An 'invisible' home theatre system
- Tiny, great treble reproduction, plenty of inputs
- Poor bass and mid-range
As a surround system the HTIS100 works well — positional audio sounds great. Treble is an equally strong point, but the system is let down by bloated, muddy sounding mid-range and bass from the subwoofer.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
Sony's latest Invisible Theatre package, the HTIS100, is a very unobtrusive system. Its main allure is its incredibly tiny speakers. Only as large as golf balls and finished in matte black paint, the speakers can be placed almost anywhere within a large room and not stand out. The system's control unit — which also functions as the subwoofer — is quite tall but doesn't take up much floor space, so slotting it into a cavity may be possible.
The three HDMI inputs on the HTIS100 allow you to attach as many high-definition devices (like a Panasonic DMR-XW300, a Sony VAIO TP2 and a Panasonic DMR-BW500) as you could ever conceivably want simultaneously. The HTIS100 can switch between them while outputting through an HDMI port or component connector. Analog inputs are also included, with two sets of component and a single composite connector. Audio is handled by three optical digital ports and one coaxial digital port as well as a single additional analog input. This is a lot of connectivity.
Setting up this unit is incredibly easy. Just place the combination subwoofer/control unit out of the way, find appropriate places for the speakers, then run the wiring to the control unit. The wires are terminated with phone jack connectors, so they plug in easily — no fiddling required.
The only conceivable downside might be that there's no option to easily lengthen the cables. This shouldn't be a problem for the vast majority of users since the cables are incredibly long. Indeed, the front speakers' cables are a more-than-acceptable six metres long; the rear speakers have a whopping 18 metres of cable attached!
Once you've finished setting up the system, it's easy to start using. Confusingly, however, the system's screen is situated on the top of the control unit, so you'll need to be standing almost directly in front of the unit to see it.
Video play-through is seamless, and switching between multiple digital inputs is easy. Pictures looked no worse than when played directly from their original sources — we used an LG 42PG60 to look for any flaws. 24p support for cinematic playback of Blu-ray discs is an added bonus.
Since the satellite speakers are so small, there's no chance of them reproducing bass or mid-range frequencies. That job falls entirely to the combination subwoofer/control unit.
As expected, treble was definitely the strongest point of the unit. The satellite speakers are rated at 50 Watts, but whether this is accurate is questionable. However, the fact remains that even when pushed to uncomfortably loud listening volumes, the tweeter-based satellite speakers continue to output treble without any distortion. Music doesn't sound harsh at all, with a slight preference towards blurred, smooth reproduction.
Bass and mid-range sound were a little more difficult to quantify. Mid-range frequencies are still directional — they can be pin-pointed within a room by a listener. Since there's only a single source of mid-range noise in this system — the subwoofer unit, which sits off to one side — the balance of sound, especially dialogue, is thrown off. Listeners might benefit from putting the control unit directly under the system's central speaker, though then it ruins the 'invisible' theme.
Mid-range sound is bloated and muddy from the unit, with a noticeable gap between treble and middle frequencies. In addition, it's quite underpowered in comparison to the powerful treble frequencies from the satellites. There's also no ground-shaking bass here, and no evidence of much lower frequency extension.
The system's surround sound is quite immersive, however. Plenty of Dolby Digital options abound, allowing users to tailor the setup. Individual levels for treble, bass and mid-range can also be altered, giving further flexibility. When we listened to the lobby scene in The Matrix — our preferred test for surround sound speakers — we found that positional sound was executed well and with great clarity.
The HTIS100 is a great system in terms of treble reproduction, but it's not so fantastic for mid-range and bass. Forget listening to classical music or anything with complex mid-range notes, but for movies and surround sound audio the HTIS100 is a decent option.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
cloudandco Smart Cane
Apple iPhone X
Toys for Boys
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 2 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 3 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 4 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
- 5 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
Latest News Articles
- JBL join smart speaker arena with the portable, waterproof and (Google-powered) JBL Link range
- BenQ Debuts True 4K UHD HDR Home Cinema Projector Designed for Modern Families
- Foxtel Now's new streaming device launched weeks after TelstraTV
- Logitech announce new MX Sound speakers
- Telstra looks to solve 'Entertainment Exasperation' with new 4K Telstra TV
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories
- CES 2018: Alcatel Embrace 18:9 Aspect Ratio In 2018
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTLead Mobile DeveloperQLD
- CCCISCO Project ManagerACT
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTOrganisational Change ManagerOther
- TPJava DeveloperNSW
- CCIteration Manager - TelcoVIC
- CCDevops Engineer - AWS and cloud infrastructureVIC
- FTSystems Co-ordinatorOther
- CCInternet Applications Developer - DevOpsNSW
- FTJava DeveloperOther
- TPBusiness Intelligence & Analytics Project ManagerQLD
- TPSAP CRM Functional ConsultantACT
- FTKnowledge AnalystOther
- TPProject Director | Long term contractQLD
- TPCRM Dynamics DeveloperACT
- TPSenior Project Manager - Risk & ComplianceNSW
- CCThe job "Automation Test Analyst Guidewire " is now ExpiredQLD
- CCApplication Support Analyst - Level 2QLD
- FTInformation Architect - Digital Transformation Business ChangeOther
- FTLead Mobile App DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Business Analyst - MortgagesOther
- CCSenior Test Automation Engineers x 3NSW
- CCSAP Test AnalystQLD
- FTSOE ArchitectOther
- FTChange ManagerOther