If your boss said to you, "Hey, we've been talking and we're of the opinion that you can do just as good a job with half as much pay," you'd soon quit in disgust. The same isn't true when companies such as Philips claim to be able to produce 5.1-channel surround sound from three speakers instead of six with systems such as the HTS6515. Instead of being disgusted, we blindly accept it and reach for our credit card.
You could be forgiven for thinking we don't much like 2.1 home cinema systems, but that's really not the case. The truth is, we love them because they offer you a way to vastly improve your home TV viewing experience, in return for only a minimal commitment to wires and a sensible sum of money. What we object to is the suggestion that it's possible to generate real surround sound from a couple of speakers stuck at the front of your lounge.
Still, the HTS615 does come with everything you need to start enjoying movies in a much louder more exciting way than before. The system is comprised of four parts: two stereo speakers, a huge subwoofer and the main unit, which is home to the DVD player. This being the age of HD, no product is complete without an outrageous claim of 1080p support, and the Philips is no exception.
The design of the whole thing is pretty tasty. The DVD player is especially sleek and can either be plonked on a table or slapped on a wall, whichever takes your fancy. It also features an electronic DVD drawer that's been nicked straight from the set of Star Trek and as such will keep geeks happy for weeks.
Wiring the beast up appears simple enough. One HDMI cable goes to the TV and one cable goes to the subwoofer. From there, the two stereo speakers are fed with their own wires, which we noted are proprietary in nature. There's also no option to expand the setup to include a pair of rear speakers, which we think is a missed opportunity.
If you want one, you should expect to pony up around £320, but the good news is you can get one right now should the desire take you. -Ian Morris