As far as HTIB (home theatre in a box) go, the LG HX995TZW is quite stylish. It consists of a vertically-mounted central unit feeding four main speakers mounted on poles, a discrete centre speaker and a piano-black subwoofer.
The central unit is quite minimalist and matches the styling of the company's TV range with its piano-gloss facade and clear plastic border. The unit features a slot-loading Blu-ray player, and is controlled with a series of capacitive controls along the top and readouts are courtesy of the blue LED display. If you buy a TV such as the LX9500 this system would make a decent companion in the visual sense, though perhaps demanding of a more sophisticated audio solution.
To continue the piano-black theme, the LG remote is draped in it. The remote is of the same ilk that's shipped with the company's televisions and set-top boxes. It's easy to use, and enables quick access to functions such as adjusting individual speaker volumes — important for controlling the sub, as we'll see shortly.
The LG HX995TZW is probably one of the most feature-complete home cinema packages available for the price. Firstly, it comes with Blu-ray player with the addition of 3D playback, and the provision of an Ethernet port means you get DLNA and support. Sadly, the unit misses out on the BigPond Movies offering of other LG products, but it still includes YouTube, Picasa and weather.
The LG offers iPod compatibility, but unfortunately it's not controllable with the remote. Also interestingly, the iPod connection feeds from the sub and not the main unit — this necessitates plonking the iPod on top of the sub.
The system is a 5.1-channel affair, and the two rears are wireless — fed from a separate unit which plugs into the power point. The satellites are rated at 180W each while the wireless sub is rated at 200W. The main speakers and corresponding cables are colour-coded, and perhaps ironically the two rears have the longest cables in the box. The three front cables connect to the sub.
As far as connections are concerned, the LG offers HDMI, optical, composite, USB and Ethernet. Unlike most home cinema systems at this price point, the HX995TZW offers two HDMI inputs for adding additional sources as well.
The "floating" menu looks cool but its constant movement may make you ill. (Credit: Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia)
If you're spending AU$1300 on a cinema package it's likely it will be pressed into providing more than just movies. As a Blu-ray system we were interested to see how it performed a) with video content and b) with surround sound and music. But first we needed to make sure it was set-up correctly.
To do this you need to access the LG's menu system. Instead of left/right navigation like most systems, it uses a mixture of either Left and Right or Up and Down which takes some getting used to. But that's not as disorienting as the home screen; while we like the idea of each icon represented as ice cubes floating in gently undulating water it'll quickly leave you with a case of seasickness.