CNET First Look
LG LHB953The LG LHB953 combines Blu-ray, tons of streaming media content, and solid A/V quality into an all-in-one home theater system that scores high on the value quotient.
[ MUSIC ] ^M00:00:03 >> [Matthew Moskovciak:] Hi, I'm Matthew Moskovciak, senior associate editor at CNET.com, and we're here with the LG LHB953. This is a 5.1 home theater system with built in Blu-ray, and it has a street price of about 450 dollars. Now the speaker system consists of these four identical speakers, which make up your front and surround speakers. There's a sizable center channel that will fit under your TV, and there's also a subwoofer and the main unit, which contains the Blu-ray player and the amplifier. Now this certainly isn't the largest speaker system, but we did find that it offered solid sound quality, especially on movies. It sounded pretty good on music, too, although we did find that the subwoofer had a tendency to sound a little bit muddy, and it certainly didn't sound as good as the competing Samsung system. Now the main AV receiver Blu-ray combo unit certainly isn't one of the best ones that we've seen. We really were distracted by the blue light that surrounds the volume knob, and it kind of took away from the style of the system. However, we did like some of the usability perks on it, especially there's a slide-out iPod dock and as you can see you just press it, and it comes out automatically and that's kind of a nice touch. We also appreciated that all the controls are located on the front panel unlike the Samsung, so that means it's easy if you want to stack, say, a cable box on top of the unit. It's not going to block any of the controls. Now the built-in Blu-ray player on this system has essentially the same functionality as you'll get from a standalone LG Blu-ray player. The Blu-ray player also comes with more streaming services than any of the other Blu-ray HTIBs that we reviewed. There's Netflix, Pandora, YouTube and CinemaNow, so you're going to get some instant gratification content to go along with your discs. If you look around back, you'll see all the standard connectivity that these systems have, although you'll notice that there are no video inputs. That means if you want to connect a separate component like a cable box or a game console, you're going to have to make separate connections to your TV and to the LG unit, which is a little bit more of a hassle. You'll need to fumble remotes to get everything working, although we will note that all of the Blu-ray HTIBs at this price level have the same limitation. Altogether we really like the combination of performance and features that you get from this LG system, although it's not quite as good as the competing Samsung. However, we will note that the LG is significantly cheaper, so if you're on a tight budget, this is going to be a really good pick. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET.com, and this is the LG LHB953. ^M00:02:25 [ MUSIC ]