LG BH7430P 5.1 Home Cinema System Review
LG is packing it all in
You could never accuse LG of skimping on the features and, despite its realitively budget price-tag, the BH7430P is still packed to the gills with goodies.The market for 5.1 (or above) packages is dwindling as the soundbar continues to eat away at their potential sales. This makes the number of multi-channel all-in-one systems in LG's range unusually large, with this particular package occupying the mid-ground. At present internet prices, it can be picked up for around 300 pounds which, when you consider what that gets you, is an almost astonishingly low sum of money.
Aside from the necessary speakers and amplification, the BH7430 sports a 3D Blu-ray player that's capable of scaling to 4K, wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, access to LG's suite of online content and more besides. It would almost have to fall flat on its face not to justify the cost. For perspective, a mid-range soundbar occupies a similar price-point so this system might be just the kind of 'cheap'chic to put 5.1 back in fashion.
Design & InstallationThe LG BH7430P looks a lot like their Blu-ray player and PVR line up, only with a bit more depth to accommodate the amplification circuits. The unit is sort of two-tiered with a charcoal-grey brushed metal effect top portion and a moulded black plastic bottom. It actually feels very well built – price considered – and the slot loading disc mechanism, of last year, has been replaced by a quieter, tray-loader this time around. To the right of the disc tray is a handy VF display and above that, on the top surface, some basic touch-button controls.
The back panel has a fan, that we can’t say we ever noticed during operation, two HDMI inputs and one HDMI output. There's an optical digital input; a singular analogue stereo input; a LAN port and an antenna connector for the built-in FM tuner. On the other side of the rear panel are the terminals for the supplied satellite, centre and subwoofer speakers. To make set-up easy, all the terminals are colour coded to match corresponding strips of tape wrapped around the speaker wire.
It’s just a case of remembering which is positive and which is negative. The tower style front surrounds require a screw - or 4 - to construct but it’s relative child’s play and there’s a nice ‘tunnel’ in the design which means you can easily hide the wiring but do that before fitting the bases!
Set-up can be done in matter of minutes
The supplied remote control gets the job done and is quite slim and comfortable to hold. There’s even a groove on the back to rest your index finger in so, despite the fact it’s quite long, it rests easily in one hand. Yes, that is important. It has all the buttons one would expect, and probably a few more besides, but the ones at the bottom specially created to control LG TVs are terribly placed and too small.
Menus & SetupThe Home Menu is split in to six icons and there’s a customisable shortcut bar, at the bottom, where you can place your most used apps and features. The Settings sub-menu is fairly stripped down compared to some of the higher-end Blu-ray players and most of the defaults should be fine in the Display Menu but we’d certainly encourage you to get in to the Audio Menu to ensure your speaker distances and levels are set to match your listening position. It will only take you a couple of minutes and it’s definitely worth the effort.
As noted above, there’s nothing to getting the speakers wired in and the two HDMI inputs will allow you to enjoy other, external sources in 5.1 channels but LG has another neat trick up their sleeves with the optical audio connection. Provided you have the HDMI out hooked up to an ARC (Audio Return Channel) compliant HDMI port on your TV, you can use your TVs remote to control the volume through the optical connection.
This might not sound much but we’ve come across numerous problems with audio lag when using HDMI/ARC devices from different manufacturers, whereas we’ve not encountered the same issues from S/PDIF.
FeaturesThe BH7430P – budget or not – has an excellent selection of Smart TV features. There’s lots of apps available through the Smart World portal but most of the best stuff can already be accessed through the ‘Premium’ area. Here you will find the likes of Netflix, YouTube, iPlayer, Blinkbox and LOVEFiLM apps but there’s a notable lack of the other free to air catch up services. We realise that Samsung has exclusivity on the ITV Player, for now, but what of 4OD and Demand 5? It's stil a good set of video apps but could be better.There’s also built-in WiFi and Bluetooth for your tablet and smartphone audio streaming which can also be done in reverse using the new remote app for iOS and Android. Private Sound Mode allows your phone or tablet to receive the audio from disc based content through your headphones, which might be useful if you’re sat a way back and don’t want to wake the family. It’s also good to note that the Android and iOS apps are pretty much as slick as one another, which isn’t always the case.
