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If you don't want the hassle of buying a separate Blu-ray player, surround-sound amp and speaker set-up, then going for a home-cinema kit like the LG HB954PB might appeal. Priced at around £600, it aims to provide everything you need, bar a big-screen TV, to make the most of your movie and music collection.
Top of the line
The HB954PB sits at the very top of LG's current line-up of home-cinema systems, and packs in plenty of features. The main unit includes not just a Blu-ray player, but also a surround-sound amp, FM radio tuner, iPod dock and 5.1-channel speaker set-up.
The main unit has a pretty standard glossy black finish, but there's also a metallic blue hue underneath the Blu-ray disc tray. This is carried over to the champagne-flute-shaped front speakers. It certainly adds extra interest to the design, but we think it looks overly showy.
Setting up the system is relatively straightforward, as LG has colour-coded the cables. Unlike high-end systems from the likes of Sony and Panasonic, however, there's no automatic calibration feature, so you have to manually tweak speaker distances and levels.
Blu-ray playback is this system's key feature, and it puts in an impressive performance. It's quick to load discs and, as it conforms to the latest Blu-ray spec, it lets you download BD-Live content, as long as you hook it up to your broadband connection via the Ethernet socket on the rear. Playback quality is excellent. The player produces really crisp and sharp pictures, with bags of detail and really naturally-looking colours. It also handles motion beautifully.
On the audio side, the system's 5.1-channel speaker set-up comprises four satellite speakers and a centre speaker that kick out 155W each, plus a passive subwoofer that delivers 225W, which all adds up to 1,000W of neighbour-bothering noise. Audio is at its best when the player is decoding movies with either Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD lossless soundtracks.