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Philips HTL9100 review




  • Recommended by TR

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Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100
  • Philips HTL9100


Our Score:



  • Crisp, detailed and immersive sound
  • Clever, stylish design
  • Good feature list


  • No HD audio decoding
  • Cables stick upwards when wall mounted
  • Hard to read front panel

Key Features

  • Detachable wireless speakers
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Dolby Digital and DTS
  • 210W power output
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Review Price: £600.00

What is the Philips HTL9100?

It’s a soundbar unlike any other. On the face of it, the HTL9100 is a regular single-box soundbar, designed to sit discreetly in the living room and blast out powerful home cinema sound.

But this soundbar hides a secret, namely a pair of detachable wireless speakers that deliver immersive 5.1 sound quality no matter where they’re placed in the room. Philips calls this Surround on Demand.

That way you get the best of both worlds – the clutter-free convenience of a soundbar and the true surround sound experience of a 5.1 system. Sounds great on paper – let’s see how it works in practice…

Philips HTL9100

Philips HTL9100 – Design

Like its little brother, the HTL5120 – an affordable but highly impressive soundbar for the money – the HTL9100 looks like a million dollars. It’s mostly covered in black cloth, with a gorgeous brushed metal panel dividing the two sides and gloss black panels at either end of the bar. Set into the brushed panel is a row of lights, which indicate selected inputs, sound modes and volume levels – there’s no display panel.

Philips HTL9100

Viewed from the side, the HTL9100 has an ‘airfoil’ shape, which means it gently slopes upwards when placed on a TV stand. But it’s not just for show – Philips says this shape also prevents the build-up of standing waves that can cause sonic colouration.

Alternatively you can mount it vertically on the wall using the supplied kit (it’s designed to match TVs 46in and above), but the clever part is that the HTL9100 detects which way it’s installed thanks to a built-in orientation sensor, which uses Smart Equalization to optimise the sound accordingly.

Philips HTL9100

What really sets the HTL9100 apart from its rivals are its detachable speakers. Other soundbars like Panasonic’s SC-HTB770 can be split apart to create two free-standing speakers, but all of the components stay firmly at the front of the room.

However, the HTL9100’s speakers can be placed at the back of the room, giving you a more convincing sense of surround immersion. Their compact and attractive design means they won’t look out-of-place when placed shelves or other furniture.

Even better news is that they’re wireless, which gives you even more freedom. They’re equipped with rechargeable batteries that provide up to 10 hours of continuous playback, with an auto shut-down feature that saves power when idle. They use a proprietary SMSC 5.8GHz wireless communication system, eliminating interference with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth frequencies.Philips HTL9100

They look great too, obviously styled to match the main unit so that when they’re attached it looks like one continuous soundbar.

As if that wasn’t enough, the system even comes with a wireless subwoofer, providing deep bass without a cable in sight – again making it easy to accommodate. It's unusually tall and slender enclosure is coated in a classy matt black finish, allowing it to slink discreetly into your living room layout.

Philip Xenakis

July 16, 2013, 7:55 pm

Great review, think I might nip into a local hi-fi shop to hear it in action!


August 2, 2013, 9:41 am

Thank you for the review, TR! While Philips approach of detachable speakers are admirable I can't help thinking about the battery life. How many cycles of charging before the battery meets its end? what happens when battery are completely dead? Are the batteries replaceable or will the soundbar be a piece of junk after a while?


August 4, 2013, 1:13 pm

Does this feature Hdmi audio passthrough? At £600 Im sure it does but have been unable to find it listed anywhere.

Jason Wong

August 6, 2013, 7:46 am

robchan Battery life is 10 hr on full charge according to specs, mine does about8hr on average volume (loud enough for movie watching). If the batteries are dead they can be serviced by Philips, supposedly can easily hold 4hrs of charge after multiple years of frequent use.
@Mus1c: It has HDMI pass through, 2 in 1 out.


November 4, 2013, 9:33 pm

I'm torn between this and the Yamaha YSP-2200 which gets excellent reviews but is virtual sourround only unlike the Philips. Any thoughts on best option for a larger rectangular shaped room?


November 21, 2013, 8:39 am

Had the same doubt... whathifi experts solved it suggesting me to buy this one.


November 22, 2013, 2:19 pm


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