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[PHILIPS SOUNDBAR]- HTB5150 24hrs user run in impressions

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#1 of 3 YANG


    Second Unit

  • 476 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 1999

Posted November 17 2013 - 07:34 PM

Bought this soundbar from a warehouse sale over the weekend.
Finished set up @ 12pm approx. on Saturday, then starts the run in @ 1300hrs. With the setup as follows...
-the supplied HDMI cable, from the out port of the soundbar to my PANASONIC TH32X5S,
-an optical cable from my laserdisc player(used as a CD player most of the time) to the optical input of the soundbar,

With the softwares
-code 1 THE PATRIOT S.E, with RCE coded,
-code 1 PEARL HARBOUR 4 disc D.C.S.E,
-code 1 THE THIN RED LINE- enhanced widescreen edition with full bitrate DTS track,
-code 3 SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 2 disc S.E,
-code 3 TAEGUKGI HK release DTS edition,
-some vocal, bossa nova, movie soundtrack CDs for track tests.



(pic. borrowed... set up not mine, most likely artist or promotional illustration)
The set is very long... so long that I may need to upgrade my TV set to a 46inch one, so that the length compliments with the soundbar should it placed together. The set's subwoofer is active, and wireless.

Wireless subwoofer sounds very tempting huh?... Well it have it's limitations.
1. Cannot be placed more than a meter away. So... it still have to stay close to the soundbar within 1m range as stated in the quick manual.
2. Further exploration in the setup, reveals that the subwoofer volume cannot be controlled. There wasn't even a volume control on the subwoofer. Hence, lots of bass are "transmitted" to the sub, some of the movie tracks will sound too boomy.

The soundbar itself sounds very good. Put in some vocals or bossa nova tracks, voices are crisp and clear without distortions, mids are sweet and full. I would recommend switching off the subwoofer in some of these tracks, as the mid looking cones on the soundbar can deliver the subtile bass better. Switching on the soundbar will only make the tracks sounds unpleasant with boomy bass from the sub.

When i started to run the setup yesterday, the 1st disc i popped in was THE PATRIOT S.E. code 1 CTHV release with RCE coding. The RCE globe displayed... so upset.

Proceed to play with THE THIN RED LINE EWS DVD, colors of the greens is vibrant, flesh tones not too overtoned. Clarity of DVD still looks well on my TV without too edgy. Sound wise, the player/soundbar detects the audio and decodes as accordingly to either DD5.1 or DTS track. Unfortunately, due to the lack of control on the volume of the sub, motar bombing on the hills, wizzles of the bullets in cross fires, sounds very boomy. The music track by HANS ZIMMER sounds much more pleasing and sweeter than my POLKAUDIO S6 that have aged for numbers of years, even it had went through speaker cable change 2yrs back with BELDEN...


After THIN RED LINE, i popped in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN R3 2disc S.E, which is recorded with half bitrate DTS surround. Again, JOHN WILLIAM's SPR score sounds sweeter and grand. The first 25mins NORMANY carnage was presented with lots of effects, where one will afraid that the medium sized woofers on the soundbar will crack. But it doesn't. Bass is deep, strong, powerful... and loud and boomy. As i had mentioned, the subwoofer is sooo... powerful... and loud... sometime in some scenes, the whole movie experience is disturbed, due to the lack of power control and X-over point setting. Still... if one likes action or war movie stuff, they'll not be disappointed with the presentation qualities on impacts and effects. Folks like me, who is more concerned about, balance, will be picky on this subtile part.
The setting of video out from the soundbar yesterday was 1080p with 16:9 thru HDMI.

  :D  I let the soundbar play FM radio throughout the night from 2200hrs last night till 1000hrs so that the soundbar woofer can be more... soften? :D


Considering that some of my DVDs are not anamorphic, the setup on the soundbar on Sunday was 4:3WS @ 720p. Widescreen presentation without black bar achieved by using TV's zoom in setting function that removes off the black bars on the left and right of the 16:9 screen.


