Philips Soundbar HTS8100, my review !!!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 06-22-2007, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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So I just got the Philips Soundbar that I had been waiting to try out ever since I heard about it when it was anounced at CES.

I have had more than a few fake surround sound systems, among them, the Bose 321 Series l and Series ll, the Yamaha YSP-800 and YSP-1000 and a few other 2.1 systems I cant remember at the moment.

Anyhow, I get the box home, I open it up and the first thing I notice is how very cool the Philips Soundbar looks.
It one of the coolest looking systems I can think of.

So I hook it up via HDMI to my 60" Pio Plasma and go thru the set-up menus on the Philips and get everything dialed in.

I then pop in one of my favorite surround sound test DVD's and bring up the volume,,,, guess what,,,,,,, this thing sounds like crap.

I then go thru all the menus again to make sure I have it set up right,, after doing that,, it still sounds like crap.

Let me explain what I mean by crap, the unit has very little bass as in it sounds very tinny, no depth to the sound at all,, even with the treble turned all the way down and the bass turned all the way up it made little differance.

Ok, on to the surround sound effect,,, again,,, sounds like crap, very little in the way of a convincing surround effect,,,, compared to the speakers on my Pio plasma my plasmas on board fake surround effect kicks the Philips ass.
As a matter of fact my Pio plasma that I have a Sony sub hooked up to blows away the Philips.

I made sure I had everything adjusted right and set-up right on the Philips and I did.
Setting this thing up is very easy to say the least, and Im not a newbie to these kind of systems at all.

The video quality of the Philips, not to bad at all, but no better than any up-converting DVD player and certainly not better than the up-converting ability on the Blu Ray or HD DVD players that I have.

Can I think of anything good to say about the Philips,,, yea,,, It looks very very cool.

I really wanted to like this unit in a big way and what a huge disapointment it turned out to be,,,, I am really in shock at how bad it sounded when compared to all the other units I have owned.

If you have never owned a Yamaha YSP or even a Bose 321 for that matter you might and thats a BIG might be OK or semi happy with the Philips Soundbar.

Anyhow, this thing is getting returned to Best Buy as fast as i can get down there today.

So I guess my top picks for a fake surround set-up remain the Yamaha YSP-1000, the YSP-800 and dont hate me, but the Bose 321 Series ll (the 321 in the right room and set-up correctly can really sound pretty darn good, no flaming please).

Anyhow, thats my thoughts on the Philips Sounbar, if any one else is brave enough to get one I would love to hear your thoughts.

And sorry Philips, I really like most of your products and I hate to slam any companys products but this thing is just crap,,,, if it was 2 or 3 hundred dollars it might be OK, but at $800.00 no way in a million years.

Davyo
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post #2 of 34 Old 06-22-2007, 10:38 AM
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Thanks for the quick review! I'm currently debating between the Sharp 2.1, a YSP-800 or getting an Onkyo 800 and lining up the speakers upfront utilizing its 'theater dynamic' mode to simulate surround sound.
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post #3 of 34 Old 06-22-2007, 10:45 AM
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Wow, harsh.

Like I thought, it's cool, but not for 800 bucks.
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post #4 of 34 Old 06-29-2007, 05:27 AM
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thanks for the comments.
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post #5 of 34 Old 07-02-2007, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davyo View Post

I then pop in one of my favorite surround sound test DVD's and bring up the volume,,,, guess what,,,,,,, this thing sounds like crap.

I then go thru all the menus again to make sure I have it set up right,, after doing that,, it still sounds like crap.

Let me explain what I mean by crap, the unit has very little bass as in it sounds very tinny, no depth to the sound at all,, even with the treble turned all the way down and the bass turned all the way up it made little differance.

Davyo

if you can, try to get your hands on a Sharp SD-SP10.. it's very rare and difficult to get but if you do.. you won't be dissapointed..

it's a shame Sharp didn't really hype/promote this beauty even though it has Dolby Virtual Speakers, Audistry, etc ... I have one myself and let me tell you now..

it's more than worth its price (much cheaper than the one you just got or the yamahas)

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post #6 of 34 Old 07-02-2007, 04:46 PM
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did you have (or have you heard) any "true" 5.1 or 7.1 systems? how do the best surround-bar or 3-2-1 based systems compare to those?

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post #7 of 34 Old 07-02-2007, 06:55 PM
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I haven't heard anything but rave reviews about the Polk surround bar...based on SDA technology from the 80s...with a sub supposed to be very good. I'm prejudiced. I own Polk SDAs that deliver pretty amazing surround sound depending on the recording. I'm not trying to steer you wrong, I haven't tried any of the surround bars. With music, SDA technology, while old, will throw a soundstage outside your front speakers, if properly placed. With a non compressed, and well mixed recording you can achieve nearly 360 surround. I mean you look at your surrounds and put your ear next to them to check...all from 2 channel input. With HT DD and DTS content, I would think you'd get even better performance due to the mix. I'm not saying the Surround Bar is as good as the SDA speakers...can't be...doesn't have the cabinet volume...but they knew how to do it in the 80s. If you need this application, I'd check it out.

