Another month, another 30 days with... This month i got my hands on Philips' HT9800W- their numero uno offering for the Home Theatre category
The colour-coded plugs on the HT9800W-a 6.1 set-ensured there were no hassles setting it up.
Although all the speakers are wired, the three rear speakers (right, left and centre) connect to a wireless receiver box rather than to the subwoofer unit. This ensures there's no cable clutter between the front and rear speakers, and its possible to place them far apart. There's a neat touch-screen display that interfaces with the system, or you can use the large, exquisitely-crafted, fully-functional remote. The touch-screen is slightly quirky at times.
The HT9800W features a high-quality HDMI, as well as Component connectivity, ensuring best possible quality to any large screen display-which is a must to take full advantage of the HT9800W's 720p/1080i HD capabilities. S-Video and PC connectivity has been left out.
Decided to play a few of my favourite MP3s, waiting for after office hours so I could bring on the decibels. With a rated output of 800 watts RMS, I expected a lot from the HT9800W as a music system alone. However, the sub seems a little low on bass. Drum beats on tracks like "Smooth Operator" weren't as good as I'd have liked. The woofer's specs are 150 watts RMS on tap, and a 6.5-inch driver. Highs were never going to be an issue with neodymium-crafted Ribbon tweeters. The HT9800W is well-suited to classical music and instrumentals.
Watched "Kingdom of Heaven"- managed to get an HD-quality copy (720p). Thanks to the quality decoder and HDMI, the experience was truly cinematic on a 32-inch LCD TV. The HT9800W excels as a home entertainment system. Audio is up to the mark, and it up-mixes 5.1 surround to 6.1. There's no 1080p support.
My birthday! Deadlines meant we celebrated in office-a late night movie or two. The general opinion was, it rocks. No complaints except for the lack of really deep, resounding bass.
A couple of colleagues commented on the sleekness of the speaker stands. They're flat, wall-mountable, and as unobtrusive as you'd like. Plus, they're stable.
The HT9800W supports surround SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc), a new multi-channel audio format. All the regular audio and video formats are supported, including DivX. A good-quality FM antenna is built in. The HT9800W auto-tunes and stores radio channels.
Stayed late at office and fired up some of my music CDs. The satellites have an excellent spread, and you don't have to be sitting close to them (or even in front of them) to get the full experience, presumably due to the Ribbon tweeters. The rear speaker receiver unit can be placed a maximum of 35 feet away from the subwoofer. This is the standard range for most Wi-Fi devices, and unless you have a really large room, you'll never be out of range.
Time for the Philips to go back. At Rs 59,990, it is not the best setup for the price if you want a high-end music system. What you do get is very decent aural capabilities coupled with a feature-rich HD home theatre system. Add 50-odd grand for a decent widescreen LCD TV, since Philips has included a top-quality multi-format DVD player. The touch-screen adds to the upmarket feel. The HT9800W is a sleek and elegant addition to any living room.