What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 3 Jul 2009, 1:00pm

LG HB354BS

Tested at £480
80100
4

The ’HB354 is an accomplished little Blu-ray package and one of the most stylish systems you can get for the money

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For

  • Attractive design
  • smooth-sounding
  • punchy picture

Against

  • Not the final word in terms of picture detail and clarity
  • ‘boomy’ subwoofer

LG has had some spectacular successes with home cinema systems over the past couple of years, but its recent Blu-ray players have struggled to impress. So how will this best-of-both-worlds system fare?

Out of the box, the '354BS looks stylish and elegant. The curved front fascia stands out from the boxy opposition, with illuminated, touch-sensitive buttons and a protruding volume knob surrounded by a ring of neon blue light.

The speakers' oval appearance has a sophistication that's great to see at this price-point.

LG has a tendency to adorn its home cinema systems with useful connections and features, and the '354BS is no exception. On the rear of the unit are two HDMI inputs – great for connecting additional HD sources.

Blu-ray Profile 2.0 status
There are coaxial and optical digital inputs to feed sound through too. Blu-ray Profile 2.0 status brings with it the obligatory USB input and Ethernet socket, to access BD-Live content.

Fire up Valkyrie, and the desert backdrop is vibrant and punchy. The brilliance of the whites looks overcooked though, and you lose detail where light reflects off faces.

Edge definition is good: it's not immune from motion judder, but the LG still entertains.

As is the case with many of LG's home cinema systems and TVs, the speakers supplied with the HB354BS have been tweaked by hi-fi guru Mark Levinson.

Smooth-sounding satellites
And these egg-shaped satellites fare remarkably well. For a system of this type, they're open and smooth, with well-controlled treble.

However, rival systems do offer better integration between satellites and subwoofer: the LG sub is a tad clumsy, although there's good weight and scale.

The LG has a fine feature set and performs admirably across the board.

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