In the boxy, tallboy world of home cinema systems, elegance can be a scarce commodity. But if you don't mind some iconic tech taking the limelight away from your lounge decor, LG's new HT7622TT, codename 'the Champagne Flute system', could be the 5.1 setup for you.
Designed to complement to LG's Design Art TVs, the kit can, among other things, blast out 700W of sound and upscale films to 1080p. The champagne flute look is particularly stunning because of how tall the speakers are – well over a metre – with the only clumsy element being the slightly unimaginative subwoofer. But you can hide that in a dark corner.
Setting up the system is a doddle thanks to colour-coded speaker cables and no-nonsense onscreen menus. The remote control makes a decent fist of letting you access all functions, although the main disc navigation buttons could have been a bit bigger.
Connections are pretty acceptable, too. An HDMI output lets you 'upgrade' movies to 1080p, a USB input connects to MP3 players, digicams or USB memory sticks, and there are both digital and analogue audio inputs so external kit can make use of the HT762TT's audio talents.
The 700W output raised hopes that the HT762TT would sound as good as it looks, and we weren't disappointed. There's no pseudo surround processing or 2.1 compromise here – you get full surround, with the effects from action flicks flying into all corners of your room with engaging abandon. The speakers are also loud enough to retain clarity without distortion at pretty prodigious volumes.
Not that you have to limit yourself to 5.1 channels. A 'Virtual Sound Matrix' claims to create five extra virtual speakers to produce a 10.1-channel effect. Unfortunately this mode, while expanding the soundstage around your room, loses voices in the mix, making it more of a novelty than a killer extra.
The subwoofer, though, joins forces with those champagne satellites so immaculately that you can't hear the join, and never sounds boomy or baggy. If we had one complaint it would be that the treble sometimes appears slightly dislocated from the rest of the mix.
Thankfully, the system's pictures keep the ball rolling. Using the standard 576p output, we were surprised at just how sharp, colourful, contrasty and short on noise the picture was.
The system doesn't upscale discs quite as successfully as the best standalone DVD decks, with precious little extra sharpness to report. In fact, at times upscaled pictures actually looked slightly less crisp than non-upscaled ones. But the standard definition pictures look so good you probably won't feel much of an urge to upscale them anyway.