CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Samsung HT-BD1255 review: Samsung HT-BD1255

Despite the rather plastic look and feel, this Samsung system offers plenty for the money and its audio and visual performance are both rather good for a HTIB system.

Nic Tatham
4 min read

Home-theatre-in-a-box (HTIB) systems can be quite sophisticated, like this new offering from Samsung. With Blu-ray playback, wireless rear speakers, wireless LAN with PC streaming and iPod docking, there's not much Samsung has left out on the HT-BD1255. But is this pure front on Samsung's part, or does this very up-to-date HTIB system actually have any substance?


Samsung HT-BD1255

The Good

Excellent BD image quality. Wireless PC streaming. Performs with both movies and music.

The Bad

Lightweight speaker construction. Wireless PC streaming requires additional dongle. Subwoofer lets the speaker system down.

The Bottom Line

Despite the rather plastic look and feel, this Samsung system offers plenty for the money and its audio and visual performance are both rather good for a HTIB system.

Design and features

This is a 5.1-channel configured design with four "tallboy" column speakers, a small centre speaker, passive subwoofer and Blu-ray/DVD 1080p upscaling head unit. All are finished in the now ubiquitous dust-attracting high gloss black. Partnered with an equally glossy plasma or LCD TV it's a stylish and modern-looking system. Build quality varies with the head unit put together quite nicely while the speakers are a bit plastic-y and flimsy. The subwoofer's nothing more than glossy bit of MDF and quite lightweight in construction.

"Wireless" means different things in today's electronic world, but with speakers it still means wires and this system's no different. The surround speakers can be hard wired to the head unit, but if you choose the "wireless" route it means hooking them up to a separate receiver, with speaker wires, plus the receiver needs plugging in to the mains as well.

The PC streaming component can be totally wireless — all you need is a router on your PC and using an optional WLAN adapter, the Samsung can receive and playback varies file types including MP3, JPEG and DivX, but not WMA or WMV. An iPod dock is supplied in the box, as are all the cables you'll need to hook everything up.

All the speakers are passive with the head unit providing all the amplification and processing. Its digital amps are rated at 1000 Watts all up — 5x 166 watts and 170 to the subwoofer, though the real world figures would be nowhere near this. The playing and processing side of the head unit is impressive — it'll do BD-Live and includes on-board decoding of both Dolby True HT and DTS HT-Master Audio, so it's bang up-to-date in this regard.


After a fairly lengthy build (bolting the various speaker bits together) and plugging in all the colour coordinated speaker cables into the head unit, the Samsung was all set to go. We started off with some music, as it's here that most HTIB systems fall flat on their faces. Admittedly, we weren't expecting much from the tiny drivers in all of the speakers, but rather astonishingly the HT-BD1255 proved quite a musical surprise. In Pro Logic II Music mode the spread and evenness of easy going female vocals was quite pleasurable. Goldfrapp's down tempo Seventh Tree proved eminently listenable — the Samsung covered the basics well with a balanced mid-range and smoothish top end. The subwoofer sounded a little monotone for our liking — it's not the most agile or tuneful bass, but adds plenty of substance nonetheless. Stereo depth and imaging was lacking somewhat, but these are things you listen for with hi-fi systems, which this is not — it's a home theatre system, but doesn't mind providing good background music.

Switching to movies, the Samsung loaded and played Blu-ray discs reasonably quickly and things looked good. Samsung's Blu-ray players have always produced consistently good-looking HT images and the HT-BD1255 is no exception. Spinning the excellent BD of Apocalypto colours looked very natural, details were crisply resolved and the contrast was fine with deep, solid blacks and sharp edge definition. Both the dense jungle and temple scenes looked thoroughly cinematic with a vivid, lively image teeming with detail and free from any digital picture noise. DVD upscaling was also handled well by the Samsung, something not all BD players are that good at. Its deinterlacing handled the vast majority of PAL DVDs well enough, steering clear of dropping into quality reducing video mode, as so many players do.

Loud action sequences were generally coped with adequately, but nudge the volume too high and the speakers protested, in particular the subwoofer, whose small driver and bass reflex cabinet can only provide so much bass. It's rather single-note too and unable to extend down into genuine LFE frequency levels.

Unfortunately, we didn't have the WLAN dongle needed to try out its wireless PC streaming, but if it's as simple as the rest of the system to set up and operate, then you'd want to take advantage of this feature, especially if you have a large digital music library on your PC or laptop. Alternatively, there's an Ethernet socket if you'd prefer to network it the wired route.


Despite the rather plastic look and feel, this Samsung system offers plenty for the money and its audio and visual performance are both rather good for a HTIB system. It offers the latest in Blu-ray playback and fits in perfectly with the high gloss décor that's so popular at the moment. A good choice for anyone with a Samsung HT flat panel to match.