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Philips HTS4600/05 2.1-Channel Home Cinema System - Philips HTS4600/05
The simple nature of the system means it doesn't take long to rig up, and you don't need the manual to get up and running. The subwoofer connects to the mains, while the DVD unit draws its power from the sub though a single proprietary cable, which means you don't have to worry about placing it near a plug socket - particularly useful when wall-mounting. The speakers also connect to colour coded plugs on the back of the sub.
There's a healthy array of features on board. The system decodes Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, and uses Dolby Virtual Speaker to mimic the characteristics of 5.1-channel audio. Dolby Pro Logic II processing is also on hand to expand stereo sources to 5.1 before Dolby Virtual Speaker works its magic. Eight EQ settings add a little extra spice to audio playback with names like Action and Gaming, but there's no way of turning them off so you'll have to find one that you like.
Format support includes DivX Ultra, MP3, WMA and JPEG, plus the surprising but welcome bonus of WMV playback. If you want to play any of these formats on the system, simply copy them to a USB memory stick or burn them to CD or DVD. The system accepts most kinds of recordable DVDs and CDs so there's no worries on that score - but it won't play DVD-RAM.
The HTS4600 uses the same user interface found on most other Philips systems, which is fairly basic in appearance but responsive and easy to navigate. The general setup menu is accessed by hitting the Options button, and from here you can change the HDMI output resolution, select from a range of picture presets (Bright, Soft and Personal, the latter allowing you to adjust brightness, contrast, tint and colour) and set an audio delay of up to 200ms.
The thoughtfully laid out remote makes menu navigation and playback control feel instinctive and the buttons are well signposted. There are also dedicated buttons to switch between sources and to change the audio mode.
Although the power output rating of 300W probably won't earn you a visit from Environmental Health, it's more than enough for small rooms and on the whole the system does a good job with movies, with one or two caveats.