On the back of the soundbar is a generous array of connections. You get two HDMI inputs, two digital audio inputs (one optical, one coaxial) and analogue stereo input, plus a 3.5mm minijack for portable music players.
The HDMI output supports Audio Return Channel, which means that compatible TVs can send audio signals directly to the soundbar without you having to rig up a separate cable. The inclusion of two HDMI inputs is a real bonus, as you can channel your Blu-ray deck and digital TV box through the speakers and switch between them on one of your TV’s HDMI ports.
Surround on Demand is clearly the standout feature, but it’s by no means the only thing on the spec sheet. The HTL9100 also boasts Bluetooth for playing music from phones and other portable devices.
It also decodes Dolby Digital and DTS, supported by the on-board Cirrus Logic 32-bit DSP, and cleverly the unit automatically switches to multichannel mode when it detects a 5.1 audio stream and the speakers are detached. It's actually a 4.1 system with a virtual centre, but the rear speakers do receive discrete surround information.
The soundbar is also equipped with Dolby Pro Logic II, so when you listen to stereo sources with the speakers detached you can enjoy them in surround sound. Philips’ Virtual Surround sound aims to make the soundstage as immersive as possible, and works whether the speakers are detached or not.
There’s also an auto volume mode that prevents big jumps in loudness, a night mode that boosts dynamics with the volume low, and DoubleBASS, which extracts ultra-low frequencies and recreates them in the audible range of the subwoofer.
The HTL9100’s power output is rated at 210W, with 120W from the soundbar and 90W from the subwoofer – all provided by TI Class D amps. Inside the soundbar are two 2.5in midrange drivers and two 1in tweeters, while the wireless speakers each have a 2.5in driver that operates at full range when detached but are low pass filtered when connected to the soundbar to match the other speakers.