Review Price free/subscription
LG HRT403DA Home Cinema System
LG has thrown everything and the kitchen sink into this one-box system, which combines a Freeview+ DVD/HDD recorder and 400W 3.1-channel sound system. At around £500 it's pricier than a lot of 5.1-channel systems on the market, but we're hoping its extensive functionality and performance can justify the expense and make it a viable option for people who don't have room for rear speakers.
In the box you get a pair of bookshelf style front speakers, a centre speaker, a powered subwoofer and a slim main unit which houses a 160GB hard-disk, Freeview tuner and DVD/CD player. The main unit looks similar to the RHT399H recorder combi we reviewed back in September and it's a very attractive machine, fitted with a tasteful gloss black fascia and constructed from aluminium to give it a hefty, robust feel.
The front panel offers a few buttons to control playback and to change the HDMI output resolution (which strangely isn't found on the remote). In the centre is an eye-catching silver panel inscribed with the DVB logo, while the lower section features a flap that hides a row of auxiliary inputs - USB, DV, composite and analogue stereo.
Around the back is a reasonable selection of sockets, including two SCART sockets (one in, one out, both RGB capable) plus component, S-video and HDMI outputs. Audio sockets include coaxial and optical digital outs and analogue stereo out, but sadly there are no digital audio inputs, which means you can't listen to external sources through the system.
Unusually the system's audio decoding and amplification are all located inside the subwoofer, so you have to pipe the digital audio signal from the main unit to the optical input on the back of the sub. The three speakers also connect to spring-clip terminals on the sub, plus there's an odd connection labelled ‘Remocon' which isn't a new Transformers character but a connection that passes remote control commands from the main unit to the sub.
The subwoofer suffers from that unmistakable one-box system build quality, with a slightly plasticky feel to the front panel and a hollow sound when you tap it. But the gloss black finish, helpful LED readout and nifty controls (including a volume dial that you spin round with your finger) at least make it easy on the eye. The speakers also boast an effective combination of gloss black with silver trim, and the spring-clip terminals are neatly hidden underneath the stand.