The main problem with today’s flat screen TVs is that, because they lack the cabinet of the old CRT models, you tend to get pretty weedy sound from their built-in speakers. This accounts for the popularity of multi-speaker home cinema systems but they have their own problems with a mass of ugly cables which you need to hide or risk the cat getting tangled in them.
If you want decent sound but like to keep things neat, tidy and feline friendly then the answer is a soundbar that sits below the screen. LG has released a new take on this with its SoundPlate LAP340, a sleek 35mm high device with wireless connectivity that sits under your TV stand but still packs a powerful 4.1 channel punch with dual subwoofers.
Nobody has yet had the hands on – or should that be ears-on? – time to do a full review but initial impressions seem positive. Whilst comparing the device to a large ice cream sandwich (not sure where you get your black ice cream, guys) Trusted Reviews said, “In the noisy showroom floor, the Sound Plate cranked up to maximum volume delivers a satisfyingly powerful grunt of sound. It was so loud and powerful that it managed to knock the remote sitting on top of the Plate out of its display stand.”
It’s natural to worry when standing your pride and joy widescreen TV on top of another box but they didn’t think there’s be a problem, “The 55-inch LG TV on its metal stand looked secure on the system and didn’t show any noticeable signs of strain from the weight of the television.”
Trusted Reviews summed up their preview saying, “It’s a great speaker solution if you don’t have space to mount a soundbar on the wall or room for a separate subwoofer. Most importantly, it has the sound performance to match the chic, minimalist, space-saving design home cinema enthusiasts will surely love.”
What Hi-Fi? was impressed by the wireless capability, “The LG SoundPlate can be connected to the TV wirelessly (handy if your telly is wall mounted), or using a single cable if you prefer a wired connection. Bluetooth is included as standard so users can stream audio from smartphones, laptops and tablets to the SoundPlate.”
Gizmodo too seemed to be worried about how well the unit would cope with larger sets, “The Sound Plate is 35mm high and is designed to hide underneath a flat-screen TV up to 55-inches in size. Anything larger and presumably the base will be too wide, and the TV too heavy.”
LG claims that the SoundPlate automatically adjusts its mode, “to make every line of dialogue on the user’s favourite news and entertainment shows easier to hear…” Good news for those who complain that you can’t hear the actors for the background music. Whilst at the same time its movie mode offers, “convincing” surround sound.
Due out later this month with a price tag of £349 the SoundPlate looks like it could be a tempting piece of kit.