CNET First Look
Philips' speaker base not for bass headsThe Philips Blu-ray Surround Base HTB3525B offers a compelling combination of useful features and appropriate performance at a bargain price.
[MUSIC] Remember the bad old days of home theater in a box units? These incorporated a DVD or Blu-ray drive and came in huge boxes with lots of speakers and so many wires. Well, these have now been replaced with devices like this. Hi, I'm Ty Pendlebury, and this is the Philips Blu-ray Surround Base. For $300 you get a single unit which sits underneath your t.v. Has a blue ray drive, smart t.v. and a faux surround sound speaker system. The styling is reminiscent of old VCRs with this dark grey cloth and vinyl wrap, but it still looks pretty smart. The base is pretty sturdy, too, and designed to hold up to a 55 inch television. The Philips comes with a good remote, though some functions can only be accessed in certain ways. For example, you can't use the source key to select Blu-ray, for example. You need to press the home button and navigate to it on the onscreen display. The menu itself is pretty clutter free, with easy access to all of the apps. Connections include HDMI out, USB, optical, coaxial, and auxiliary. This sound base even has an FM radio. performance wise it holds it own against the similarly priced Sony XT1 which comes without a blue ray drive. The Phillips is pretty good considering it does not have the subwoofer. And its especially good with dialog. Unlike other devices of its type it doesn't shame itself when it plays music either. If you're looking for a cheap system to upgrade a second tv or holiday house then the Philips Blu-ray surround base is a good one step solution. This has been Ty Pendlebury for CNET.com. [MUSIC]