For watching movies in a smaller room, such as a study or bedroom, little 2.1-channel home-cinema systems like the LG HT33S can be a great addition to your set-up. The HT33S' extra inputs make it a good choice if you want to hook up a TV, iPod or other MP3 player. In short, this is exactly the sort of machine you might buy for someone heading off to university or to keep your teenagers away from your expensive 7.1-channel surround-sound system.
You can get your hands on the HT33S for about £300.
In the box
We always dread unboxing home-cinema systems for one simple reason -- we have to box them up again once we've finished reviewing them. Because these systems have a number of components, that's generally quite a mission. The same is true with the HT33S. In the box are several layers of polystyrene, each containing different parts.
In the first layer, you'll find the main DVD unit, as well as the remote control and speaker cables. Lifting the first layer of packing material out of the box, you'll find the left and right speakers. Beneath all of this, you'll find the huge subwoofer lurking at the bottom of the box. Getting everything out and wiring it up took us less than 20 minutes, and it's really straightforward.
We like the fact that the sub is powered, and in turn sends power to the DVD player via a specially designed cable. As well as carrying the power, this cable also sends the decoded audio from the DVD player back to the subwoofer, which in turn sends the stereo audio to the front speakers and, of course, keeps hold of the low-frequency effects for itself.
The supplied remote is of a similar size to most LG controllers. You'll find the buttons sensibly laid out, and they're large enough for most people to use. Some controls are slightly confusing, though.
In terms of DVD playback, the HT33S is simple to use. We wanted to switch our test disc from a Dolby Digital soundtrack to a DTS one, which is possible via the illogically named 'info' button. You can adjust other things in the same way, such as the multi-camera angle that no-one ever uses on a DVD, and subtitles.
Our test DVD, a remastered version of The Terminator with DTS 5.1-channel surround sound, looked and sounded utterly glorious. The '80s soundtrack has plenty of different aspects to delight the senses -- explosions, dialogue and cheesy synth music. The HT33S seems to manage movies with considerable skill. DivX videos are similarly enjoyable.
Picture quality is also very good indeed. Although The Terminator is getting rather long in the tooth now, the remastered picture looked terrific. We were impressed by the overall clarity, and, although upscaling isn't generally worth much in our book, the 1080p output from the HT33S is pleasant to look at.