Pros: Price reasonably, Blu-ray disc and DVD playback look great and sound good. Easy set-up.
Cons: Speakers don't look very high quality, Can not fine tune sound.
Remember when Blu-ray disc players first hit the market not that many years ago? The first units cost $1000 plus! Fast forward to today. The Samsung 5.1 Blu-ray Home Theater HT-BD1250 is about half that amount. Not only do you get a Blu-ray player that produces stunning playback of Blu-ray discs. It also plays older DVD's with equally impressive results. The unit can fill your room with great sound too. Just how well does this Samsung theater system perform?
Once the box is opened, you will discover the player, five speakers, sub-box, wiring, iPod dock, and instruction manual. The Blu-ray unit itself is very thin and light weight. The top is a perfect match to Samsung TV's equipped the their trademark "Touch of Color". Because of the design of the player, the unit can only be stacked as the upper most component. The reason? There is a volume control mounted on the top right of the unit. This control is surrounded by a blue lighted halo when the unit is on. In addition, touch controls such as power, eject, play, ect. are mounted on a lip at the top, front edge of the player. By placing the player at the top of a component stack, all of these controls are easily accessed. The five speakers are very small and are made of rather cheap looking plastic. The sub box, on the other hand, is rather large and appears to be made out of higher quality plastic material.
Connections are made by wires of different lengths depending on speaker placement The wiring provided for the front and center channel speakers are not as long as those for the rear speakers. The sub wiring length is in between. Connections to the rear of player are done by simply plugging in the color matched wires. The connections to the speakers are made by taking the bare end wire and placing it into a spring loaded connection on the rear of each the speaker box. Note, that if you have a large room, the wires provided may not be long enough. Also keep in mind that every speaker has wires. Plan in advance how you wish to conceal the wires. The connection process is very straight forward and can be done in a short amount of time. The Blu-ray unit is connected to the video source by one HDMI cable. Once everything is connected, it is time to fire up the unit. With the remote, you choose menu and then set-up. Here, things as time, language, audio, display, ect. are done. The audio setup confirms that all speakers are present. There is a tone test to sound each speaker individually. Once the set ups are done, you are ready to enjoy your new home theater.
For those who have not seen Blu-ray, the difference, is very much akin in fact, to when you saw a DVD for the first time and compared it to a VHS tape. Blu-ray is that much better.
In order to get the full benefits of Blu-ray, your TV needs to be equipped with an HDMI input and your set needs to be a HD. While you expect the Blu-ray disc to be a great viewing experience, an extra bonus is that the standard DVDs look great as well.
Considering the size of the speakers, the sound that they produce can easily rattle your windows and your neighbor's nerves. While the theater produces a lot of sound, controlling the sound is somewhat perplexing. In the aforementioned set-up screen, there are numerous adjustments for each speaker. Oddly, these controls can not be accessed while watching a disc. The stop button must be pressed before the menu can be brought up. Sound adjustments can not be made on the "fly". The same is true of many "display" options. They too can be accessed using the included Samsung remote control, but can not be used while a movie is in play.
The story does not end here however. In addition, the HT-BD1250 is also a FM receiver, but don't throw out your current AM/FM receiver and amp. The sound produced by the FM receiver is quite "booming". While there are some audio adjustments, called "theater", "church", "concert hall", these fail to adjust the sound to a pleasant level. A simple bass, treble control would be useful.
The HT-BD1250 can also serve as a surround sound system for your TV programing. The issue is the volume. If the program is not being broadcast in surround sound, you must turn up the volume a considerable amount, just to hear it. If a program broadcasting in SS follows a non SS show, the volume is startling loud. There is a audio decompression feature that supposedly keeps the sound more constant, but really is useless.
The Samsung Home Theater can also accommodate Apple's iPod with an included docking station for play back. I have not tested this feature, but I'm of the opinion that the sound quality would be that of the FM receiver.
CD's can be played on the HT-BD1250. The sound matches that of the built-in FM tuner.
As we have learned the Samsung can play Blu-ray discs, DVD, CD's, has an iPod dock, and a FM radio. There is however, just one more thing. When connected to an internet source, it can play NetFlix movies, Pandora radio and update the system's firmware. On some Blu-ray discs there is a feature called DB live. With the internet connection, you can enjoy that feature . The unit can connect to the internet two ways. A direct hard wire connection, or wirelessly. To connect to your wireless network, you must buy a special Samsung dongle. While a iPod dock is included in the purchase price, the dongle is not. I have not tested the internet capabilities. I would guess that the speed of your connection would determine just how well the system would reproduce the internet movie.
In summary, the Samsung HT-BD1250 does a credible job of playing Blu-ray and DVD's and providing theater like sound in a home environment at an affordable price. There are added pluses of being able to hear FM broadcasts, play CD's, and use internet based products.
One word of caution. If you have an older Samsung TV equipped with Anynet, a protocol that allows one remote to control a number of other Samsung componets, the TV's remote will not work with the HT-DB1250's Anynet Plus. You must use the remote that came with your Home Theater.