Forced to stray from the separates path, we try Pioneer's unconventional all-in-one Blu-ray system
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- Russ Andrews
If you own one of Pioneer’s gorgeous Kuro plasma TVs and need a home cinema system to match, this is just the ticket. It comprises a DVD/HDD recorder, a 400W subwoofer receiver, four compact satellite speakers and a display unit that accepts commands from the remote control, enabling you to hide the other components out of sight.
The Pioneer RCS-9H offers recording and versatile speaker placement in addition to its typical one-box system capabilities. What's more, it combines the best of both recording worlds by featuring DVD-R/RW and 80GB hard-disk recording.
Compact all-in-one systems obviously have their place. After all, the biggest hurdle to most households pursuing their home cinema dreams is the amount of space taken up by dedicated full-sized speaker systems.
The Pioneer DCS-360 is a mid-priced home cinema system with the latest facilities for connection to flatscreen TVs. Critically, not all of us own a new flatscreen TV with HDMI socketry, so Pioneer has included socketry for standard def TVs too...
Combining the XV-DV353 player/ amplifier, S-DV360T 'tallboy' speakers and S-DV360SW subwoofer, this smart-looking Pioneer system is also available as the DCS-353 package with smaller satellite speakers.
If a manufacturer wants to enjoy brisk sales of a new home cinema all-in-one package in today's tough sales climate, it either has to do something dramatic in terms of features or design, or else it needs to aim squarely at punters' pockets.
Anchored around the rather substantial main unit, this system is powerful (100W per channel) and has some versatility, although there are a few key features missing - somewhat justified by the price
The DCS-424 boasts Pioneer's 3-Spot surround technology, offering both 5.1 and 'pseudo' surround, depending on how you place the speakers.It is also fitted with the usual home cinema goodies, including Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Pro-Logic II processing.