Onkyo LS-V501: Show your TV how sound should be done
It's all well and good having an HD TV, but what's the point in all that high-definition picture quality if the TV sounds like it's got a mono speaker that's been submerged in jelly?
You look over at your TV and you feel a little twinge of joy. It's beautiful and you're proud of yourself for choosing (and paying for) such a divine piece of technology. You switch it on and marvel at the glorious high- definition picture and once again, you give thanks for your genius at selecting such a high-quality piece of kit. Then, in preparation for watching Transformers you increase the volume, and your heart sinks. Weak bass and nasty vocals.
Most people forget about sound in the quest for a good-looking TV with a great picture. The problem is, thin TVs mean rubbish speakers. If you want good sound, however, there are some solutions that don't require you to festoon your lounge with extra speakers. The Onkyo LS-V501 is one such system. It features a 2.1 speaker system, with a built-in DVD player and a bunch of support for various video and audio standards.
2.1 is a great compromise if you want high-quality audio to go with your movies, but don't have any interest in surround sound in your home. Two speakers and a sub provide many of the advantages of surround sound, but without you having to work out how to get speakers behind you.
In terms of video, you get support for DivX, which is pretty much like saying, "This DVD player plays DVDs, you know", as the once-niche standard has become as commonplace as water in the sea. With DivX support comes the ability to read a variety of different types of writable media, such as DVD-R/RW and most other formats. Video is upscaled to 1080i too, which will be appealing if you don't already have an upscaling DVD player.
From an audio point of view, you can listen to MP3s, WMA and of course audio CDs. The Onkyo can also decode DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital soundtracks, which means you'll get lovely clean speech and crisp pumping bass.
The Onkyo costs around £580 online, but for that you do get a good-looking DVD player with three awesome speakers, and that TV you spent all that money on finally gets some sound it can be proud of. -Ian Morris
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