At first glance, the LG HB354BS looks expensive for what is after all ‘only’ a 2.1 surrround sound system, but despite the lack of speakers, and the main units compact size, LG have packed a lot of features and quality into the system.
Firstly, and something that LG are keen to stress, is that the system has been tuned by Mark Levinson. Whilst not that well known over here in the UK, Mr Levinson has designed and produced very high end hi-fi equipment for nearly 40 years. He also develops the in car entertainment systems on Lexus cars, and has tuned previous LG systems, so you could say he know his stuff. And this proved to be a shrewd move by LG as customers reactions to the sound quality on the LG HB354BS have been very positive indeed.
Like the Samsung HT-BD1220, the main unit of the LG HB354BS is quite compact at only 430m wide and 76 mm high, with the sub-woofer being 216mm wide by 405mm high meaning it should be quite easy to position. The two front speakers are 118mm wide and quite high at 226mm, but it is the weight at 1.1Kg or nearly 2½ pound that is the biggest surprise, and a good indicator of the quality of the unit.
The LG HB354BS packs in quite a number of features with the integrated iPod dock probably the most sought after and neatest feature here – simply slide open the dock, and you can connect, control and charge your iPod. The other main feature is YouTube access, but you’ll need to connect a network cable to the rear of the player from your router to be able to enjoy this, and BD-Live content – there is no wireless option. The system also makes sure you can enjoy your music and moves how you want to with a choice of seven listening modes in the LG Sound Gallery. You can change the sound to a mode especially tuned for when you’re playing games through the system, or switch to ‘night mode’ when you want the bass turned down. There is also a mode to help improve the sound quality of compressed MP3 music tracks. In addition to improving the sound, the LG HB354BS will also help you get the best out of your standard DVDs with its built in 1080p upscaling to give you near HD quality.
The LG HB354BS is also surprisingly flexible, with an HDMI, Component and optical input on the rear meaning you can connect a couple of consoles to the system and enjoy gaming with high quality sound.
What to consider before you buy the LG HB354BS Blu-ray Home Cinema System
The lack of any wireless capabilities is the systems biggest downfall, and makes watching YouTube content a little more difficult as you’ll have to runa network cable to the system.
Why you should buy the LG HB354 Blu-ray Home Cinema System
This is compact and good quality system – it might not have the full 5.1 surround sound, but it does offer very good quality and decent flexibility for a Blu-ray home cinema system. Rating: /5
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