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Home Entertainment

Philips HTS8000S: Flat-packed home cinema

Philips' HTS8000S isn't a DVD system that plays by the rules -- everything from the player to the subwoofer is as flat as an LCD TV, while the system itself will spin both DVD movies and SACD music

We thought that the award for the year's most stylish DVD home cinema was in the bag for the Denon S-101. But that was before the equally demure Philips HTS8000S arrived -- its pure good looks complementing kick-ass features such as SACD music playback and DivX video compatibility. The system also boasts component outputs, so if you've got a flatscreen TV you can watch DVD movies in gorgeous progressive scan video.

In fact, the system has clearly been specifically designed for the latest digital TVs. Philips has put it on a stringent diet, flattening everything down until it is as thin as an LCD or plasma. Even the subwoofer, normally a massive heavy box, is only 11cm deep. The DVD player eschews traditional design -- instead of lying flat, it sits upright and swallows discs via a slot on the side. The two speakers limit the home cinema potential when combined with a HDTV and an Xbox 360, but the system's 550W power is certainly enough to trouble the neighbours.

All the stylish spohistication of the HTS8000S is ruined by the amount of cables needed to tie everything together -- you're going to have a tough time hiding the mass of white audio and video connectors. We took advantage of the vacant office to turn the system on and have an early morning rock-out, and we were impressed with its audio power. To find out if this £400 system can cut the mustard in the AV department too, make sure you check out our full review. -GC

Update: a full review of the Philips HT8000s is now live.