The trend is setting in where many people are opting in for a home theatre system rather than assembling their own surround sound system. Manufacturers are unveiling stylish home theatre systems with a wide array of features as compared to earlier budget friendly models.
Home entertainment in a budget
Samsung has launched the HT D555 HTS which is a 5.1 channel DVD home theatre system that features four tall boy speakers. Let's take a closer look to see if it is a hit or miss.
Design and Build Quality
The Samsung HT-D555 is a stylish looking home theatre system and has a glossy black finish. The player itself has a built-in amplifier and a single tray for loading DVDs. The glossy black front panel features the touch sensitive controls and the single disk DVD tray. When ejected, the DVD tray slides out easily however the response time is a bit slow for it to activate. There are touch-sensitive keys along the right side of the tray on the front panel for eject, function, stop, play/pause, on/off and volume.
Pretty, plain and simple
These keys are very responsive and have a blue LED lighting. On the bottom right of the player are the ports for mics, AUX and a bay that houses a USB port. This bay is concealed by a plastic flap, giving the player an all round clean, stylish, simplistic and sturdy look and feel. The player has all the connectivity options at the back with colour coded plugs for speakers, digital audio in, HDMI out, composite AUX in, component out and an FM antenna.
These tall boy speakers on the D555 have a height of 4.27 feet and feature three drivers that are exposed. They are two mid-range drivers and one tweeter. The tall boy speakers are finished with the same glossy black as seen on the player. The smaller centre channel speaker also features the same three drivers giving all the speakers a sort of uniformity. The sub woofer stands 1.28 feet tall and like the rest of this system, it too is stylish and sturdy in design. The bundled up remote control that came along with the player is very similar in design and layout to the Samsung Series 8 UA55D8000 television we saw recently. The remote control has a solid build and the buttons are nicely spaced out. However one issue we noticed was that when a button was pressed, the whole panel of buttons seemed to get depressed as well. This was not a major issue and was noticed only upon close inspection.
The home theatre comes with a DVD player. The player supports upscaling of standard definition videos to high definition and the ability to play various formats. The player can’t handle high-definition videos though. Karaoke is also supported. The 5.1 channel speakers are another interesting and stylish feature of this player.
The interface of the player is simple in design with options for video, music, photos and settings. The interface looks pretty awful on a large TV due to quality of the artwork used - the text and icons have jagged edges. While navigating through each menu, all content can be seen in a grid manner.
Feature packed remote, similar to other Samsung devices
This makes it easier to scroll through different content to access what you want. The Settings menu is pretty straight forward with options to tweak the display, audio, system and language. The aspect ratio is locked to 16:9 in the display menu so no tweaking can be done to change the ratio. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the player could read portable hard drives; usually these players can support USB flash drives up to a maximum of 8GB.
Samsung claims that this player is able to read a wide variety of media formats such as DivX, XVid, MP3, WMA, WMV and JPG. We noticed that formats such as MKV could not be played.
We tested this home theatre system by playing back a variety of music genres and movies with different formats. The video playback of the Samsung HT D555 was overall pleasing. Video playback rendered well however, only the aforementioned formats were readible. Formats not specified on the spec sheet like MKV or MP4 were not visible on the screen to be played.
Proprietary but easy to figure connects for speakers
We played a variety of genres on this player and we were impressed with the audio quality of it. The speakers have a total power of RMS 1000 Watts and were way more impressive than the ones we saw with the Sony BDV-E870. The front speakers performed very well and a lot of definition was noticeable where the tones were soft from instruments like cymbals. However, we did notice that after cranking the volume to 70 per cent, a jarring of sound was heard. The woofer on the other hand was quite soft. Audio tracks with a lot of bass lacked the amount of thump expected.
The remote control is very responsive and there was no need to point it directly at the player for a function to be activated. We also did not like the screensaver too much and noticed that it was pixelated, giving it a somewhat cheap feel. Overall the performance of this home theatre system was good where audio and video playback was concerned.
The Samsung HT D555 HTS sells for a maximum retail price of Rs. 34,900. We feel that though this could be a nice buy, the company could have added a Blu-ray player to the mix instead of the standard DVD player.
Neat design and decent performance to go with it
For a price of Rs. 5,000 more, the Sony BDV-E870 offers all these features as well as the ability to play back 3D content. We feel that since Blu-rays are becoming the norm these days, that would have been an interesting feature to add to the vastly populated home theatre system market.