It may not come with a separate subwoofer, but this curvy soundbar impresses
Soundbars are currently home cinema’s hero products and the HTL5120 is a fine example of the genre. The design is more luxurious than the price tag suggests, with silky black cloth, brushed silver panels and curvy gloss-black ports at both ends. It can be installed on the wall or tabletop, with an orientation sensor switching the sound to suit its position.
Connections are generous, with two HDMI v1.4 inputs and an ARC-ready output, plus optical, coaxial, analogue stereo and 3.5mm inputs. There’s no USB port, but built-in Bluetooth provides easy music streaming from phones and laptops. On-board decoding covers Dolby Digital and DTS but not HD audio.
In action the HTL5120 sounds great. With 120W in the tank it floods the room with rich, muscular sound, lending weight and authority to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's DTS track. The breathtaking prologue is handled with a silky, smooth quality; high frequencies shimmer and sparkle as Smaug wreaks havoc in Erebor – the chink of gold and the rustle of trees sit crisply above the dragon’s tight thumping footsteps and the cries of terrified dwarves. Even without an outboard sub, the Philips' tightly-integrated bass lends depth and doesn't muddy the sound. Crank up the volume and the sound doesn’t distort either – explosions and crashes are aggressive but always well controlled.
A Virtual Surround Sound mode adds a little extra width to scenes like the rain-strewn Stone Giants battle, but surround sound it is not – stick with regular stereo to enjoy this great-value 'bar.
Price: £250 Approx
Samsung's bright star: Super-bright UE65JS9500 flagship curved TV sets a new standard for 4K/Ultra HD!
The 10 Commandments of AV: We reveal the golden rules of home cinema – and when it's okay to break them
TV temptations: Affordable 40/42in flatscreens from Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba duke it out in our grouptest
High-end heroes! Stunning NAD Master Series M17 processor and M27 power amp make a compelling case for investing in AV separates
Win! Win! Win! Give your TV an audio upgrade courtesy of a Yamaha YSP-2500 Digital Sound Projector in our exclusive competition!
Plus: All of the latest home cinema tech,
Blu-ray/DVD reviews, and a whole lot more!
Want to see your home cinema system featured in the pages of HCC? Click here for more info.
Home Cinema Choice is proud to be a member of EISA.
Visit www.eisa.eu for more info.