If it's true that most folks are drawn to home-theater-in-a-box systems (HTIBs) for their eye appeal, Samsung has another winner on its hands. The company's $1,200-list HT-DS1000's slender, tallboy speakers tower over most similarly equipped HTIBs, and its pedestal-mounted receiver-DVD-audio/video player is a work of art. It's also one of the first all-in-one home-theater systems we've seen that can upscale DVDs to HD-equivalent resolutions via its all-digital HDMI connection. The only caveat for style-centric buyers is the sound quality: the DS1000's aural agility is on par with most fashionable HTIBs', which is to say, far below what you'd get from a similarly priced A/V receiver/speaker package system.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.
The Samsung HT-DS1000 system comes packed in a large, 128-pound box, so unless you're built like Arnold Schwarzenegger, you might want to enlist the help of a few strong friends to move and unpack the system.
When the 2.7-inch-thick receiver-DVD-audio/video player is mounted on its pedestal, it stands 47 inches tall. If you'd rather not give up floor space to the pedestal, you can horizontally mount the receiver on the included table stand or wall-mount the unit. When you use the table stand, the receiver's blue display automatically adjusts itself to a horizontal orientation. Disc loading is a little out of the ordinary: press the Open button and the black-plastic cover retreats behind the receiver's aluminum skin, exposing the player's drive mechanism. You can then place your CD or DVD on the hub. Press Play and the cover glides back into place as the disc begins to play.
The 54.6-inch-tall front and rear aluminum-clad speakers stand on weighted metal bases while the matching 16.2-inch-wide center speaker rests on thick, rubber feet. As for the subwoofer, its uncommonly thin profile is countered by its extra depth: it's just 9.8 inches wide but 18.1 inches high and 20 inches deep.
The remote hides less-accessed buttons under a slip-down cover; in day-to-day use, you'll have to deal with only a few keys.
The Samsung HT-DS1000's four tower speakers each house five 2.25-inch midrange drivers and a 0.8-inch tweeter, while the center speaker duplicates the towers' driver arrangement in a much smaller package. As for the subwoofer, it sports an 8-inch woofer and a set of conveniently located volume and crossover controls, features rarely seen on HTIB subs.
The hunky sub contains all of the system's amplifiers: five 100-watt channels for the speakers plus a 150-watt amp for the sub itself. Surround processing is limited to Dolby Digital, Pro Logic II, and DTS. The DS1000 can also play DVD-Audio discs but not SACDs.
The Auto Sound Calibration Setup feature balances the speaker volume levels and sets the delays by measuring the distances between each speaker and the listener. To perform the autocalibration, you must plug in the supplied microphone and press a few buttons. It's easy enough to use.