Yamaha's new range of home theatre kits are different from what you'll usually find out there in that instead of a DVD player and speakers, Yamaha bundles in an AV receiver instead. This probably makes sense for many of you who already have a DVD - instead of getting another player, you get a receiver which allows you to integrate all the other parts of your home entertainment system (for example, your games console or set top box).
The YHT-165S sits at the low end of the new range, with its receiver essentially the same model as Yamaha's stand alone RX-V357B (except it's only available in silver, as opposed to the RX-V357B's black). The receiver drives a 5.1 system with a total power output of 500W (100W x 5), and can decode Dolby Digital/Matrix 6.1, DTS/Matrix 6.1 and Dolby Pro Logic II. The receiver features a decent, if not exhaustive, list of inputs and outputs. Leading the charge are two component inputs (with one component out), which means you can feed it with the highest quality analog signal from two sources. It has two optical audio inputs, one digital coaxial audio, four composite AV inputs, two audio inputs and one AV/audio output.
The YHT-165S's six speakers (one centre, two front surrounds, two rear surrounds and a subwoofer) share the same silver styling as the receiver, and are quite compact. Both the centre and satellite speakers feature dual 5cm full range drivers, with the sub having a 16cm multi range driver. Total system frequency response is 30Hz to 25kHz.
As with the RX-V357B, our main gripe is the lack of a decent set of inputs and outputs, particularly digital ones. To be fair, though, it's not much of a gripe - Yamaha is aiming this squarely at the beginner home theatre enthusiast, so the bells and whistles are obviously being reserved for its more expensive gear.
If you already have a decent DVD player and are keen to move into proper home theatre territory, then the YHT-165S could be a good option. It's got all the specs a decent beginner system should have, plus the inclusion of a receiver makes integration with other home entertainment components a breeze.