LG HRT403DA review

While we admire LG for trying to squeeze in a world of features, we don’t think this home cinema system has quite got the quality we'd expect Tested at £500.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

While we admire LG for trying to squeeze in a world of features, we don’t think this system has quite got the quality we'd expect


  • +

    Functions galore

  • +

    good tuner and recording

  • +

    decent DVD picture

  • +

    1080p upscaling


  • -

    Thin, hard sound

  • -

    loose sub

  • -

    poor usability

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Not content with being a 3.1 home-cinema-in-a-box system – centre, left and right front speakers and a subwoofer – the LG HRT403DA is also a Freeview+ HDD/DVD recorder with a 160GB hard disc drive inside the slender main unit.

The subwoofer houses the amplification, fed via a digital optical cable from the DVD unit.

The process of tuning the digital and analogue channels seems interminable. And, sadly, things don't get a great deal better when it comes to controlling the system – the remote is far from intuitive, the system sluggish to respond.

Freeview recordings are faithful
The Freeview+ certification ensures an eight-day EPG, series recording and pause/rewind TV are here. The digital tuner delivers a sharp, colourful and stable picture.

Select the highest quality XP mode and recordings prove faithful, too. To access the pause/rewind feature, you need first to press the ‘Time Shift' button and you then have an icon on screen at all times.

Switch to DVD and this set up is capable of 1080p video via HDMI. Watching the average Babylon A.D. the picture is decent, with fine insight, solid black levels and smooth, stable motion. It's good, if not mind-blowingly so.

Decent picture, average sound
Sound isn't as pleasing. There's a harshness to certain treble frequencies that soon start to grate, while the sub lacks distinction and tightness.

Overall the sound lacks weight and solidity, sounding insubstantial, despite cutting the LG some slack for its diminutive dimensions.

If you simply must have all the functionality this system offers, which is a lot, then this LG has some appeal – the DVD picture is decent, as is the digital tuner and subsequent recordings, and the specification is exhaustive.

But for pure picture and especially sound performance, there are more satisfying home cinema systems out there.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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