LG puts Blu-ray player in a home cinema speaker

Four speakers, one sub - and a Blu-ray player in there somewhere
Four speakers, one sub - and a Blu-ray player in there somewhere

LG continues to experiment with home cinema technology, including a 4.1 system with a Blu-ray player integrated into one of the front speakers.

The slightly strange-looking HB994PK is a 1000W system with a vertical moving slot loader built into the front right speaker.

The entire system connects wirelessly and is fully DLNA certified to let you stream content from external hard drives.

Is 4.1 the new 5.1 or the new 2.1?

The HB994PK has an 'invisible' (ie. pseudo) centre speaker, supports YouTube access and has a Mood Lighting system to calm your nerves after all that innovation. The Blu-ray player supports BD Live and DivX HD, and upscales DVDs, naturally.

Other home cinema launches at IFA include the HLB54S Blu-ray Sound Bar - an all-in-one home cinema system with 430W output and a wireless subwoofer, again DLNA and Wi-Fi certified. This also comes with an iPod dock.

LG's premium Blu-ray 5.1 home cinema set-up is the HB954PB, a double HDMI-packing system supporting Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, iPod/iPhone dock, DLNA wireless and small(ish) surround speakers in champagne and silver-blue finishes.

Among other projectors, Blu-ray players and media boxes, LG also launched the N2B1, the first Blu-ray built-in Network Attached Storage device, playing, archiving and publishing Blu-ray discs. In addition to iTunes server access, it is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac OS. The unique Virtual Disc Library not only shares and manages files, but also organizes images and videos into slide shows or albums. Users can easily swap or add a hard drive, eliminating complications when needing more storage.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.