The Philips HTS8100 is a less-expensive option in the sound bar product category ($800) compared to competitive models. It includes a subwoofer and a slick DVD player on the player's front panel. The unit looks spiffy sitting under any flat-panel TV or mounted on the wall with the thoughtfully included wall mount. (If you plan on wall-mounting the sound bar, remember that it has to connect to the subwoofer, which means wire running from the floor to the wall.) You also get an iPod dock in the package that connects to the main speaker unit, but again, that means a little more wire and a less clean look. Still, this is better than the alternative, which is no iPod dock at all, as with some sound bars.
The HTS8100 connects to your TV via an HDMI output (there is also a component and a composite output), but there are no video inputs to speak of, which means you can't connect video sources, such as a gaming console or Blu-ray player, directly to the unit. You can, however, run your video cables to your TV and the audio cables to the HTS8100 in order to enjoy your various sources on the sound bar.
The included DVD player performs incredibly well in terms of video quality. Images look detailed and sharp, with vibrancy and luster that is lacking on some standalone players. The unit is capable of upscaling DVDs to as high as 1080p.
This unit does a good job of simulating surround sound and, while it won't compare to five (or seven) speakers plus a subwoofer, if you are shopping for a sound bar, then style is probably more important than performance. The HTS8100 sounded a bit thin on some movies, but the subwoofer did a great job providing the low-frequency energy.
Read more about the high points and low points of the HTS8100 on Page 2.