To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

LG HLB54S review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £447
inc VAT

Crisp, detailed sounds and plenty of inputs, but hardly any online features and it's not designed for wall mounting.

Sound bars are the perfect accompaniment to a wall-mounted TV, and building a Blu-ray player into one keeps everything neat. As such, we’re at a loss as to why this LG sound bar isn’t designed for wall mounting, with a 195mm deep design that tapers towards the back. Did it not occur to LG’s engineers to mount the Blu-ray drive vertically?

Instead, the HLB54S must sit on a shelf below or just in front of the TV. That means you’ll probably have to get some furniture custom made or settle for a slightly clumsy setup where the sound bar may well obscure the TV’s remote control sensor.

However, those who can find a suitable home for the HLB54S will be rewarded with an extremely handsome home cinema system. The slot-loading drive and touch-sensitive buttons ooze class, and the wireless subwoofer can be hidden out of sight. There are two HDMI inputs for hooking up a TV set-top box and games console, and Wi-Fi is built in. An external iPod dock is included, and it’s easy to switch between the iPod’s and LG remote controls.


The LG Netcast included is a cut-down version we’ve seen on other LG systems and only supports YouTube video. We were able to log into our YouTube account but this only let us view and not edit our Favourites, and didn’t give access to Subscriptions, Playlists or our own videos. That meant the text search facility was the only way to locate our own videos – thankfully, entering text using the remote was relatively quick. Aspect ratios were handled correctly and the transport controls allowed fast forwarding and rewinding in 30-second jumps. HD versions of YouTube videos were unavailable, but that’s true of all the blu-ray players we’ve tested to date.

Sound quality was generally high, but opinion was divided as to whether the strong high-frequency response sounded bright and clear or a little shrill and cold. The generously proportioned subwoofer had no problems handling explosive Blu-ray scenes at high volume. However, as usual for a sound bar, the ability to create surround sound effects from this narrow strip of speakers was questionable at best. At low volumes, there wasn’t much discernable improvement over using our TV’s built-in speakers.

The HLB54S is much better value than the Panasonic BFT800, and we prefer its bright tone to the Panasonic’s relatively dull one. However, £447 is still a lot to pay for a home cinema system that doesn’t support Blu-ray 3D, can’t deliver true surround sound, offers limited online features (see below) and is a hassle to install. We’d much rather to spend less on a conventional 5.1 surround system.


Price £447
Rating ***


HDMI inputs 2
HDMI outputs 1
Component inputs 0
Component outputs 0
Output resolutions PAL (576i), 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
Total SCART sockets 0
SCART socket type 0
S-Video input 0
S-video output 0
Composite inputs 0
Composite outputs 1
Stereo phono inputs 1
Stereo phono outputs 0
Coaxial S/PDIF inputs 0
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 0
Optical S/PDIF inputs 1
Optical S/PDIF outputs 0
Multi-channel input no
Speaker configuration 2.1
Main unit end speaker connection type integrated
Speaker end speaker connection type integrated
Other connections USB, iPod dock
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11n


Surround sound formats Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD HRA, DTS-HD MA
Optical drive yes
Supported playback disc formats Blu-ray, DVD, CD
Audio format support MP3, AAC, WAV
Video playback formats DivX, AVC, MPEG-2, MPEG-4
Image viewing formats JPEG
Radio FM


Speaker configuration 2.1
RMS power output 430W
RMS power centre N/A
RMS power front 280W
RMS power surround N/A
RMS power subwoofer 150W
Wall mountable no
Centre speaker cable length N/A
Front speaker cable length N/A
Surround speaker cable length N/A


Extras remote control, composite cable, FM antenna, iPod dock
Size 1000x195x104mm
Subwoofer dimensions 215x359x402mm
Centre speaker dimensions N/A
Front speaker dimensions N/A
Surround speaker dimensions N/A
Power consumption standby 2W
Power consumption on 44W

Buying Information

Price £447
Warranty one-year RTB