Most people love the idea of installing a home cinema system in their living room but not everyone can easily incorporate a full surround system. With five satellite speakers, a network of cables and a bulky sub to squeeze in, it can be difficult to find space for it all, particularly with a clutter-hating other half to appease.
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That’s where Samsung’s HW-C450 comes in. It’s a 2.1-channel system that aims to deliver a convincing home cinema experience from a discreet wall-mountable soundbar and a wireless powered subwoofer. It is not, however, an ‘all-in-one’ system per se, as there’s no built-in Blu-ray or DVD player – it’s a speakers-only solution for those who already own a player but are fed up listening to it through their TV’s weedy speakers.
Samsung doesn’t make ugly-looking products, and the HW-C450 is no exception. Its discreet, minimal design is stunning – the soundbar section is alluringly slim, measuring 92mm tall and 957mm long, while its shallow 45mm depth means it won’t stick out further than your TV when wall-mounted. Naturally the front of the soundbar is styled in a gloss-black finish, with exposed speaker cones lined up at either end. Along the top edge is a transparent plastic trim that houses the dot-matrix display panel and a row of illuminated touch-sensitive controls that govern volume, input selection and sound modes.
On the back of the soundbar are a limited number of sockets, which is hardly surprising for a product designed to keep clutter to a minimum. They’re tucked away in a cavity on the rear with a downward-facing hole that allows you to feed the cables to your kit without making it tricky to wall-mount.
They include two optical digital audio inputs, which is enough to accommodate a disc player and digital TV box for example, but you’re in trouble if you want to plug in a games console too. There’s an analogue minijack input that might come in handy if you want to listen to your MP3 player through the speakers. You’ll also find a USB port that allows you to update the unit’s software.
The subwoofer’s design is similarly sleek and minimal. It’s a gloss-black box measuring 175(w) x 350(h) x 295(d) mm, and because it’s wireless you can place it anywhere in the room, regardless of where the soundbar is installed. There are no sockets or controls on the back, everything is governed by the soundbar.