The Philips HTS8140 sound bar is a complete system which will offer you a DVD player, an iPod dock, AM/FM radio and amazing surround sound from a single sound bar and a subwoofer. This unit is everything you need if you plan on watching high definition movies on a flat screen TV. Instead of buying extra speakers, a new movie player and an iPod dock, you can simply get the HTS8140 as the perfect all in one package.
Unlike other sound bar systems around, this one is over 40 inches long. This means that it will fit perfectly under a large flat panel TV, but you can also mount it somewhere on your wall, preferably right under your wall mounted TV. Most sound bars come with a great design, but this one is especially attractive. It will fit great next to many TVs produced by Philips and almost any other black flat panel TV. The subwoofer that you will receive with the system is equality attractive in design and you will surely find a place for it. In most cases, the subwoofer ends up somewhere under a table because no one wants to look at a large cube. With the Philips HTS8140, the situation is different because the people from Philips put a lot of effort into creating the perfect design for the sound bar and subwoofer alike.
Setting Up The Philips HTS8140
After you decide where to place the system, you will probably want to connect your equipment. You can easily set up your gaming console through the sound bar, but you can also include your computer, a projector or even your old VCR system. If you plan on mounting this unit onto your wall, you should plug all the wires in first. These connections are on the back of the system and if you plan on making any changes, you will have to remove it from the wall mount.
There are a few cables that you will have to use for powering the sound bar and the subwoofer. These units are connected one to the other through a single umbilical cord. This means that you can install the system onto your wall and only two cables will come out: the power line and the connection cord. If you are lucky, you might even find a way to hide them.
When it comes to audio inputs, you will get two stereo ones and optical and coaxial digital inputs; an FM antenna is included in the package if you also want to listen to radio. On the output section, you will notice the HDMI slot, the RGB SCART output and one component video output. The console is equipped with an iPod dock and you can also use the USB port or the line in input. A great advantage of buying the Philips HTS8140 is that you will get a SCART cable, a line in cable, a wall mounting bracket and most importantly, a HDMI cable. With other sound bars, you will have to go back to the store when you realize that these cables aren’t included and they can cost you hundreds of dollars.
The sound bar contains two tweeters and six drivers which will create the amazing surround sound. They will be accompanied by the included subwoofer which will offer some extra sound power. The technology used for creating surround sound without 5 speakers is called Ambisound by Philips. This basically means that each of the six drivers is positioned in a different way and that the sound will spread throughout the room.
The DVD console will play all types of video files. The most important ones are MPEG1, MPEG 2, WMV 9, DviX Ultra, Dvix 6.0, DivX 5, DivX 4.x, DivX 3.11. On the audio part, you can play MP3s and WMAs. The disc formats which are accepted by the DVD console are CD-R, CD-RW, CD/SVCD, DVD-Video, DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW. The only negative side that you will notice when it comes to accepted file formats is that the player won’t detect AAC files. JPG and JPEG files are also accepted. A good part about this type of player is that it can display even ripped audio and video, which won’t happen on most consoles. It can also handle DTS, Dolby Pro-Logic II and Dolby Digital 5.1.
A remote is included in the package, but you can also control the sound bar through the touch screen interface. You just have to tap the panel and it will easily respond to your commands.
Sound and Video Quality
The Ambisound technology will perform admirably. If you already own a 5.1 channel system, you will notice that the sound bar can’t offer that type of quality when it comes to surround sound. However, the Philips HTS8140 works great considering that you will only use 2 units instead of 6 or 8, as you would with 5.1 or 7.1 systems. If you find a good position, you will get a somewhat complete surround sound experience 90% percent of the time, so the system works great compared to other sound bars. Those who can afford a complete 5.1 system and are searching for speakers because they want to get surround sound should avoid sound bars in general.
The Philips HTS8140 is recommended to those who want to save space and use the console as a DVD player or for listening to music from time to time. This unit is indeed a complete system because you can use it for anything without being disappointed. You can crank up the volume and the subwoofer will still offer clear audio and you can watch movies and still hear the dialogue perfectly. The best part about it is that it has enough power for a small party and the quality of the sound will always be close to perfection.
The video quality offered by this system will surely surprise you. You can play your regular DVDs and they will be upscaled to the format you desire: 720p, 1080i or 1080p. While some system may have a hard time doing this, the Philips HTS8140 will get rid of the jagged look thanks to the DCDi processing technology. This upscaling system is one of the best on the market and that says a lot. Even on a large projection screen, the quality of the video is impressive and this is one department where the people at Philips outdid themselves.
The sound quality will certainly impress you as soon as you start watching your first movie. You can basically notice the sound filling the entire room and you won’t believe you don’t really own a 5.1 surround system. Even so, the moment when sound will come from behind you will be rare. The dialog audio is always clear, no matter what happens in the movie and this is certainly a plus. The subwoofer is not necessarily large in size, but the sound it can produce definitely packs a punch. Distortion will never appear, even if you set the volume to maximum.
Considering the fact that this sound bar was created for movies, you shouldn’t expect an amazing result when listing to MP3s. If you are not an expert, you won’t notice much, but those who are expecting extremely high quality will notice that the Philips HTS8140 has some problems with the bass levels. This is just being picky and most people won’t notice this effect at all.
When you first start looking around the menu offered by this sound bar, you will notice the image presets. Some of them might look better in rare situations, but the standard one seems to be the best on most occasions. The True Life system will make some images look better by improving the sharpness. Gamma and Chroma Delay adjustments are also available.
You can set up the audio for best performance by modifying the room acoustics, listening position and room placement.
In the world of sound bars, the Philips HTS8140 is one of the best. Not only you will get an impressive surround sound performance, but you will also enjoy the DVD console, the iPod dock and all of the video features which are included in the package.
If you are not looking for the quality offered by a 5.1 or 7.1 system, but still want to get high quality video and sound, the HTS8140 is the right unit for you. The design will attract anyone in just a couple of seconds and if you turn on a movie, you will certainly seal the deal. While the sound system performs admirably, the video quality is the key feature of this product and no one will be disappointed by it. Watching a movie will never be the same after a few minutes of watching one on the Philips HTS8140. This is not the best product on the market, but it is certainly one of the best ones in this price range.