We recently posted a review of Philips' HTS8100 soundbar, which uses the company's Ambisound technology to create a semi-convincing surround effect from one compact unit. The HTS6600 system uses the same technology, but this time it's built into a more traditional 2.1 system that comprises two vertical speakers and a chunky subwoofer.
What's most striking about this system is its incredibly debonair design. The main DVD console is finished in tasty piano black with silver around the edge and a row of tiny illuminated buttons on the front. Hit the open/close button and the entire right hand side slides across, allowing you to insert your disc. The whole unit is perched on a circular stand that makes it look hi-tech and futuristic, setting it apart from other ‘set-top box' style systems on the market.
The speakers are similarly styled in black and silver and perched on circular stands, but they can also be wall-mounted. Inside each one is a set of independent speaker drivers positioned at precise angles, which attempt to mimic the effect of a real 5.1-channel system, whatever the size or shape of your room.
Setup is quick and painless, taking only a few minutes to get up and running. The speakers connect to the back of the powered subwoofer (which is complementarily styled in piano black) using pre-connected, colour-coded cables, while the main unit is connected to the sub using one lead and doesn't require a separate power supply. Connections on the main unit include HDMI, component and RGB SCART outputs plus a 3.5mm TV audio input. On the back of the sub meanwhile is a coaxial digital audio input (useful for hooking up your Sky+ box), two pairs of stereo audio inputs and antenna inputs for the built-in RDS FM/AM radio tuner.
1080p upscaling is very much in fashion right now but the HTS6600 stops at 1080i, a decision that might make those with Full HD TVs look elsewhere. Other key features include playback of DivX Ultra from DVDs or CDs, plus MP3, WMA and JPEG files can be played from disc or a USB flash drive, which can be plugged into the USB port on the side of the main unit. Alongside the USB port is a 3.5mm minijack input for MP3 players and a port that lets you connect the optional Philips HTD7001 dock for iPods and GoGear devices.