LG in the recent past has shown themselves as a dominant brand in the audio visual sphere of technology. The brand has further strengthened their portfolio by introducing their Cinema 3D TVs. LG may not have the reputation of say a Denon or a Harman Kardon when it comes to audio systems but they do launch products with features that forces one to stop and take notice. The brand has been successful in emulating a 3D viewing experience for their television sets and they now aim to provide the same experience where 3D surround sound is concerned. The HX906TX home theatre system is no ordinary 5.1 channel speaker system even though it looks like one; rather LG claims that it is a 9.1 channel speaker set that comes with a 3D Blu-ray player, LG Smart TV capabilities, Wi-Fi Direct and a range of features that sound interesting on paper. Read on to know if it has more than just a fancy spec sheet.

The minimalistic front of the system

The minimalistic front of the system

Design and Build Quality
Owning a 5.1 channel home theatre system can be quite a headache initially for a consumer as these speakers usually tend to take up a lot of space in one’s home. This is not to mention the added space required to house the subwoofer which in most cases may be quite large. The thought of having say a 7.1 channel in the home would give one a further fair amount of dilemmas. That is where LG's come in and launched what they call a 9.1 channel speaker in the framework of a 5.1 channel chassis. If that was a bit confusing, let us clear it up a bit. The LG HX906TX is essentially a 5.1 channel speaker set with the four surround speakers coming with an additional upward firing driver making it a total of nine. Hence this is a 9.1 channel speaker system that looks like a 5.1 channel speaker system.

Essentially, Blu-ray players are designed really small and compact, however, this trend is slowly changing as brands are adding a lot of features to them. This has prompted them to be rather big in size but not big enough to look ugly. The designers at LG have kept looks as a major priority while manufacturing this system and hence given it a design that can really appeal to people’s homes. This system has an entire glossy black finish which further accentuates its looks.

Front firing subwoofer

Front firing subwoofer

The front of the player features a panel that covers the front loading tray along with connectors for mics and a USB port which can be used to attach an external drive. The controls located at the front are touch sensitive and above them is the LCD matrix display. The volume knob is located at the extreme right of the player. A neat design aspect about this player is that the connections at the front are concealed thereby giving it a minimalistic look.

All the major connectivity options are located at the back. The plugs for the speakers are colour coded, simplifying the setup procedure. The inputs at the back include two HDMI ports, optical, analog audio, an Ethernet port and a port for an FM antenna. These connectivity options are more than sufficient for connecting multiple devices such as a gaming console or an additional media player.

The speakers that come along with the setup are of the tallboy variety. These speakers in itself are classy in appearance and can add a lot to a person’s house. If space is restricting, then one can wall mount these speakers as well. On each of the front speakers there are two midrange drivers and a tweeter. Apart from that there are the upward firing drivers as well. The centre channel speaker has two midrange drivers and the tweeter is located in the centre. The subwoofer that comes with the player also has the gloss black exterior and it has a front firing driver. The remote control is lightweight and yet has a sturdy feel.

Overall, the build quality and design of this home theatre system is really good.

Features
There are a range of home theatre systems in the market that are priced in the sub-Rs. 40,000 price bracket that offer a range of features that can certainly whet one’s appetite for great sound. However, most of these other systems do not feature drivers on their surround channel speakers that are upward firing. This can in fact help in delivering an enhanced 3D sound which home theatre systems aim to deliver. The LG surround speakers feature a 360 degree reflector inside which help in reproducing the surround sound.

Two HDMI inputs at the back

Two HDMI inputs at the back

With Blu-ray becoming the norm these days it is only natural for a brand to add this technology to the system. The HX906TX not only supports the playback of Blu-ray discs but also 3D Blu-ray discs. However, you need to have a compatible television to view 3D content. If you’re not interested in the Blu-ray capabilities, it also features a USB drive at the front that can read NTFS and FAT32 drives thereby being able to support external hard drives as well. The player can play a range of video formats which include HD DivX, AVCHD, MKV and WMV. The player is also capable of playing HD 1080p formats.

LG has kept a keen eye when it comes to the layout of the interface. Many manufacturers do a shoddy job while designing the interface, with widgets placed across the screen. However, with this interface, LG has added a lot of colour to the fold. The interface is both, a pleasure to look at and it’s intuitive at the same time. The widgets are lined up well and navigating through it is a breeze. It’s easy to get used to the interface – browsing through the menus becomes like a second habit after playing around with the different controls for a few minutes. The main menu of the interface is lined up with the usual options for accessing USB content such as movies, photos, music, input selection and setup. A widget that has also been added into the fold is LG Apps where it features TV-based applications ranging from games to news. You’ll need to connect the player to a router using an Ethernet connection.

LG Premium is the gateway to the smart TV features found on this player. There are popular internet based channels such as YouTube, Zapak, vTuner, CNBC, CNN, etc. found here but one would have to subscribe to the channels for it to work.

Stylish tallboy speakers

Stylish tallboy speakers

As far as the wattage of the speakers go, LG rates it at a total output of 1125 watts with each of the satellites firing at 135W and the woofer at 180W. LG has added a number of other features into the mix such as sound field expansion, 3D Sound Analyzer and a 360 degree reflector. All these are intended to produce a true surround sound experience.

Performance
The performance of the LG HX906TX was tested based on how easy it was to use along with sound and video quality in a number of environments.

The centre channel fires well

The centre channel fires well

Blu-ray Playback
We inserted our test Blu-ray in the player and while running it we found that the performance of this home theatre system  in comparison to the others was better. While playing the test Blu-ray we felt the surround sound experience. The mids and the highs were great and the sounds emitted from them were sharp but not overly to make it sound enhanced. The tones were natural as well in both 2D as well as 3D sound mode. Watching action sequences like sports is where the speakers come alive. However, with the 3D mode turned off, one will notice a huge drop in volume. The player processes the video flawlessly and when connected to an HDTV, the videos look great. However, to reiterate, the player and the speakers do exceptionally well in reproducing a surrounding sound experience. A thing we did not like about the speakers is the lack of the punch in the bass. The speakers were overall quite soft and a solid bass is needed while watching action sequences or even listening to music. This was the only feature of it that was quite disappointing.

SD Playback
While playing standard definition content, the player did well in displaying the video on the screen as there was no judder faced. We also played back SD content while using an NTFS drive and a USB flash drive formatted in FAT32. The picture quality was really good and there was no lag noticed after connecting the drives to the player. Again, the sound of these speakers fare really well in reproducing the surround sound. Though one need not turn on the 3D sound mode, it is better if they do as the volume and clarity of the speakers come to the fore.

Other Performances
The remote control of the player is really good as the buttons featured here are bold and they feel sturdy to survive the wear and tear of daily usage. It is very responsive as well and and we did not need to face it directly at the system for it to function. The performances from Internet TV channels like YouTube were great but it also boils down to the speed of the Internet at one’s home.

Finished in all gloss

Finished in all gloss

Verdict
The LG HX906TX is available in India at an MRP of Rs. 59,990 and one may get it at a lesser amount as well. The home theatre system has by far the best surround sound performances from a speaker system in this price range. Though this may not be the exact choice for audiophiles as they may want a speaker set that delivers better audio quality and not just cinema quality sound. However, it can certainly be a good choice for those looking for a really high quality speaker set that can be easily setup. The price of this system is rather on the higher side as compared to other 5.1 channel home theatre systems. If price is no constraint then this will be an attractive option, however, if not, then there are a range of other options available in the market at a price which is a lot less but offers not as great surround sound performances in comparison to this model from LG.

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