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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Home Entertainment

Samsung HT-XQ100: Self-facilitating cinema node

All-in-one home cinema systems don't usually float Crave's boat, but with HDMI output, video upscaling and USB connectivity, Samsung's new unit is the most interesting of the year

Samsung's HT-XQ100, which we saw at CeBIT 2006, may look like a standard home cinema system, but further investigation by Crave's gadget monkeys reveals something rather revolutionary.

It's not only one of the first 'in-a-box' systems to feature an HDMI output for high-quality digital video, but it's also capable of video upscaling. This means it will turn your standard-definition DVDs into high-res 720p or 1080i images, which is perfect for flat-screen owners needing a quality boost from their old movies.

But while this is certainly the first upscaling home cinema package we've seen, it's not the most interesting part of the HT-XQ100. When you remove a small panel on the side of the DVD unit, you can connect a USB device directly to the system. Acting as a USB host, you can play MP3 music from your portable player, DivX video from a PVR like the Archos AV500, or JPEG pictures from a digital camera. We've seen products like the Buffalo LinkTheater offering this functionality, but Samsung is the first major manufacturer to offer support.

The system also has all the usual Dolby Digital and DTS audio formats, and you'll be able to buy a separate wireless kit for around €100 (£70) that will remove the wires needed to connect the rear speakers. To match the different colours of Samsung's new LCD range, the HT-XQ100 will be available in black and white from May, priced at €549 (£380). A 2.1 system with the same functionality will also be available. -GC

See our CeBIT 2006 Special Report for all the latest news, product announcements, photos and videos from CeBIT.