I have had one of these for about a week and a half now and I'm very impressed with the unit I have purchased.
I chose this sound bar over other (specifically the Sonos PlayBar) because it came with additional 5.1 speakers included for about the same price, was an all in one solution and had multiple inputs. One downside is that I won't be able to add extra speakers or features as with the Sonos.
One of the features that persuaded me to purchase the Philips over the Sonos was that it had HDMI in (x2) and out as well as digital/optical audio, the Sonos does not have HDMI, just digital/optical.
My TV, a Toshiba 42CV505DB is now 5 years old but still going strong and not in need of being replaced. This TV will only output from digital audio using in inbuilt Freeview/DTV, not from an HDMI source. As I wanted to connect my Sky+ HD PVR, Xbox 360 and DVD/Blue-ray player I had the choice of getting a digital audio splitter and manually changing the input each time or getting a unit that could accept multiple inputs from HDMI.
Packaging was efficient and tight, on unboxing initial impression was that the the construction seems solid, however the sub is bigger than I expected - some marketing/photography perspective trick
. The 5.1 speakers clip on and off the main unit in a reassuring fashion. There are wall mounting clips in the box which I didn't really do too much investigation into as my TV is on a stand. The item was dispatched from the Netherlands and did not include UK plugs within the main box, however there were standard UK kettle leads included within the overall box sent from Philips.
Setup was easy, not many wires; two HDMI in from Sky and Xbox, one out to the TV and power to the sound bar. The sub and main unit were synchronised with each other. It took less than 10 minutes to get everything going from unboxing to sitting on the sofa.
The remote is simple and not cluttered with extra features. I found that the system had a little too much bass out of the box but this is easily adjustable along with the treble.
I found that after a few minutes or so my Toshiba recognised the HTL9100 as a REGZA-LINK device. My TV was already linked to my Sky Remote to power on and adjust the volume so with the REGZA-LINK the Sky Remote volume control was adjusting the volume on the "amplifier". It also turned off the amplifier when the TV was turned off, an pleasant surprise
Detaching the speakers is simple and after 1-2 seconds of readjustment to sense their position send out 5.1 sound. I find this a useful feature as I don't need surround sound when watching the news or everyday TV, however when putting on a movie or watching live sport picking off the speakers and putting them around the room is a nice compromise to wiring in and powering dedicated speakers. The battery life is reasonable; 10 hours according to the bumpf which seems more than enough.
One feature I didn't think I would use is the Bluetooth capability but syncing my phone (an Android) was very simple, put the unit into Bluetooth by pressing the Bluetooth button on the remote, find the device on my phone and play tracks. I'm thinking of getting a Bluetooth dongle for my PC it's that useful.
The Mrs was a little sceptical of spending so much on a sound bar, however when I came home the other day she was doing a bit of housework and was taking one of the detachable speakers around the house with her to listen to her favourite radio station!
I purchased the item directly from Philips, I already had a 20% off voucher from Philips, however when I went to register I was offered a 25% off voucher with my next purchase. So I bought an (overpriced!) HDMI cable for £14.99 and then with the voucher got the HTL9100 for £525, reduced from the advertised price of £700. I did have a few problems with the Philips website rejecting two of my credit cards (and having two companies ring me us suspecting fraud) but after 24 hours this was sorted.
I think the sound quality is excellent, however I am by no means a pro when it comes to audio. Someone who listens to devices all day to rate them may give it two stars but I can't tell any difference between what I have and some demo systems in my local store (I've been back to compare too).
All in all very happy with my purchase and I would recommend for someone who wants a sound bar and the occasional 5.1 but doesn't need the complication of setting up separate speakers.Edited by JoHaW - 6/26/13 at 3:41am