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One of the best pieces of advice you'll ever hear in life is ‘keep it simple', and Samsung obviously had this mantra in mind when it designed the HT-X810R. This blissfully straightforward 2.1-channel system does away with all the general mucking about that usually comes with setting up home cinema kit, allowing you to get on with the much more appealing business of watching films.
The main reason for the system's simplicity is that it only consists of two components. There's a main unit that combines a DVD/CD player, receiver and front speakers, and its long shape makes it look very much like a soundbar. It's an elegant-looking unit with a sleek gloss-black finish (in keeping with the rest of Samsung's home cinema range) and it can be wall-mounted using the bracket in the box. It's also adorned with some typically tasty touches, such as the disc slot hidden behind a motorised flap and the same touch-sensitive buttons found on the DVD-F1080 DVD player.
Also in the box is a wireless subwoofer, which will go down very well with cable-phobes and means you don't necessarily need to place the sub near the main unit - good news if you want to wall-mount it. It operates on a frequency of 5.8GHz with a transmission distance of about 10m, but because it's powered you‘ll need to locate it near a mains socket. This sideways-firing sub is also styled in gloss black and bears the budget hallmarks (chipboard cabinet and plasticky exterior) but it's pretty enough not to cause offence if it's on display - and because there's nothing on the back except an on/off switch and an ID setting button, it's quick and easy to install.
The main unit's array of sockets is more generous than we expected. The system is designed to accompany a flatpanel TV (it looks great mounted underneath one) so naturally there's an HDMI output with full 1080p upscaling capability to back it up. On a separate panel towards the top of the back section are component and composite video outputs, an optical digital audio input for external audio sources (such as Sky+), analogue stereo input and an FM radio antenna jack.
The connectivity options don't end there. Down the side you'll find a minijack input which lets you hook up MP3 players and other audio devices, plus there's a very handy USB port which lets you play back content from MP3 players, flash drives and digital cameras without having to burn the files onto disc first.
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