So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
LG BH7520TW home theatre system
This home theatre system matches well with LG's Cinema 3D TVs
- Easy setup
- Reasonable sound quality
- Full suite of Smart TV services
- Minor distortion at high volume
- Wireless receiver for rear speakers is bulky
LG’s BH7520TW tacks on five speakers and a subwoofer to a 3D Blu-ray player. It’s a reasonably compact, reasonably powerful, generally decent-sounding home theatre system in a box - and while it might not have the same brilliance as a proper speaker setup, it’s pretty good for the asking price.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
LG makes a full 22 home theatre systems, ranging from single-speaker soundbars to room-dominating ‘3D’ surround sound setups. The BH7520TW is the second best model in the LG home theatre line-up, beaten only by the similar BH9520TW.
LG BH7520TW: Design and setup
The BH7520TW incorporates four main floorstanding speakers — front and rear, left and right, stereo ‘tallboy’ speakers with single tweeters and double mid-range drivers. The centre speaker uses a similar mid-tweeter-mid design, while the separate subwoofer adds some low-frequency extension.
This makes the BH7520TW a traditional 5.1 surround sound setup, a good match for the surround sound audio tracks of DVD and Blu-ray movie discs. The rear speakers of the BH7520TW can be connected wirelessly, which is a useful feature if you’re intending to use the system in a large, complex or just minimalist room — it saves running extra audio cables and hiding them wherever possible.
The Blu-ray player of the BH7520TW also incorporates the amplifier for the front three speakers and subwoofer. Its front fascia is a simple split design, with gloss black plastic and dark brushed metal that matches well with the LG LM7600 LED TV that we tested the system with. Behind a flip-down panel on the left of the player, an auxiliary 3.5mm input joins a USB port for connecting a portable hard drive or flash drive.
The rear of the combo receiver/player is where you’ll find the speaker cable terminals for centre, subwoofer, front left and right speakers, along with an analog stereo and optical digital audio input, as well as HDMI and composite video ouput, There’s an Ethernet LAN port for connecting the BH7520TW to your home network and the Internet. Wi-Fi is not built-in on the BH7520TW.
Also important on the back of the receiver is the port for the system’s RF wireless system. An external box receives signals from the slot-in wireless card, feeding audio to the two rear speakers that it connects to. This home theatre setup means you’ll have the Blu-ray player/receiver at the front of the room with the front speakers, and a secondary box at the back of the room receiving wireless signals and powering the rear speakers. It’s convenient for avoiding unsightly speaker cables, but you will have to find somewhere to put the rear wireless receiver/amplifier.
The remote control for the whole shebang is a regular LG candy-bar unit. If you’ve got a LG TV, the layout is instantly familiar, although a central volume control replaces channel-changing. The buttons are clearly labeled for the most part (apart from the secondary functions of the five-way navigational pad).
Setting up the BH7520TW is actually surprisingly easy; the biggest task is unpacking the system from its Tetris-like packaging. Make absolutely sure that this is the home theatre that you want before signing on the dotted line, because it’s nearly impossible to get back in the box (trust us on this one).
To get the home theatre system set up, it’s a simple if slightly time-consuming procedure of constructing the three-part floor-standing speakers, positioning everything in the room, and running speaker cables where appropriate. We used HDMI to connect the BH7520TW to our test LG LM7600 TV, and used an Ethernet connection for Internet.
LG BH7520TW: Sound quality, performance and features
The LG BH7520TW is no stand-alone, individually-constructed home theatre system, but it’s definitely a step up from the speakers built into any TV on the market (save perhaps the Bose VideoWave).
When we played The Dark Knight and Avatar Blu-ray movies, along with The Matrix on DVD, the BH7520TW picked up on the surround sound audio automatically, with no mucking around needed. It’s possible to select stereo audio and have only the front speakers playing, and it’s possible to up-mix stereo audio into all five speakers using the ‘3D’ sound effect.
The BH7520TW’s speakers and subwoofer do a reasonably good job for a home-theatre-in-a-box setup. Treble is strong from the front speakers, the centre speaker handles dialogue and mid-range sounds well, and the subwoofer is adept at adding some extra power to cinematic music and sound effects.
There is some distortion at higher volume levels, mostly from the subwoofer — trying too hard to provide in-fill for the compact floor-standing speakers, especially if bass has been turned up. In default settings, it’s good until around three-quarter volume, and even after then the level of distortion is minor and much outweighed by the amount of the sound being produced. Only loud bass notes at maximum volume cause significant bass distortion and crackling.
The surround sound effect is realistic, especially if you’ve got a movie that’s been well-mastered for it. The BH7520TW supports all common and recent audio codecs, so even the most demanding Blu-rays will be played with no fuss at the highest quality. The stereo option — using only the front left and right tallboy speakers and subwoofer — isn’t nearly as powerful, but it does show up the inferior quality of any TV’s built-in slim speakers.
The BH7520TW has the same Smart setup of Internet services as other high-end LG Blu-ray players and LG’s Smart TV range. It’s one of the better video-on-demand and app-based platforms we’ve seen this year, coming in roughly on par with Samsung and slightly better than Sony and Panasonic.
With ABC iView and otther catch-up TV, as well as movies on demand and plenty of other free apps, it offers plenty of ways to pass the time if you’ve run out of movies or TV series on disc. The BH7520TW can also play a wide range of compressed media files (like MP3, MP4, MKV, JPG et al) off an external hard drive or flash drive as well as through its DLNA network service.
LG BH7520TW: Conclusion
LG’s all-in-one Blu-ray player, A/V receiver and home theatre speaker system is a convenient replacement for a cobbled-together home cinema. It’s not going to rival a proper sound system, but for the price it’s convenient, simple, surprisingly easy to setup, and has a wealth of useful features included.
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