DVD home-theater-in-box systems seem to offer a lot of value from the spec sheet, but are often seriously disappointing in use, with lackluster audio and video being the norm.
So far our experience with Blu-ray HTIBs has been the exact opposite; almost all of the systems we've tested this year offer a legitimate home theater experience and the Samsung HT-BD1250 (street price as low as $500) is the best budget system so far. We were fully expecting lifeless sound after our review of the Samsung HT-AS730, but the HT-BD1250 proved our prejudice wrong, offering credible sound quality even with stereo music--a tough feat for HTIBs. Its built-in Blu-ray player is as good as the standalone Samsung BD-P3600 and streaming options like Netflix and Pandora should fully complement your physical media collection.
We had our quibbles about the usability of the design (although the system looks good) and like all Blu-ray HTIBs at this price it lacks HDMI inputs--you'll need to step-up to the Samsung HT-BD3252 or LG LHB977 if you want HDMI connectivity. But these shortcomings are outweighed by the systems strengths.
Yes, it's a little more expensive than competing budget systems, but if you can spare the extra bucks, the Samsung HT-BD1250 is well worth it.
The HT-BD1250 is a 5.1 system; the included speaker package consists of four identical smallish speakers for the front/surround, a slim center channel and a subwoofer.
The four bookshelf speakers sit 8.3 inches high, and have a stand built into the base. The front of the speaker has a glossy black finish, while the rest of the cabinet is matte black. Looking through the speaker grille, you'll see a rare sight on an HTIB speaker--both a tweeter and a woofer. The speakers aren't as small as the ones included with Panasonic's Blu-ray HTIBs, but we didn't find them overwhelming.