Great performance, but expensive for limited internet features
The LG HX965TZ 5.1 home cinema kit is a very elegant system with very good surround sound but it is expensive for the few network features it provides and there are a number of operating frustrations.
It has tall floorstanding front and rear speakers, but you can detach the top part and wall mount them if you wish. The rear speakers can only be connected by cable - there's no provision for adding a wireless adaptor if you wish to do away with the rear speaker cables. Connecting up and placing the speakers is straightforward due to good labelling and use of colour-coded plugs and sockets, and tuning in the radio and setting presets is simple. Connecting to a PC with Nero is much more complicated especially setting up the relevant shares.
Wi-fi gives access to some internet content (YouTube, Picasa and AccuWeather ) via LG's Smart TV platform but not any of the TV players, Netflix or Lovefilm . It also has a Blu-ray player plus a USB port and iPod dock. It also has DLNA networking, so you can access music, photos and video stored on your PC and play them on your TV via Nero Homemedia 4 Essentials (supplied).
The unit automatically detects regular updates via internet which can be downloaded but unlike my Sony PS3 it doesn’t add any new useful features nor does it tell you what the updates have done.
A USB port lets you access media files directly - Jpeg images plus DivX, Xvid, WMV, MPEG2, MKV and m2ts video files are all supported together with MP3, WMV, AAC, OCG, WMA and WAV audio files.
There's a cradle for you to dock your iPod to this kit, but you can’t access the player via the home cinema system menu and remote - it has to be operated on the iPod.
The versatile FM tuner gives you access to analogue radio stations with 50 presets for your favourites as well as RDS (Radio Data System), which supplies extra information for display, such as the name of a station. It performs well, though it isn’t as good at tuning into weaker stations.
There is a single HDMI connection for hooking up to your high-definition TV (no Scart). It has two HDMI inputs for connecting other AV gear such as a games console and a digital optical input which means you can feed surround-sound signals into your amplifier from another external source - a Sky+ box, for example.
This system offers reasonable stereo sound but delivers good surround-sound and great surround-sound effects. Blu-ray and DVD playback picture quality is excellent. The player also copes admirably with scratched and damaged discs and is quick at loading and starting to play discs.
When playing most recent music CDs, data is automatically downloaded via Gracenote providing on-screen details of the tracks available. DVDs are upscaled to 1080P which gives improved picture quality.
The unit is easy to control via on-screen icons and the remote is clearly laid out. However, four direction keys surrounding the Enter Key are difficult to operate without hitting other buttons when showing picture images. In slideshow mode there is no automatic rotation of pictures taken in portrait format, which is very frustrating to viewers.
26 February 2012