Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Wireless DVD home theatre system with great image quality
- Wireless works well, Full HD up-scaling, powerful
- Distorts at high volumes, mid-range distant
LG’s HT903WA system will suit larger lounge rooms where unsightly cables aren’t wanted. You’ll need a fair few power outlets – you can’t escape the need for electricity just yet – and the system is somewhat large and ungainly, but it does provide decent quality sound.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
If you've got a larger-than-normal TV room or don't like lengths of unsightly cable then salvation comes in the form of wireless home theatre. LG's HT903WA sounds decent and can handle a variety of home entertainment tasks while offering the convenience of wireless speakers.
Although the speakers are quite thin, they're quite tall and weighty. Thankfully, the speakers' stands are wide, so tipping the speakers over requires plenty of effort. The combination receiver/amplifier follows the DVD player form factor — long and low — while the system's subwoofer sits upright. In the majority of home theatre systems the subwoofer is an eyesore, and the HT903WA's is no exception. The squat black box disrupts the otherwise slim and curvy looks of the system.
Setup is exceptionally simple. The rear speakers are set up without speaker wire — speaker terminals aren't included on the rear units anyway — and each requires a power point of their own. Oddly enough the DVD receiver unit retains speaker terminal outputs for rear left and rear right speakers, perhaps for optional configuration at a later stage.
A decent number of ports are included. The rear of the receiver has an HDMI output, as well as component and composite outputs. Audio is also taken care of by an optical input as well as a set of analog RCAs. There's also an input for a proprietary iPod cable; it works with a variety of recent models.
The receiver functions just like a DVD player, with a remarkably clear and easy-to-read display built in. Powering the unit on only takes a few seconds and then the CD, DVD or disc loaded with DivX video will play automatically.
Whatever the content, the HT903WA will up-scale its resolution as far as 1080p, making it suitable to display on even the newest Full HD panels. Working in harmony with this is LG's SimpLink system, which allows for other components connected via HDMI (the television, for example) to be controlled with a single remote. We tested this with LG's latest 42LG60FD Scarlet TV and it worked without any hiccups or errors.
Video quality from the system is among the best we've ever seen from a standard DVD, rivalling the up-scaling quality of some Blu-ray disc players. Videos looked consistently crisp and clear, with significantly more detail exposed than we expected from a standard-definition DVD. There is a huge difference in quality with up-scaling disabled: videos looked comparatively blocky and blurry on the Full HD panel.
Sound quality isn't ground-breaking. While the HT903WA provides a decent accompaniment to movies, the system isn't as versatile as is necessary for music. It's able to reach high volumes, but distortion becomes an issue at higher listening levels.
The system's four floor-standing speakers are capable when it comes to treble, but not outstanding. It's relatively easy for companies to make speakers with decent treble, thanks to the space requirements of tweeter drivers. At low and moderate volumes the speakers sound balanced and measured, but at higher volumes treble starts to get noticeably harsh and distorted.
Mid-range is present, but seems distant and sounds somewhat unrealistic. Especially during vocal- and guitar-heavy sections of music, we were left a little disappointed. The speakers seemed unable to completely fill the room with sound before the treble became overpowering and painfully loud.
Bass is handled decently by the system's subwoofer. It's nothing to write home about; it's slightly too boomy and not deep enough to reproduce cinematic explosions. Bass from the HT903WA is also quite slow — meaning that sound lingers for quite some time — making it unsuitable for musical tracks that require tight, accurate bass.
It's not a very good system for listening to music, but the HT903WA is a reasonable option for the casual movie watcher that has a Full HD television (but no Blu-ray player) and doesn't want wires trailing around the room.
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