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Building a home-cinema set-up from scratch using separate components can be a difficult and expensive undertaking, especially when you're looking to put together a Blu-ray system. This is where kits like the Samsung HT-BD1250R come in. It's a one-box, 5.1-channel surround-sound kit with a built-in Blu-ray player, iPod dock and FM radio tuner, providing everything you need for the bargain price of just £450 or thereabouts.
Quantum of pizzazz
The HT-BD1250R doesn't really stand out from the crowd in terms of looks. Its glossy black finish is seemingly standard on pretty much every piece of AV gear these days. But Samsung has tried to add some pizzazz by giving it pleasantly curved edges -- to match its TVs, no doubt -- and has shifted the flat volume dial to the top of the main unit. Unfortunately, this makes it awkward to place another piece of equipment, such as a games console, on top of it.
As this is a 5.1-channel surround-sound system, you'll find four identical satellite speakers in the box, plus a very small and squat centre speaker. There's a larger, passive subwoofer too. All of these connect to the main unit via colour-coded wires, so setting them up is a doddle. As you'd expect at this price point, there's no auto set-up feature, so you have to tweak speaker distances, delays and volumes manually, but this only has to be done once and it isn't a big chore.
You'll also find an iPod dock in the box, which connects to a port on the rear of the main unit. It works with pretty much all iPod and iPhone models, right up to the iPhone 3GS, allowing you to pump music through the system or view videos and photos on your telly via the HDMI lead.
The rear of the main unit is also home to both component and HDMI sockets for hooking it up to a 1080p TV, but, unfortunately, there are no HDMI inputs, so you can't route other devices, like a PlayStation 3 or Sky+HD box, through it. Nevertheless, there are two digital audio inputs, so you can run the audio from these devices to the HT-BD1250R for output via the 5.1-channel speakers.