Note: Discrete 5 or 7 channel setups will always, depending on speaker quality, do a better job. This will just surprise you on how good it is.

I don't lurk as much as I used to and I NEVER listen. Comes from being old and cynical.

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post #8 of 34 Old 07-02-2007, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-star View Post

did you have (or have you heard) any "true" 5.1 or 7.1 systems? how do the best surround-bar or 3-2-1 based systems compare to those?

you know the answer to that already it pales in comparison.. it can't honestly compare to a true audio setup.. the sound envelops you and.. it's a warm hug.. that's the best way I can describe a 'true' audio setup.. it's a nice big ole hug

these virtual surround setups are.. it's amazing if it's the only thing you have in the house, but if you have a real audio system for your A/V setup, it doesn't compare..

my full-blown audio setup is in the living room, this is just for my bedroom-theatre.. ironically, my living HDTV is a 50" LCD RPTV whereas my bedroom one is the killer Sony KDL-40XBR2..

lol I laugh at the irony.. my best audio setup is in the living room and my best video setup is in the bedroom.. it should be together but oh well


-+ I heard mono with my ears, stereo with my heart, but I heard surround with my soul - Unnamed
-+ My tastes are simple -- I am always satisfied with the best
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post #9 of 34 Old 07-03-2007, 01:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-star View Post

did you have (or have you heard) any "true" 5.1 or 7.1 systems? how do the best surround-bar or 3-2-1 based systems compare to those?

Yes, I have owned many true 5.1 systems, Onkyo's, Yamaha's and a few Bose LifeStyles.

Any true surround system is going to sound better than any fake surround system in all case's except for one exception,,,, that would be the Yamaha YSP-1100.
In a square or rectangular room with 4 good walls to bounce the sound off of I would choose the YSP-1100 over almost any true 5.1 system.

The YSP-1100 sounds that great,,,, in the right room that is.

Davyo
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post #10 of 34 Old 07-03-2007, 04:39 AM
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interesting. i've never had the chance to hear one of those setups, in the right room or not. thanks for the replies.

"That's right Mr. Martini...there is an Easter Bunny".
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post #11 of 34 Old 07-05-2007, 10:41 PM
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At the risk of being unsympathetic, may I ask: Why would anyone shell out $800 for a sound device they haven't auditioned? That's just stupifying.
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post #12 of 34 Old 07-06-2007, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fri2219 View Post

At the risk of being unsympathetic, may I ask: Why would anyone shell out $800 for a sound device they haven't auditioned? That's just stupifying.

Because it was not available anywhere except online when I got it.

Because it was so new there wasnt even any reviews yet on it.

Because I knew that if I did not like it I could get my money back right away, no big deal.

Because ALL audio systems ALWAYS sound different at home than they do in the store.


If thats not enough reasons I can provide more.
Davyo
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post #13 of 34 Old 07-07-2007, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davyo View Post

Because it was not available anywhere except online when I got it.

Because it was so new there wasnt even any reviews yet on it.

Because I knew that if I did not like it I could get my money back right away, no big deal.

Because ALL audio systems ALWAYS sound different at home than they do in the store.


If thats not enough reasons I can provide more.
Davyo

you have helped me. thanks. and sometimes we are just curious.

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post #14 of 34 Old 07-08-2007, 06:48 PM
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Well I intend to "audition" the Zvox 325.

I am not looking for perfect sound.. but.. I do not want clarity. I guess the "worry" might be long term maintenence-repair issues.

I must add that I was not aware the Phillips was "big" in sound gear. Polk yes and Yamaha maybe (good keyboards for sure).
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post #15 of 34 Old 06-16-2008, 10:03 PM
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Hate to bring back an old post but I just picked this thing up for 350.00 at sears tonight while shopping for a fridge...They have them on clearance.

I have to say its not a bad unit and for the price I like it.

Much better... way better than any TV speakers music is OK but not the best

My system for music is seperates and NHT speakers...This does not compare to them but for less than $ 400.00 I am not sure you can do better.
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post #16 of 34 Old 06-17-2008, 04:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachfront71 View Post

Hate to bring back an old post but I just picked this thing up for 350.00 at sears tonight while shopping for a fridge...They have them on clearance.

I have to say its not a bad unit and for the price I like it.

Much better... way better than any TV speakers music is OK but not the best

My system for music is seperates and NHT speakers...This does not compare to them but for less than $ 400.00 I am not sure you can do better.

Well since you brought up my old thread I will comment.

