LG HB966TZW review: LG HB966TZW

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Typical Price: $999.00

LG HB966TZW

(Part #: CNETLG HB966TZW)
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Great BD picture and quality. Easy wireless connectivity. Wireless rear speakers.

The Bad Weak subwoofer. Slightly confusing menus. No musical star.

The Bottom Line There isn’t much this LG won’t do. Easy wireless networking, excellent quality 3D Blu-ray and wireless rear speakers make it an attractive package for under a grand. Matched with an LG 3D screen, it’ll keep you entertained for hours.

8.0 Overall

There's not much that electronics giant LG doesn't manufacture, with this prolificacy extending to home-theatre-in-a-box (HTiB) systems. It makes perfect sense, as LG's one of the most popular flat-panel display brands, so there's audio to go with your video.

Design and features

In keeping with the current HTiB aesthetic, the '966 is slimline, high-gloss black and very shiny. Four column speakers act as front and rears (the rears are also wireless), while a decent-width centre and passive subwoofer make up the remaining speaker quota.

The slim head unit plays 3D Blu-ray, and the LG is not short on connectivity features, either. In fact, it pretty much covers the lot, with DLNA/CIFS networking, Wi-Fi Direct file sharing and an iPod/iPhone docking port. Wi-Fi Direct means file sharing without the usual need for a wireless "hotspot", and a couple of other nifty features include USB direct recording, which automatically converts CDs to MP3 on a USB audio device — plus you can use your smartphone as an LG system remote with the suitable app installed.

Playback of different file types is super extensive, including AAC, MKV, MP3, MPEG4 (includes DivX), WMA and WMV. The '966 will also handle HD DivX and MKV high-definition video playback up to the latest standard (H264). Naturally, the video engine up-scales to 1080p, and there are no fewer than three HDMI inputs, which is ample for a system such as this.

Performance

Having just taken delivery of a Panasonic 3D plasma, we were keen to see how the LG looked in all three dimensions. Our review system was supplied with a 3D Blu-ray sampler disc, plus we had some of our own titles to play, like Avatar 3D, which was what we kicked off with. No matter how many times you've seen this film, it's always a jaw dropper in 3D, and the LG made sure that the experience was a memorable one. We soon found ourselves midway through the movie before we realised 90 minutes had just passed — such was the way the LG and 3D rendering drew us in. With the price of 3D HTiB systems, and compatible screens at an all-time low, you'd be mad not to go 3D, in our opinion.

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