Samsung HT-BD1250: 5.1-channel home theater offers Blu-ray, Netflix, Pandora

Samsung offers a traditional 5.1-channel home theater home theater system with Blu-ray and a panoply of online extras and wireless options.

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John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
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John Falcone
2 min read
Samsung HT-BD1250 head unit
The "head unit" of the HT-BD1250 (speakers not shown). Samsung

Samsung's got three new all-in-one home theater systems for 2009, all of which are headlined with built-in Blu-ray and support for streaming online Netflix video and Pandora's free Internet music service. The HT-BD8200 and HT-BD7200 are both "lifestyle" systems with minimalist form factors, funky designs, and front-only virtual surround sound (the former is a speakerbar with wireless subwoofer and the latter sports a 2.1 design). But if you want real surround sound, you're going to need actual rear speakers--and that means the more traditional 5.1-channel design of the Samsung HT-BD1250.

Samsung, of course, already offered at least three Blu-ray home theater systems in 2008 (see the HT-BD2T, for instance), but the HT-BD1250 has the big advantage of offering full compatibility with the latest Blu-ray features that were missing in last year's models--BD-Live and lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding--in addition to the aforementioned Netflix and Pandora support. Like the other 2009 models, the BD1250 also includes an iPod dock, a "green-friendly" kelp-based subwoofer, and the ability to stream audio from A2DP-compatible Bluetooth audio devices, such as music phones. But for the unit to fully flex its wireless muscles, you'll need to invest in two extra accessories: an 802.11n Wi-Fi dongle (to access the BD-Live, Netflix, and Pandora online streams without needing access to an Ethernet cable) and a wireless rear speaker receiver (to avoid stringing speaker cables from the front of the room to the back). Look for Samsung's 1000-watt home theater system to hit in the spring of 2009 for just $550.