Having owned the Philips HTS8100 I dont even think it is worth the $350.00. If your guna spend that much why not get the new Sony soundbar for less than the $350 you just spent.
While I personaly have not heard the new Sony it seems like its getting some pretty good reviews, a hell of alot more and better reviews than the Philips ever got.

Check out the thread on this forum on the Sony CT-100.

Im not trying to be mean or slam your purchase, I just dont want to see anyone waste their money when I know there are better options for around the same or less money than the Philips.

Do yourself a favor and go pick up the new Sony CT-100 Soundbar and compare it side by side with the Philips,,, Im willing to bet the Philips will be the unit getting returned.
Just trying to help.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #17 of 34 Old 06-17-2008, 08:29 AM
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Davyo.

Good deal.

I will take you up on your advice and grab one this week if I can find it!

I am not all too familiar with the soundbar world but will report back when able.

Thanks-
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post #18 of 34 Old 06-17-2008, 01:58 PM
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OK. I went out and bought a sony from Sears...This was actually my first choice when I got the Phillips 8100 but they were out.

I must say, it is a nice system with good bass.

My problem:

It is not loud enough, even on MAX it does not do the job. I sit about 12-14 feet from a 50inch plasma.

Not sure what I will do, the Phillips has the sound level I want and the sony is a better all around package.

N
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post #19 of 34 Old 06-18-2008, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachfront71 View Post

OK. I went out and bought a sony from Sears...This was actually my first choice when I got the Phillips 8100 but they were out.

I must say, it is a nice system with good bass.

My problem:

It is not loud enough, even on MAX it does not do the job. I sit about 12-14 feet from a 50inch plasma.

Not sure what I will do, the Phillips has the sound level I want and the sony is a better all around package.

N

Aside from the volume levels how do the units compare as far as the fake surround effect ????

Cheers
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post #20 of 34 Old 06-18-2008, 05:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachfront71 View Post

OK. I went out and bought a sony from Sears...This was actually my first choice when I got the Phillips 8100 but they were out.

I must say, it is a nice system with good bass.

My problem:

It is not loud enough, even on MAX it does not do the job. I sit about 12-14 feet from a 50inch plasma.

Not sure what I will do, the Phillips has the sound level I want and the sony is a better all around package.

N

I feel the same way about the HC100. On certain DVDs, I wish the MAX volume could go higher. For others, it's fine.
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post #21 of 34 Old 06-18-2008, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davyo View Post

Aside from the volume levels how do the units compare as far as the fake surround effect ????

Thats a tough one. In my opinion after 2 days of screwing around- My room approx. 12x18 with seating about 14 feet away

Phillips - More of a TV speaker enhancer/replacement than surround sound. Tough to calibrate and hardly any bass response even on the highest of levels. I did not really hear surround sound but rather right to left sound. Phillips could fill the room w/ volume but like I said, it seemed to be a nicer, louder version of the TV's speakers. Think nice 6x9's in your car... (sears $399)

Sony - I think the low price and other reviews influenced me here but it is a nice package altogether if you are in a smaller room (for me) or do not like to listen in high volumes. The bass interacts with the bar in a nicer fashion.
I can not say it is better at replacing surround sound but it sounds better overall. (sears $299)

I really have not paid attention to soundbars until I had my plasma hung on the wall and wanted to clean up the furniture in the room. My friend has the Yamaha 4000 and I can say it is night and day compared to these 2 but I do not want to spend 1200 for a room we are rarely in.

I have high hopes for Samsung as my TV is the same and it includes the DVD and FM for parties and occassions.

But--

It seems like unless you are buying one of the Yamaha digital bars, you should not expect a surround sound replacement from any of the others but rather an enhancement of your current TV speakers with a couple suprises flying by every once in a while. I also never thought I would be buying electronics at Sears ...

Agree/Disagree/Thoughts?
(not checked for spelling)
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post #22 of 34 Old 06-21-2008, 11:05 AM
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Last post on the subject but thought I would update for others who might find interest.

Over the last week I tried the sony ct100, the new samsung bar x810 and the phillips 8100.

I ended up staying with the Phillips for 3 reasons:
1. Volume
2. Price - $ 399 at sears and price match w/ best buy makes it $ 375. (sony can be had for @ $200, samsung @ $ 600
3. Features - dvd player, am fm tuner and sound bar and IPOD dock

I needed something clean for a room and wanted the most features I could get out of it...this fits the bill and looks good below the TV.

It is def not a surround sound replacement but is tons better than my samsung TV speakers.. it is night and day.

I have the bass at max and the treb at -2... You cant really get picky with it as it sort of is what it is. I have the sub in the corner and the bass is good but not great although most of the reviews by the industry mags think the bass is too much...

Overall my impressions have not changed, it is a good replacement for my TV speakers and a better fit (for me) than the sony or samsung. The samsung is not good and the sony is not loud enough while missing some decoding options.

