Philips is an innovator who holds some of the world's most valuable consumer electronics patents. In Australia the Philips Fidelio HTL9100 system is proving extremely popular because it does things no other sound bar does.
This RRP $1,049.95 sound bar which is selling at Australian retailers for $946, delivers both virtual and true 5.1 surround sound via the introduction of magnetically held detachable speakers that allow owners to simply pick them up and move them into a rear position so that you get true 5.1 channel sound.
The HTL9100 initially looks like a regular sound bar and it delivers in either stereo or virtual-surround modes. But what this device has that is unique, are detachable end sections which can can be positioned behind a seating position. What's exciting about the the Fidelio system is it automatically kicks into true surround mode as soon as you have moved the speakers into place.
These detachable satellite speakers are wireless that use a proprietary 5.8GHz connection between the speakers and the sound bar, this eliminates interference with any Bluetooth or Wi Fi networks.
Philips promises up to 10hrs of continuous playback on a full charge of Fidelio's Li-Poly batteries, which recharge when reattached to the base station.
There's also a wireless subwoofer using the same 5.8GHz link, and which relies on Philips' own DoubleBASS processing which, the company claims can give the impression at least of sounds as low as 20Hz.
In the core speaker unit there's an integrated DAC and Class-D amps, together with a Cirrus Logic 32-bit DSP processor. That's hooked up to Philips' smart surround system, which can supposedly dynamically adjust playback to suit the acoustics of the room.
The HTL9100 also automatically switches between horizontal and vertical modes, depending on whether listeners have it on a bench or table, or wall-mounted. Connectivity includes a pair of HDMI inputs and Bluetooth, supporting wireless audio streaming.
It's a common problem. You want the proper 5.1 surround speaker setup but it always causes cable clutter. Compounding this tangle of cables, speaker placement in the real world is tricky to get right. If you don't mind spending, Philips's Fidelio HTL9100 system offers a solution. It is a slim, wall-mountable soundbar that comes with a wireless subwoofer and dockable wireless satellite speakers - it means the end of unsightly cables, the end of an eyesore living room.
In the slim main unit you have multiple ports - dual HDMI inputs, HDMI out, optical audio, coaxial as well as a 3.5mm audio port. All ports are on the back of the dock with spacing to connect multiple sources. It has white LEDs up front to indicate power, volume and connectivity. In addition, it also has Bluetooth for wireless connectivity smartphones and tablets.
Setting up the unit is easy. Just plug the wireless subwoofer and soundbar into a wall outlet and they will automatically
connect with each other. You can adjust the volume, bass, treble and initiate device search for Bluetooth using the supplied remote control.
Or you can download the Philips Fidelio app for Android or an iOS device and take control of your device this way.
In terms of performance, the output is fantastic. The sound bar delivers rich audio with excellent bass and treble and in reality sounds like a $3,000 to $4,000 5.1 channel sound system.
Even at high volumes, the bass/treble did not overpower each other and delivered a balanced output across both the front and rear speakers.
With a Blu-ray movie and a downloaded movie the sound quality was excellent with the rear speakers kicking in to deliver that big movie sound often experienced in cinemas.
The Fidelio HTL9100 is worth the price and we highly recommend it as a main sound system. Even music sounds good via this sound system which is not surprising as Philips has an excellent reputation for quality TV's and sound systems.