A simple and stylish sound-bar system
- Stylish, simple to set up, Ambisound surround effect is great
- Not as streamlined as a regular sound-bar, surround sound still doesn't stand up to real 5.1
Philips’ newest sound-bar works well as an unobtrusive addition to your home theatre, fitting in well with the most recent LCD and plasma panels. The addition of a subwoofer means it isn't as streamlined as other sound-bars, but it does provide a welcome boost to bass response.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
The Philips HTS6100 is a sound-bar system with the added attraction of decent low frequency response from a dedicated subwoofer. It performs well in terms of sound quality and its virtual surround settings are surprisingly convincing.
The HTS6100 has subtle good looks — unobtrusive black speaker grills with a glossy black panel in the centre of the unit. This panel acts as both a cover for the system’s DVD player and as a display, providing all the necessary information and statistics. The sound-bar can either be set up directly under an LCD or plasma screen on a table, or wall-mounted with the included kit. It shares its looks and features with its older, more expensive brother the HTS8100 — including an iPod dock — but has the advantage of a more appealing pricetag.
An important part of this system is the subwoofer. It’s designed to complement the sound-bar by filling lower frequencies, without disrupting the virtual surround effects. The HTS6100’s subwoofer is designed to be unobtrusive, but it is slightly tall for our liking — perhaps if Philips had made it slightly larger, it could have been disguised as a footstool! Despite its relatively large size, it only employs a six-inch driver, so it won’t be kicking out any floor-shaking frequencies.
Like most other sound-bar units, the HTS6100 has Dolby Digital and DTS decoding built-in, with its own matrix system for creating a surround effect from the single unit. The unit lacks the A/V switching functions of the HTS8100, with its inputs instead restricted to a 3.5mm jack for an MP3 player and a USB port for playing JPEG, DiVX, MP3, WMA and WAV files.
In terms of output the HTS6100 doesn’t suffer. It’s got the usual repertoire of composite, component and HDMI, with up-scaling possible to 1080p. However, this up-scaling is only available over HDMI — so if you’re one of the few consumers with a high-definition TV with no HDMI inputs you’ll be out of luck.
When it comes down to sound quality, the HTS6100 is impressive for an integrated unit. We found that the Ambisound surround sound mode improved audio so we left it on constantly. It’s never going to recreate the experience of having discrete speakers placed in the correct locations, but the HTS6100’s virtual surround sound approximation did an admirable job.
Treble was great — crisp and clear without sounding harsh at moderate volumes. It was slightly cold, however, making it a little lacklustre for music. Mid-range was surprisingly balanced. It’s a little recessed compared to other frequency ranges, thanks to the relatively small speaker drivers within the sound-bar, but it’s still well handled.
Bass is an area where sound-bars fall short due to their compact dimensions. The obvious solution to this is to include a dedicated subwoofer; Philips has done exactly this with good results. Bass isn’t deep or boomy — thanks to the relatively small driver size of the subwoofer — but it does add a lower frequency dimension to sound that is appreciated.
We found that there were a few times during our test DVD of The Matrix that audio appeared to be produced from the sides of the room. With the knowledge that there were no speakers there it was a little disquieting, but for a more casual listener this should be a pleasant experience. If you don’t want the hassle of correctly running wires to and placing six different speakers, this sound-bar is a decent compromise.
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Sport AT
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Apple iMac Pro
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Toys for Boys
ESET Smart Security Premium
Tivoli PAL BT
ESET Internet Security
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 3 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 4 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 5 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
Latest News Articles
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards Nominees Announced
- Telstra customers can now add the Kayo app to their account
- Streaming service delivers over 50 sports live and on demand for Aussie fans
- JBL introduces JRPOP Ultra Portable Speaker
- Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro 2 + SuperAmp is now available
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?