Moving up to a full 5.1-channel surround sound home theatre system can often be a costly venture.
if you factor in the player, a proper DTS/ Dolby Digital decoding amplifier and a set of 5.1 speakers, it’ll easily cost you between RM5,000 and RM7,000.
This may be an acceptable price for true audiophiles but what about the rest of us, where price is more of a factor than audio fidelity?
Well, this is where the HT-C455 home theatre system from Samsung comes in.
At only RM1,299, the company gives you a full home theatre system which includes a woofer, four surround speakers and a centre speaker as well as an DvD player with a builtin DTS/Dolby Digital decoder and amplifier built-in.
Yes, it’s DvD player in a world where Bluray is starting to take over, but we’ll deal with that issue as we go on.
Some assembly required
First off, it’s clear the HT-C455 is built to a price — the speaker cabinets are made of plastic and sound a little hollow when tapped, and each individual speaker is very light.
Samsung has done a remarkable job of packing the entire home theatre system in a relatively small box, but this also means it’s all in pieces and has to be assembled by the user.
Armed with a screwdriver and the instruction booklet, i proceeded to assemble the speakers. THE Walkman, the Sony cassette device that forever changed music listening before becoming outdated by digital MP3 players and iPods, has died. it was 31 years old.
Sony announced that it has ceased production of the classic, cassette tape Walkman in Japan, effectively sounding the death knell of the once iconic, now obsolete device.
The Walkman is survived by the Discman (still clinging to life) and ironic music listeners who think using a Walkman in this day-and-age is charmingly out-oftouch.
it will continue to be produced in China and distributed in the United States, Europe and some Asian countries. Digital Walkmans are also being made with models that display lyrics and have improved digital noise-cancelling technology.
Still, if you’re looking to chisel a date in the Walkman’s tombstone, then oct. 25, 2010, is as good as any. For many, that it’s taken this long is surprising: “They were still making those?” Perhaps oct 23, 2001,
Each of the four satellite speakers are identical in every way and are made up of three pieces each — the top-half (which contains the actual tweeters and mid-range cones) connects to a second section, which in turn connects to a heavy base.
The reason i mention this is that the molding of the screw threads for the base are quite poorly made and it was really tough to drive the four screws in properly without stripping the screw threads or stripping the Philips head on the screw.
Apart from the struggle to assemble the speakers, though, the rest of the set up was a breeze.
The DvD player itself has colour-coded connectors with matching cables, so it’s a simple matter of placing the speakers in their respective positions and matching them to the cables.
once that’s done, you’re ready to go.
You’d think that from the cheap speaker cabinet quality that the audio would be bad but i was really pleasantly surprised at how well the HT-C455 performed.
it’s certainly not up to the standard of an expensive home theatre system but the audio quality is really quite good.
in tests, i found the speakers to have aboveaverage quality with good bass and clear enough audio.
The audio didn’t break-up even when i turned the volume all the way up.
The DvD player itself is not too bad — it can upscale DvDs to 1080p and smoothen out the jagged edges.
However, an upscaled DvD still can’t compare with a good Blu-ray with 1080p native resolution.
The player also accepts a variety of video, photo and audio formats, from DivX, JPEgs, and WMv to MP3s — all you need to do is load it in a USB Flash drive and plug it into the player’s USB host port to play.
Karaoke fans will be glad to know that Samsung has also included two microphone ports on the front for your singing enjoyment.
if you own a Samsung HDTv, connecting the player to the Tv via HDMi also means that you can use a single remote control to manage both the Tv and the player.
now here’s the thing — in a world where people are now moving on to Blu-ray, is the HT-C455 even relevant?
Well, if you consider it as a DvD player, perhaps not, but the player does come with an optical digital input, which accepts raw 5.1 DTS or Dolby Digital data from modern Bluray players (Sony PlayStation3 included) and decodes, amplifies and outputs it to the speakers.
This essentially means that even if the DvD player isn’t used at all, you can treat the entire set up as an amplifier and speaker system by hooking up a Blu-ray player to get the full surround sound experience.
it may seem like a waste of the DvD player, but it’s still pretty cheap for a home theatre system.
Despite the rather cheap build quality, the Samsung HT-C455 is a pretty decent-sounding home theatre system for the price.
it’s certainly not going to win any awards, but if you want an entry-level system to get you the home theatre experience, the HTC455 isn’t bad at all.
Pros: Surprisingly good audio quality; optical digital input accepts 5.1 signals from compatible Blu-ray players.
Cons: Cheap build quality. nostalgia for the Walkman today is because it eliminated any separation from music. it felt like an appendage, which is perhaps why some (with questionable fashion instincts) clipped theirs to their belt.
The Walkman was also the father of the mixtape, an offspring that nearly trumps the progenitor.
For the first time, music was something you could make yours by arranging it and swapping it.
For those young and unfamiliar with this process, making a mixtape typically entailed gathering songs by the Cure and Depeche Mode, labelling the tape with care and awkwardly giving it to a love interest in homeroom.
The Walkman didn’t disappear so much as it was improved upon. Sony continues to use it as a brand, but the company long ago ceded hipness and style to Apple. The iPod will likely one day befall a similar fate, and another generation will gasp in joined wistfulness.
When it comes to music and how we hear it, we’re all romantics. — AP