LG is attempting to put some sparkle back into the all-in-one home cinema market with its Champagne system, so called because it features front and surround speakers shaped like champagne flutes. It might sound barmy on paper but in practice it really works - the gloss black finish, metallic ‘stems' and circular bases give the system a level of elegance that you don't normally find at this price point.
In all other respects, the HT762TZ is a regular 5.1-channel system. It comes with a main DVD receiver unit, which handles the system's quoted 700W amplification, four tallboy speakers, a horizontal centre speaker and a passive subwoofer, which is plainly styled in black and pleasingly slim. The receiver unit features an attractive sloping, curved fascia, with some jazzy blue lights spicing up its all-black styling.
The main unit houses all the connections. Among them is an HDMI output that offers CEC support and DVD playback in resolutions from 576p up to 1080p, which will suit owners of HD Ready and Full HD TVs alike. It's backed up by SCART, component and composite video outputs, alongside optical digital audio input - handy for playing back Dolby Digital soundtracks from a Sky+ box - and analogue stereo input. Finally, there's a set of six spring-clip speaker terminals and FM/AM aerial inputs for the built-in RDS radio tuner.
The main unit's fascia features a 3.5mm port for portable MP3 players and a USB port that houses flash memory drives, allowing you to play MP3, WMA, JPEG and DivX files. These file types can also be played from CD or DVD. Another surprising but very welcome addition to the feature list is DVD-Audio playback, allowing you to play these hi-res discs in full 5.1 surround. In fact, the only disc types it won't play are DVD-RAM and SACD, making this system a wise choice if you have a wide range of home-burned discs.
There's a generous range of audio tweaks to play with, including an interesting Virtual Sound Matrix (VSM) mode, which is said to add an extra five virtual channels to the regular six, creating a 10.1-channel effect. LG reckons this fills in the gaps between the speakers and allows sound to move more evenly around the room. We'll test the validity of this claim in due course.