Samsung HTP-1200 review

An unusually designed all-on-one home cinema system

TechRadar Verdict

Given the right kind of display this is a superb performer, but it won't suit everyone's taste or TV


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    HDMI output


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    Noise on composite pictures

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    no Scart/S-video sockets

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All-in-one DVD home cinema systems are a godsend for movie buffs who demand the best environment in which to watch films, but don't have the cash to splash on a custom installed personal mini cinema. Their design is also coming on in leaps and bounds to complement the latest desirable flatscreen TVs.

The Samsung HTP-1200 is certainly a head-turner but it's unusual styling might not suit all tastes. The four slender satellites are all mounted on stands - so far, so conventional. But so is the main unit, giving it more than a passing resemblance to a roadside speed camera; albeit a very chic and stylish one!

The subwoofer is a bit of a beast and handles all of the amplification for the system, with a sizeable 800W power output. The centre speaker meanwhile lies horizontally and will fit neatly under a wall-mounted plasma or LCD screen.

But apart from its unusual styling, the big selling point of this system - and the reason we assume it carries a slightly more expensive price tag than its rivals - is the inclusion of an HDMI output for all digital signals.

This system is among the first to include this socket and while it's a definite highlight, the rest of the connectivity is average: composite and a progressive-scan-only component output feature, but Scarts or S-video are not included. Other goodies on the spec sheet are DVD-A/SACD playback and automatic sound calibration to adjust the audio output to suit your viewing room.

If you plug this system into a nonprogressive scan TV, you'll be pleased to see that the composite connection delivers a respectable signal, but you will notice colour noise and picture flaws on larger screen sizes and the brightness will seem a touch high.

Moving up the scale to component and HDMI, the pictures become impressively solid when viewed on compatible panels - even on screens up to 42in in size - and are pleasingly free from noticeable flaws.

The HTP-1200 is a formidable performer in the audio department, with the mighty subwoofer delivering a powerful performance not only in the bass department but also to the satellites via its amplification duties. The centre speaker handles dialogue and does a sterling job with it, too.

Give the speakers music to deal with rather than a film soundtrack and the HTP-1200 reproduces both the high-resolution DVD-A/SACD and regular stereo CD formats with a clarity and effortlessness that will please demanding audiophiles that are on a budget.

Whether or not you decide to plump for the HTP-1200 will be largely influenced by the type of screen you intend to plug it into. If it's a futureproofed flat screen you'll be fine, but unless your set has the specs to take full advantage of its capabilities then you'd be better served by a system with more connectivity. Michelle Long was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.