LG HB954PB 5.1 Blu-ray Home Cinema System - LG HB954PB

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
LG HB954PB 5.1 Blu-ray Home Cinema System

Summary

Our Score:

9

The inclusion of a USB port makes it easy to play back digital media, and format support is solid. You can watch DivX movies and other AVI files, listen to MP3/WMA or view JPEG photos, but it grumpily refused to play any of our DivX HD or WMV files.

The system's built-in Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio decoding lets you enjoy HD audio without worrying about the compatibility issues that arise when buying separates. It also decodes regular Dolby Digital and DTS, while the Pro Logic II processing can be used to turn stereo material into surround sound. Like most of LG's other systems the HB954PB also comes equipped with Virtual Sound Matrix, which expands the 5.1 soundstage to 10.1, but it can be bypassed if you're not impressed by the results.

Throughout the entire GUI, the menus, text and colour schemes are sharp and easy on the eye. The system's sophisticated-looking Home menu makes it a doddle to access any of its functions, with a row of colourful icons along the middle that offers a choice of Movie, Photo, Music and Setup.

The setup menu's cursor is a little sluggish to scroll across to the next submenu but it's generally co-operative. You can fiddle with every aspect of its functionality, even down to the graphic used in the menu background. Also impressive are the little boxes that pop-up onscreen when you change the volume levels.

Having tested several LG systems recently, we've grown accustomed to its remotes, but newcomers might be a little non-plussed. The playback and menu controls are intuitively placed but everything else feels random and the layout is cluttered at the bottom. It does however boast some helpful icons and colour coding.

The system is ultra quick to load discs, which should come as no surprise given the BD370's speedy performance. Transformers' first menu popped up 30 seconds after pressing close, Spider-Man 3 fired up in 37 seconds while Wall-E took just 20. We're sure some will say that's still too slow, but compared with some older decks it's like greased lightning.

What's instantly apparent when you first start playing a movie is that you don't need to crank the volume up high to make an impact - even at half way the power is formidable. What's also apparent is that this system is a superb performer, offering a remarkably open and dynamic soundstage. Once again hi-fi don Mark Levinson is the ears behind the operation and has done a wonderful job of sidestepping the problems that so often prove the undoing of one-box systems.

Gavin C

July 21, 2009, 2:20 am

This looks a potential option instead of separates.....how easy will it be to put my V+ box or X360 through this for sound options....would I need to do an optic cable or hdmi it


Thanks


Gavin

Predin

July 21, 2009, 4:55 pm

Looks interesting but can i connect a network player, a wii and un x-box 360 to it? Also do i need to connect the ethernet cable to it , will it play blueray without it? It has a ipod doc does it support ipod nano 4g?





Thanks


Zoran

Steve 26

August 14, 2009, 8:07 pm

I got one of these a few weeks back and I am incredibly impressed. The rich sound and the ability to tailor it exactly as you need are fantastic.


In answer to the questions the unit has two hdmi inputs so you could plug both a V+ and a 360 into it at the same time and you then have one HDMI output going to the tv. There are a number of other input ports as well so a Wii could also be connected in.


You do not need the ethernet connected to play anything, what it does give you is access to additional content from the bluray disk that is on the internet as well as the ability to stream YouTube content straight through it.


The iPod dock will support everything from 2G up, so yes the 4g would be supported.

LUIGI

September 5, 2009, 5:22 pm

this blu ray machines support mkv ?


The bd 370 support mkv but not htfs format for pen drive usb (limit 4 gb fat 32 file to split in 2 part.)scuse my english ,I am italian lenguage.Luigi. ciao.

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