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LG HLB54S Blu-ray Soundbar review




  • Recommended by TR

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LG HLB54S Blu-ray Soundbar
  • LG HLB54S Blu-ray Soundbar
  • LG HLB54S Blu-ray Soundbar
  • LG HLB54S Blu-ray Soundbar
  • LG HLB54S Blu-ray Soundbar
  • LG HLB54S Blu-ray Soundbar
  • HLB54S Home Theater System (BD Player, 2.1 Speakers - Progressive Scan - DTS, DTS HD, Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD)


Our Score:



  • Very slim
  • Excellent range of features
  • Good sound quality


  • Pricey
  • No built-in memory
  • Cluttered remote

Key Features

  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • HDMI switching
  • Supplied iPod dock
  • 4.1-channel speaker configuration
  • Decodes Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio
  • Manufacturer: LG
  • Review Price: £478.90

Integrating a Blu-ray player into a soundbar was the next logical step for the technology, and typically the Koreans were first to take it. In November we cast our eye over the Samsung HT-BD8200, a good-looking, feature-rich all-in-one that does a great job with hi-def discs and DVDs, but now it's the turn of fierce rival LG to show what it can do.

LG HLB54S soundbar not for you? Check out our round-up of the best soundbars to buy

LG's debut soundbar is the HLB54S, which at around £600 is surprisingly pricey for such a (usually) budget-conscious brand, but given LG's track record you know it'll be absolutely bursting with state-of-the-art features and hopefully offer great performance to boot. On that score the signs are good, given that it's been tuned by LG's audio go-to-guy Mark Levinson and claims to offer 430W of audio power.

The HLB54S is one fine-looking soundbar. It's covered in glitzy touches like the silver trim surrounding the disc slot, the gloss-black finish on the sloping top panel and a row of touch-sensitive buttons that give off a dainty little ‘ping' when pressed. We also like the massive illuminated display that shines through the front speaker mesh, allowing you to read it from anywhere in the room.

However, it's not the most practical soundbar in the world. It's delightfully slim, but this is offset by a depth measurement of 189mm, which makes it more awkward to accommodate than most soundbars. And it's not really designed to be wall mounted either, which we thought was the point of a soundbar - if you want to sling it on the wall, you'll need to put a shelf up first.

Still, the HLB54S gets back in our good books with a rear panel that's teeming with sockets. Of greatest interest is the sight of two HDMI inputs, which will be welcomed by anyone wondering how their socket-strapped TV will accommodate a growing collection of HDMI-equipped kit. The answer is simple - hook them up to the LG and you can switch from source to source using the system's remote.

Among the other connections are a socket for the supplied iPod dock (generous), composite video output (useless), one optical digital audio input (handy for Sky boxes) and a generic analogue minijack input for any MP3 player. Completing the line up is an Ethernet port to support the Blu-ray deck's BD Live compatibility.

But this socket will be rendered redundant if you own a wireless internet router, as the HLB54S comes equipped with built-in Wi-Fi support (802.11 b/g/n), just like the company's BD390 standalone player. A smart move it is too, as it might actually encourage you to check out the BD Live content on your new Blu-ray discs as opposed to ignoring it because you can't be arsed to rig up an Ethernet cable. The unit's firmware can also be updated wirelessly.

Another of the LG's major selling points is the wireless active subwoofer, which you can place anywhere in the room (within reason) without having to hide the cable. Perfect! And there's no tricky setup involved either, simply plug it in and it pairs up with the soundbar as soon as it detects a signal. It's not the most substantially built subwoofer in the world, but the matching gloss-black finish is as reliably alluring as ever.

Read more: Best soundbars to buy


January 28, 2010, 10:33 pm

Danny how does this compare to the other soundbars you have reviewed? - does its surround effect sound as convincing as the more expensive audio only soundbars?


January 29, 2010, 12:10 am

£600 fot an LG product!! Sorry. I don't care about the specs. I'll save my money and buy the real thing.

LG have probably priced themselves out of the market with this one.


January 29, 2010, 2:06 pm

I really want to see WIRELESS rear speakers on one of these!

OK, wireless surrounds are far from truly wireless as you need to plug the receiver into the wall and then run cabled to the speakers, but most rooms have plugs at the rear and the big thing is cutting out the two wires that run from the receiver all the way round the room.


February 17, 2010, 1:01 am

This unit sounds great, are there any stockists in Scotland where I can view a live unit?


May 23, 2010, 10:54 pm

Recently just bought this HLB54S. I think the sound is awesome!

I'm surprised that only from small tiny speaker soundbar can make great sound.

Although this unit is not 5.1 speaker but it can produce sound like 5.1.

Maybe this unit is tuned by Mark Levinson so it can produce great sound and details 5.1


June 5, 2010, 10:09 pm

i bought it, and took me a while to get my pc video clips playing in the sound bar. dvd discs make quite a noise when inside. sound of the bass is quite mediocre, sometimes you have to put the hand in the speaker to notice if it is working or not because you cannot even listen to them. the highs are ok. a lot of formats cannot be played. the LG service customer sucks and if you contact them, they just put you a lot of nonsense questions. updating was another problem. sometimes when looking for a movie, it just shut down. the menu is not user friendly (for instance compared to my sony tv, years light difference). the design is lovely though and it is not that big. i will keep it, but only to see bluray and play some cds. youtube works well.

Ray Verth

August 13, 2010, 11:06 pm

Just bought and installed this with an LG 42 inch 3D LED unit. All is fantastic EXCEPT the blue ray DVD player is region coded to region 2 only - WHY?? I have many DVD's from many trips overseas and need this unit unlocked to play these well used DVD's...why code ther units in 2010 - what good purpose does this do today?? So if buying check to get a guarantee of region free or avoid this product at all costs! By the way has anyone got a hack?


September 4, 2010, 3:38 pm

I am thinking of buying this soundbar and the new philips hts9140 with similar specs. Have not really decided yet. I wonder if you are going to review this unit(hts9140) any time soon!??

Toni Vila

December 1, 2010, 11:37 am

Come on! When using video cable - video and sound are not synchronized!!! Watching dvd content OR other movie from ext. HDD (USB connection used) - sound lead the video and shift is getting bigger with time. I can't believe this. Is this video lagging normal? :-)

Btw, my TV is Philips Cineos.


October 11, 2013, 1:32 pm

how to put in a headphone? Or is it only possible for phones without a cable??

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