Philips has developed another soundbar with a 32” flatscreen tv in mind, and the HSB2351/F7 system with 1080p HDMI comes with integrated speakers, amplifiers, a subwoofer, a built-in FM tuner and a DVD player. This seemingly all-in-one soundbar comes with an EasyLink remote control that allows control of multiple devices with a single remote. There is shared connectivity for devices with HDMI CEC compliance.
The design follows the branding of Philips soundbar designs, with the glossy, black finish that lets it complement 32” flatscreen tv and monitors. The main unit is 10.2” x 3.7” x 5.5”, weighing 2.2lbs, while the speaker systems for the left and right channels are 12.2” x 3.7” x 4.7” at 1.8lbs each. Overall, the whole system combined will be 31.5” x 3.8” x 5.5”, and can be either wall mounted or placed on a flat surface.
Included in the purchase is the power adaptor for the main unit, a power cord, a remote control with batteries, a FM wire antenna, an AV cable (red/white/yellow), a USB extension cable, and 4 sets of wall mount brackets and screw.
Setting up the HSB2351/F7
The Philips quick guide is an illustrated guide for connections, while users will still need to refer to the user manual for a better understanding of the set up and installation.
This system is HDMI CEC compatible. It enables connected TV/device to control each other over HDMI. Users that would like to use Philips EasyLink should use the HDMI connection. The cable, however, is not supplied. Also, if the tv has only a DVI connection, users need to get an additional HDMI/DVI adaptor and an extra audio connection to complete the set up.
Upon completion of all hardware setup, users may proceed for system set up, first by enabling the remote control simply by putting in the batteries. Then users are to once again follow the steps in the manual. Users may also activate the Philips EasyLink which uses the HDMI CEC protocol. However, there is no guarantee that the system works 100% on all HDMI CEC devices.
There is not too much to be expected from this compact system that incorporated the more important technologies by Philips. It deploys the Dolby Virtual Speaker technology, but does not really deliver the proclaimed ideal 5.1 channel surround sound experience. When it combines with Dolby Pro Logic II processing, it does give a slightly better performance, sufficient for an average DVD playback movie.Sound and Video quality
The system decoders include Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital, DTS and Stereo. There are several default equalizer settings, namely Action, Classic, Concert, Drama, Gaming, Jazz, News, Party, Rock and Sports. An average user may find that these defaults are sufficient while some users may prefer to do some manual adjustments to get the tone just right for their own preference.
For movies, this simple unit includes a HDMI 1080p up-scaling technology to deliver better images. There is no need for conversions to analog, hence the preservation of better picture quality.
However, while it supports most DivX formats, users need to know that the system only plays DivX videos that are rented or purchased through the DivX registration code of this unit.
Pros and Cons
Setting up the system is easy with a user friendly manual. An average user may choose this system to complete a very simple requirement to have an extra speaker system to complement the flatscreen tv or monitor. While it may be a moderate buy for the average users, audiophiles will find that it lacks the true surround sound experience that they crave for, but will not blame the system for the price that it asks for.
Subtitle files needs to have the exact file name as the movie file. User may need to manually change the file name.
Users also need to bear in mind that an additional HDMI/DVI adaptor is required if the user’s tv has only a DVI connection. An extra audio connection is also needed to complete this connection.
This product retails at a price in-line with its capabilities and what you’d expect to pay. The product is mid-range, and it contains certain features that are typically found on higher end products.