Elegant and compact, the LG HB954WA Blu-ray home cinema system looks to have the features and performance credentials to help it compete with price.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
2 min read

This year, LG was chosen as a technology partner for the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix, and to celebrate had a gaggle or new playthings on display at the event. One being the new LG HB954WA Blu-ray home theatre system, which has a couple of impressive features for the money.

We were recently disappointed to see that the latest Pioneer HTZLX61 home-theatre-in-a-box doesn't include Blu-ray for the price, and this is where the LG ups the ante.

The HB954WA is one the least expensive Blu-ray systems we've seen yet, but it doesn't skimp on the goodies. The most "fun" one being the iPod dock drawer at the front. There have been lots of attempts to integrate docks into hi-fi equipment, ranging from ridiculous top-mounts to stingy, dangly cables. The dock on the LG is an elegant drawer mounted at the front, but unfortunately we didn't see it in action.

Another feature that should draw the punters in is that it features wireless surround speakers — quite unheard of at this price point. Of course, until wireless power arrives you'll still need to plug them into a power socket.

The system is fully compliant with BD-Live which means it has access to interactive content, and it will also decode all of the HD audio standards including Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD Master Audio. While we originally said that the HB954WA doesn't feature YouTube access, we have been informed by LG that it does. Yay!

The HB954WA was tuned, as are many of LG's audio products, by hi-fi loony — we met him, and he is a bit bonkers — Mark Levinson. Levinson is a stickler for "natural-sounding" audio, so the HB954WA should be able to communicate both music and movie dialogue well. While we listened to it on the day, it was competing with Formula Ford race cars, and we could only tell you that it went LOUD.

Design is a subjective thing, and depending on what drugs you're taking you may find the system's satellites a little sinister. THAT SINGLE TWEETER EYE! IT'S EATING OUR BRAIN DONUTS!!!

Elegant and compact, the LG HB954WA looks to have the features and performance credentials we expect for the price.

Ty Pendlebury travelled to Melbourne as a guest of LG.