But it is nothing compared to my onkyo and nht set up in the other room.

For $ 400 bucks with tax I think it is worth the money.

Davyo may disagree and that is fine as we do not share ears but for a nice plasma speaker replacement with a ton of extras I think for the price I got it is a great deal.

One note: My biggest issue was the sub cable, it is wide an hard (very hard) to fish through a wall like mine which meant drilling throu a fire block. The cable is long though, maybe 15-20 feet so once you have it wired you have some room to move it out of site.
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post #23 of 34 Old 06-21-2008, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachfront71 View Post


Davyo may disagree and that is fine as we do not share ears but for a nice plasma speaker replacement with a ton of extras I think for the price I got it is a great deal.

I dont disagree with your choice at all, you found the system that you like the best and works the best for your needs,,,, thats always the correct choice.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #24 of 34 Old 06-22-2008, 09:37 AM
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Got it.

I appreciate the input!

N
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post #25 of 34 Old 06-25-2008, 04:24 PM
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Davyo.

By any chance did you hook up this unit with the digital audio input on the back of the sub or did you run RCA to the sub??

I just bought a toslink to coax converter, ran the fiberoptic audio from SAT box to converter then the coax from converter to sub and the sound is drastically different ...

Just curious...

N
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post #26 of 34 Old 06-25-2008, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachfront71 View Post

Davyo.

By any chance did you hook up this unit with the digital audio input on the back of the sub or did you run RCA to the sub??

Just curious...

N

To be honest, I cant remember.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #27 of 34 Old 06-25-2008, 08:09 PM
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OK.

What I figured out which I should have known was that Philips basic connection with the RCA jacks for sound does not deliver any type of surround processing and just tries to convert a stereo signal to surround sound....which is OK but defeats any processing technology the bar has.

When I switched it over to digital input on the sub everything was much clearer and precise and the bar actually has a bit of fullness to the surround effect if you are watching a channel that pumps out Dolby, etc...

Not trying to change your mind but it is a night and day difference in quality and projection on something I already thought was pretty good.

N
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post #28 of 34 Old 06-26-2008, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachfront71 View Post

OK.

What I figured out which I should have known was that Philips basic connection with the RCA jacks for sound does not deliver any type of surround processing and just tries to convert a stereo signal to surround sound....which is OK but defeats any processing technology the bar has.

When I switched it over to digital input on the sub everything was much clearer and precise and the bar actually has a bit of fullness to the surround effect if you are watching a channel that pumps out Dolby, etc...

Not trying to change your mind but it is a night and day difference in quality and projection on something I already thought was pretty good.

N

Typicaly, whenever I hook something up, I will always go for the digital connections and not use the RCA's, but perhaps I did use the RCA's and not the digital and perhaps that could be a reason for my bad impression of the Philips,,, I wish I could remember exactly how I connected everything.

I am glad you are happy with the system though, and like I said in my orginal review post, it is a great looking unit and very cool.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #29 of 34 Old 01-12-2009, 10:57 PM
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Highly YMMV but I scored one of these for less than 50 at sears. It was our display but was barely used much after the first 3 months. Then it just sat on the shelf. I plan to use it as a rec room CD player primarily and it is way better than anything else in that price range. Plus it looks cool. Anyways if you see It at a sears it should be pretty cheap. Clearence prices vary in the chain. I sold one NIB a few weeks ago for around 200 before the price dropped.
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post #30 of 34 Old 12-16-2009, 02:29 PM
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Wow.

I realize that this thread is almost two years old.....so now I'm wondering if Philips updated the units?

I just bought one of these from buy.com for $200 (Free Shipping)

This thing ROCKS! I've had to tone down the bass on some occasions. Did you play with the different sound settings? Like Rock, Drama, Jazz....ect....? They really make a big difference in the sound. I hooked up my iPod and I think it's the best I have ever heard it!

To put this into perspective I have a full 5.1 setup in my main living room using massive Missions Tower Speakers (5ft tall) for the front mains and matching Missions for Center and Surrounds. Now this setup blows away the Philips when it comes to surround sound.....just no way a soundbar can compete with a true 5.1 setup........but.....

For what it is and what I wanted it for (as a sound system in our other/kids living/play room) it works beautifully. And for whatever reason the iPod sounds amazing on this thing.

I think overall the sound quality is best when set to STEREO vs. using the "ambisound" surround sound.....even when watching movies. Just adjust the "EQ mix" until you find the one that works best with the material you are watching/listening to.

Definitely a steal at $200.....a steal.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

It's not a Kuro....it's bigger.
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Yamaha Ysp 800 82 Watt Digital Sound Projector Black , Onkyo Tx Sr800 Thx Select 7 1 Channel Digital Home Theater Receiver , Yamaha Ysp 1100bl Digital Sound Projector
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