Most all-in-one home cinema systems are built to a price, and are therefore found wanting in the design department – not to mention what that cost-cutting does to AV performance. However, every now and again a one-box system comes along that pushes the boat out with a ‘premium’ design that demands to be taken a little bit more seriously.
The LG BH8220B is one such system. Its luxurious aluminium design (described on the website as ‘professional classic’) looks like a million dollars, and a manual inspection reveals the speakers are more substantial than you might expect from a one-box sound system. Each one stands 292mm high and sports a retro rectangular shape, styled in a stunning brushed metal finish down each side. The silver mesh on front masks the two fibre cone drivers and dome tweeter behind it. These are understated but super cool speakers that will bring a touch of class to any living room.
The side-firing subwoofer is styled along the same lines with shimmering brushed aluminium side panels lending more glamour than most subs. The compact shape should make it easy to accommodate too. The only bad news is that it’s passive (not powered), a type of sub that typically doesn’t offer the same level of performance as its active cousins.
The Blu-ray receiver is also styled in silver, with a brush-effect flap covering the entire fascia. This hides all of the front panel clutter apart from a volume dial that pokes through the middle, surrounded by a bright white light that can be dimmed if it gets too distracting. When watching a movie you’ll probably want it pulled open as it covers the LED display, giving all the relevant info.
Also behind the flap on the LG BH8220B is the disc tray on the left, and a row of buttons below the display panel – hard ones, not touch sensitive – as well as a USB port and a 3.5mm minijack input. On the back you’ll find a decent set of sockets, including HDMI v1.4 output and two inputs for channelling other HD components through the system. You also get analogue stereo and optical digital audio inputs, plus a composite video output. The speaker connections are springclip terminals, which doesn’t fit with the system’s ‘premium’ positioning but the cables fit snugly and they’re all colour coded to ease the installation process.