There’s also a very good media player which supports MKV, DIVX, WMV HD, AVI, MPEG, AVCHD, XVID, MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC and FLAC media files whether streamed or via USB and, speaking of which, there’s something called USB Direct Recording allowing you to record CD tracks directly to your music player/phone/tablet.
Smart TV functions are impressive
Video PerformanceAs luck would have it, we were able to check out another of the BH7430’s advertised features – namely 4K ‘upscaling’. We’ve actually had two UHD TVs come and go during the time the unit has been here so the chance for comparison between its scaling abilities and those of the Panasonic WT600 and Samsung 65F9000 presented itself. We realise, at this stage, this is very much a ‘for what it’s worth’ scenario but, anyhow, we have to say that the scaling of both the TVs was better than the LG could manage with some noticeable artefacting on even 1080p content, with edges breaking and some ringing around lines. So, there you have it, it’s officially a name-check feature and of no real value. Not that you were considering its purchase based on that element of performance but since it was here… All other areas of video performance were near exemplary.Standard definition DVDs scaled to match a 1080p television looked just about as good as one could expect with none of the scaling artefacts noted above discernible. As ever, good animation titles present the best opportunity for the scaling to succeed and there’s no shortage of that kind of action around here. In some cases – The Little Mermaid, for example - you would be hard pressed to distinguish the DVD from the Blu-ray via the 7430. There should be virtually no challenge in delivering both 3D and 2D Blu-ray discs and, sure enough, each was provided spotlessly with no disc incompatibilities, colour tainting or extraneous processing placed upon the content. A showing of Oz the Great and Powerful to a room full of terrified kids proved a particular high point during the stay. It simply looked sublime in both 2D and 3D.
Video processing is excellent
Audio PerformanceIf we had a complaint about last year’s equivalent model it was that there was a distinct lack of bass presence but LG must have been putting some work in here during the intervening months and it’s a much deeper experience now. As much as the pictures dazzled, it was probably the sub that proved the star of the aforementioned showing of Oz the Great and Powerful. The sound quality of that particular Blu-ray is superb and the system served it commendable justice, maintaining clean dialogue and very convincing ambient effects throughout. Some of the low frequency effects can fair throw you out the rockin’ chair and the sub handled them surprisingly well with no overt distortion or lack of immediacy. Naturally we’ve reviewed better, the sub could be distinctly placed in the room, at times, when we’d prefer it not to but you really cannot complain at this price!
Big improvements in the subwoofer department
The rear surrounds are, perhaps, a touch on the thin side but that is again to be expected in this territory and since there’s usually more emphasis on the front and LFE channels, hardly a great mark against. We'll ’give a special mention to LG’s ‘3D Movie’ DSP here, too, which worked wonderfully with a number of 5.1 audio tracks, adding a palpable sense of extra height at little apparent expense to anything else. In terms of music, the BH7430 is no slouch, either. It’s a bit ‘poppy’ and bright for me but there are other DSP settings to mellow things out but I always came away with tired ears after any extended listening. Let’s not forget this is an all-rounder, not a specialist piece of Hi-Fi kit and we’d expect most to be more than satisfied with the overall performance.
- Engaging surround sound
- Excellent Blu-ray & DVD playback
- Great Smart TV features
- Phenomenal price
- Lots of connectivity options
- Rear surrounds are a bit thin
- 4K scaling not great
LG BH7430P 5.1 Home Cinema System ReviewYou have to wonder how LG can cram so much in to this box whilst still hitting this price-point. Perspective time: at full ticket cost, the BH7430 will set you back comfortably under £400 and can be had, presently, for £300, or thereabouts. That’s the asking price of a mid-range soundbar which will not get close to matching this package when it comes to serving your movie soundtracks, in terms of immersion. That’s not to mention that, as well as the 2 extra audio channels, you’re also getting a top-notch 3D capable Blu-ray player and boatload of smart features. We don’t know how they’ve done it but LG most certainly has, making the LG BH7430P a nailed on Best Buy.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £379.99
Ease of Use7
Value for Money9
Our Review Ethos
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