.  Why do I need it?

Some thoughts to the vendor, the reseller and the end-users:

  • LG should fire the product manager of this box.  Have anyone from that team ever really used it?
  • Costco should ask LG for compensation, for the bigger, stupid package and higher return rate.
  • As an end user, don’t buy it!

Thanks to my membership fee, I will return it in my next visit to Costco.