The Philips HTS8141/98 won the award for Best of CES, an innovations award that recognises the best of consumer electronics products in the industry’s hottest product categories. It is also one of the few systems in the market that delivers both surround sound and high definition display with HDMI output.
The subwoofer has a dimension of 12.7” (W) x 16.7” (H) x 12.7” (D) and weighs 12.7kg, while the main unit is 40.5” (W) x 6.6” (H) x 6.1” (D) at 8.9kg. The sleek, glossy black design complements most flatscreen panel tv and monitors in the market, especially suited for large panel displays up to an average of 52” tv. Its main unit has a 4 ohm center speaker with two 2.5” woofer drivers and two 1” soft dome tweeter. Meanwhile, the left/right surround speakers sport four 2.5” full range woofer.
Setting up the Philips HTS8141/98
What users see on the I/O panel is 3 outputs for HDMI, component video and composite video. As for the input, there is just one port for composite video, three for analog audio, one for digital coaxial audio, one for digital optical audio and one USB. Philips also provided an easy-navigation manual that helps users to set up the system without much hassle.
A remote control is also provided.
When users turn on the system for the first time, there will be a set of instructions on the tv to complete the Ambisound setup in order to obtain the best possible surround sound effect. It is important to complete this setup before inserting a disc to play.
Philips included its EasyLink function within this system. The EasyLink function is one which uses the HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) protocol to use a single remote control for HDMI CEC-compliant devices. These connect to the system through HDMI, and there is no guarantee that it works 100 percent.
Sound and Video Quality
Philips HTS8141/98 includes built-in decoders for DTS, Dolby Digital, and Dolby ProLogic II. It has a digital AM/FM RDS tuner and allows 1080p DVD upscaling. The media formats it support are DVD-Video, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD, CD-R/RW, VCD, MP3, WMA, JPEG, DivX Ultra, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2.
While the Ambisound technology deploys surround sound with fewer speakers, it does not really satisfy the claim of truly embracing a 5.1 sound experience. Philips also added the FullSound technology to restore details to compressed MP3 music. It combines Philips’ existing expertise in music reproduction with the latest generation Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for a fuller bass and boosting the voice and instrument clarity and details. Meanwhile, the Faroudja DCDi delivers sharp, high quality video on a progressive scan tv. It melts the jagged edges especially with moving images. The DVD pictures are surprisingly sharp and the system succeeds in widening and extending movie audio to deliver clear dialogs and deep, rumbling bass.
However, users need to take note that not all high definition tv sets are fully compatible with the system. Incompatibilities may cause artefacts to be displayed on the picture. Some users may experience progressive scan picture problems, and this can be remedied by switching the connection to the “standard definition” output.
Pros and Cons
While the HTS8141/98 may be pursued by those who are interested in a system that does both sound and video playbacks, users need to be aware that not all high definition tv sets are fully compatible with it. Users should check with the dealers for this compatibility issue, otherwise there may be artefacts displayed on picture playback.
For DivX playback, user needs to note that only DivX videos that are rented or purchased using the DivX registration code of this unit can be played. The DivX code details can be found under the general setup of this system, and only an average of 45 characters can be displayed for subtitles.