The Samsung HT-E8200 is a 2.1-channel soundbar system designed to bring thrilling cinema sound into your home without the hassle that goes with a regular 5.1 speaker system. It keeps mess to a minimum in several ways – firstly, the Blu-ray player, amplifier and decoder are integrated into the unit, eliminating the need for loads of boxes under your TV, plus the wireless subwoofer can be placed anywhere in the room without cables snaking their way along the floor.
Samsung is big on innovative and living room-friendly design, so it comes as no surprise that the Samsung HT-E8200 looks great – but a glance at the spec sheet reveals it’s packed with features too. All we need now is knockout AV performance and we could be looking at a must-buy…
The soundbar measures 1041mm wide by 96mm high, making it suitable for TVs between 40 and 46-inches, while its 131mm depth means it won’t stick out too far when wall mounted. You can also place it on top of your TV stand by connecting the supplied cradle, which attaches using a single screw.
The main unit is basically one long black bar, but it’s lifted from aesthetic mediocrity by the circular middle section where the disc is housed. This circle pokes out above and below the bar, with each part decorated by a glinting silver strip. The cool part is that you feed the disc into a slot at the top, and it slides smoothly inside.
The top edge and back section is covered in a glossy black finish, while a black mesh runs across the front. Right in the centre is an LED display that shines through the mesh, spelling out playback commands and elapsed time in large digits. Along the top is a row of touch-sensitive controls for all the key functions. It’s a sleek and stylish soundbar that oozes glamour without going over the top, plus it’s solidly built to boot.
The subwoofer is equally easy on the eye. Its gloss-black finish and curved corners make it look sleek and elegant, although at 290mm wide by 370mm high it’s fairly big. A single blue light tells you it has paired with the soundbar, which it does automatically when both are activated.
The soundbar’s rear connectivity is excellent. As well as an HDMI output, which is v1.4 and therefore supports 3D, you get two HDMI inputs that allow you to channel other sources through the soundbar. That’s great news if you only have one HDMI input on your TV, as you can use the Samsung as a switcher, or you can simply boost sound quality from games consoles, TV receivers and the like.
The HDMIs are joined by an optical digital audio input, composite video output, FM antenna socket and an Ethernet port. It’s a decent selection, but the recess in which they’re housed makes things a little tight, particularly for the HDMI cable. The recess isn’t quite wide enough so the wire has to be bent downwards, plus the HDMI plug blocks the Ethernet port when connected. You’ll get there, but it’s fiddlier than it should be. On the far edge are a USB port for flash drives and external HDDs and a 3.5mm minijack input to hook up MP3 players and other portable audio devices.