Home networking takes your home entertainment experience to the next level, and this sophisticated 3.1 system makes it possible. Its Ethernet port lets you route music or video from your PC to the system, and view it on your main home cinema display.

Also on the spec sheet is a virtual surround sound mode, HDMI video upscaling to 720p (but strangely not 1080i) and support for DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/+RW discs. As for digital media, the deck will play DivX, JPEG and MP3 files from CD-R or CD-RW - though you can also play these from a USB device or via Ethernet. It's a decent feature list, but at £1,200 you'd expect nothing less.

The system is made up of two large floorstanding speakers, a dinky centre (where the surround effects emanate from) and a chunky subwoofer, while the slim main unit features a gorgeous sloping fascia. Inside, there's no automated setup function but lots of manual adjustments. Mac owners won't be able to take advantage of the network facility as it's only compatible with Windows XP.

Onto performance, and the front speakers conjure up a suitably sophisticated sound, taking the thumping 300 soundtrack in its stride. Yet while the centre speaker and processing achieve a convincing sense of surround, the results seem a little forced at times, and too detached from the rest of the soundstage. At least the sub digs deep to deliver gut-wrenching bass .

Viewing DVDs through the HDMI output produces excellent results, particularly when upscaled to 720p - colours are rich, skin tones look natural and black levels are deep.

The big question is whether the DD-8 justifies its hefty price tag, and we'd have to say it's a little over-priced, given that you can pick up a decent wireless 5.1 system for a lot less. However, pictures and sound are solid and network functionality is a nice bonus.