The market for Blu-rays is fast expanding globally, despite there still being love for DVDs, which are in mass circulation. Blu-rays offer way better video quality than DVDs, so manufacturers are launching many products with Blu-ray playback capabilities, be it notebooks, Blu-ray players or home theatre systems. As Blu-rays become common, brands also dole out Blu-ray players that support 3D Blu-ray playback. LG is one such manufacturer to launch the HB 906TA 3D Blu-ray home theatre system. This HTS boasts of some impressive specifications, apart from 3D playback, which include the ability to view online content through the LG Smart TV app, USB connectivity and many more.

 

Unboxing: the LH HB906TA Home Theater System

Design and Build Quality
Being a 5.1 channel home theatre system, the HB 906TA is made up of 5 speakers, a subwoofer and a 3D Blu-ray player. Looking at the system, one gets easily impressed with its stylish looks, which can be attributed to the black glossy finish, it carries overall. The player, to start with appears boxy, but retains a classy look. The only noticeable obtrusion on the face of the player is the volume knob. Other controls are touch sensitive buttons denoted by their symbol. These buttons have a white finish. One look at the player, and it gets clear that this player does not feature a Blu-ray disc tray. This tray and a few connectors such as ports for mics, port in and USB are neatly concealed by a flap that when closed appears to be part of the front panel. The flap, though stylish-looking feels a bit flimsy and when opened a certain amount of caution should be used. The top and sides of the player too, are finished in glossy black, but unlike the front panel, it is made of metal. On the top, close to the face of the player is a strip that has the brushed metal look. This adds to the style factor of the player.

Connectors found on this player are located at the rear, apart from the few that are located underneath the flap on the front. There are colour coded pin-type connectors for speakers. With the help of these colours, one can easily set up the player without the need of a technician. HDMI, Ethernet, component, a port for a FM antenna and optical in are located at the back. The connectors are neatly spaced and one can find a reduced amount of clutter.

Input output options at the back

Input output options at the back

The surround speakers can either be wall mounted or set up as tall boy speakers. The height of the surround speakers are around a foot and a half and when converted to appear as tall boys, they measure around 3 feet. There are three drivers on each speaker, which include two mid-range drivers and a tweeter above it. The size of the mid-range drivers are approximately 2 inches in diameter, while the tweeter is around an inch and a half. The centre channel speaker features two mid-range drivers located on either side of the tweeter.

Along with the speakers are a subwoofer. It stands around a foot tall and the front features a plastic meshing that covers the forward facing driver. Below the meshing is an air vent. The overall look of the HB906TA is stylish and the home theatre system is pretty light-weight. One can take advantage of the weight to change the position of the speakers in their house as much as they please.  The remote control of the system is light-weight and though it is cluttered with a lot of buttons as is the case with most players nowadays, the spacing of the buttons is good. This ensures one can easily get used to it within a matter of minutes.

Features
The HB906TA home theatre system sets itself apart from other 3D Blu-ray home theatre systems by offering really good features at a price point that is approximately Rs. 7,000 lesser than other manufacturers. The headlining feature of this home theatre system is its ability to read 3D Blu-rays. To gain the full benefits of this feature one should have a 3D capable television along with 3D glasses.

The interface of the player is really fluid and extremely stylish. One can be easily impressed with the layout of the widgets onscreen. The icons on the interface give it a minimal look, hence it is extremely simple to use and the settings have a lot of options to play around with. One can also adjust the background wallpaper of the menu from the settings folder. The ability to customize the homescreen appealed to us a lot as this feature is usually found on HD media players and not usually on DVD or Blu-ray players. Apart from this, it has DLNA support allowing one to share data over a home network to other devices.

The interface looks classy

The interface looks classy

The player uses LG Infinia to access online content and in this option one can view video content from sites such as Indiatimes.com, YouTube, Stuff, Google Maps, Picasa, etc. One of these channels is called i-play TV where one can play games on the television through the player. The list of games is not very vast, but the said channel is still in its beta phase. The selection of channels is country specific and one has to select their country before being able to access any online content.

The player can support a wide range of formats, which include, DIVX, MKV, MP4, etc. Dolby TrueHD digital plus is featured on this player as well allowing one to receive an enhanced audio playback. Other features include ability to read external hard disk drives, CIFS, Music ID by gracenote, along with the ability to use an iPhone or an Android smartphone as a remote control. LG claims that the surround speakers fire at 180W RMS while the subwoofer fires at 200W RMS. Read on in the performance bit, to see how the speakers and the player fared.

Performance
The speakers featured in this HTiB setup fire at a total of 1100W RMS. As is the case with all home theatre systems, we can expect maximum sound to output from the front speakers and the LG HB906TA is no different. The clarity of the speakers is really good and all the highs and mids sounded accurately. In the game mode all speakers fire well, giving a nice surround sound experience. The bass from the subwoofer is audible and it has a significant amount of thump. However, one has to be directly in front of the woofer to feel it. That being said, when one is in bass blast, there is a significant amount of thump and all the speakers sound good. This was our favorite preset found on the player.

Online video channels available

Online video channels available

While checking the video quality of the player, we ran a Blu-ray disk, played videos off an external hard drive as well as streamed videos from the net. The Blu-ray playback was the best and this is down to the fact that the quality from a Blu-ray disk is unparalleled. The time this player takes to boot the playback of the disk is not long as well and hence the player scores some points for this too. Pausing, forwarding and other functions respond quickly as well ensuring a good response from the sensor and the remote control. While playing videos through the external hard drive, we were quite impressed with the load time and of the drive and the responsiveness, while scrolling through the different menus. While in a movie folder, there is a preview pane that shows up displaying the first few scenes of the video. The playback was smooth and we had no problems with it at all.

Internet video content on the player is not very vast, but it does have some interesting channels. The load time of these Internet channels depend on the speed of the connection. A neat feature which it has is that the video, though buffers for sometime before it starts, it does not stop in between to continue buffering. In all, the performance of this home theatre system is really good and this surprised us a bit, especially at the price it sells for.

Surround speakers stand 3-feet tall

Surround speakers stand 3-feet tall

Verdict
The LG HB906TA 3D Blu-ray home theatre system sells in India at a price of Rs. 29,990. The overall look of the system is stylish and would definitely add to the look quotient of one's house. Feature-wise it does really well, too. The performance of the system is really good, on the whole and at a price such as this, we did not have anything much to complain about. However, if one wants superior audio quality or considers themselves complete audiophiles this may not be suited for them. This home theatre system is designed for those who want features such as surround sound and Blu-ray player with 3D capabilities on a somewhat constrained budget. This HTiB is one of the best we have seen in its price range and we find no reason why anyone should not purchase it.

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