1st disc popped in, PEARL HARBOR Director's Cut 4disc S.E with DTS surround. HANS ZIMMER score sounds as good as yesterday's THIN RED LINE. Bass is strong and deep when one of the ship cracks apart as the bomb goes off. Directional effects well delivered, even if the speakers are all in front, can feel fighter planes flies around the living room during the dogfights. However... dialogues could often sound low, due to the disturbance of the boomy lows from the sub when musics and effects kicks in.
One may wonder, if i use zoom function of my TV to achieve full correct widescreen ratio by zooming in, wouldn't that affect the picture quality in presentation of the movie? Especially when the source is from DVD? :huh: 
Sitting through almost 190mins of the whole movie, i didn't notice any lack of clarity, lack of color vibrancy or qualities from the DVD and stretched image. Except during the chaotic and fast paced hospital scene when casualties are flooding in for treatments, some kind of image jerkiness at the right side of the scene was experienced. Strangely... during the PEARL HARBOR attack flybys, where the Jap Zeroes shoots on the sinking ship crews, no such jerks is observed. DVD rot? 


After PEARL HARBOR, follows by Region3 HK release of TAEGUKGI: BROTHERHOOD of WAR with DTS surr.  This time round, the whole movie is a tad bit softer. Perhaps due to the lower quality of Asian transfer... Sound wise, the soundbar never fails to deliver the effects and booms good. Very room filling track. Dialogues are much clearer this time... i guess due to frequent shouts and talk loud...  :wacko:


Anyway the above is my impression on the HomeTheater SoundBar.
There are goods and bads. As with most HTiBs do...
However is my surprise, this soundbar plays CD well, even from external source.
So... it's a give and take. Either potential buyer wants to achieve good effects presentation, or simply great music presentation. @ the price that won't cross over USD500... this is one that can satisfy.

#2 of 3 YANG


    Second Unit

  • 476 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 1999

Posted November 20 2013 - 06:31 AM

Okie... previously most of the movies ran during the weekend are in its' DVD format. Most of them are movies produced after 2000 where we're into the digital age of high definition sound and visuals which originates from new generation movie productions.
Today is my little rest day... after knocking off from work in the noon. I'm back home and give this setup a run of one of the classic war movie produced in the late 70s.
When the movie starts... it's a test of the system(though not really kind of reference quality) when the music starts along with the scene of recalling images of HUEYs flying left and right of the screen. The music have soft bass, along with the light thumping bass when HUEY blades swirls across the scene. 
After some time had passed... came to the stage where the fun and reference material kicks in.
When the beach party continues into dawn lifting off scene, bass from the blade rotations of the HUEYs getting ready to lift off gives the subs in different setups a good thumping tests! Unfortunately, such rumbling sense is not felt from the DVD transfer when compared to the LASERDISC release more than 15yrs ago...
THX transfer, Dolby surround, WS 2:1 transfer.
"How are you feeling JIMMY?""Like a mean Muddaparker, SIR!"
During the lift off, the rumble is kind of light that i don't feel my sub drumming. 
Then as the fleet comes close to the Viet-cons village coast, and WAGNER's RIDE OF THE VALKRYES starts, i felt the chorus sounds off from the invisible speakers, until the music comes to a grand stage.
As the fleet comes close to the coast, the whole room sounds like a concert hall filled with voices from the choir. That i have to tone down the volume abit to avoid disturbing the neighbours.
The whole chaos of the whole beach attack with effects all around is presented clear, loud and room filling. But still little lack of bass strength, even when napalm bombing kicks in after the whole overture.
"I like the smell of napalm in the morning... It smells like...Victory. ...Someday, this war will end..."
After the whole beach attack ends, i recalled that i had made a DVD copy of the Theatrical length LASERDISC which i had owned above, that was made thru my PHILIPS HDD recorder last year. So i stop the PARAMOUNT DVD from continuing. And slot in that backup disc, replay the beach party to launch attack scene again. Certainly, i cannot compare the LASERDISC image quality against the REDUX DVD release couple of years back. But the sound... WOOOOOOOWWWW!!! 
The system's sub rocks and rumbles the flat unit that i'm living in, that i'm kind of abit slow to run out from the kitchen, to the hall, look for the correct button on the remote to tone the whole volume down. Bass is strong and rocking most of the while during the attack, with effect so clear that even boomy bass can't hide it off!
After the whole attack ends, before the scene continues to the trip towards searching for Colonel KURTZ, a wild idea kicks in. 
I went to dig the original LASERDISC which i owned, same as the version above, slide in to the LASERDISC player which i had the optical out connected to the system, and play the same scene again. Okay... it's a tad bit of disappointment, after all, aging old system vs new age system... haa~~~ I still get the grand effects soundstage presentation. But the bass... perhaps there's something wrong with the cable?
Eventually i continue the movie till the end, without REDUX, but the backup DVD which i made to "keep" the LASERDISC collection alive.
One another scene of reference material to get presentation on the echoing concert soundstage. From far, when the HUEY approaching the stage, i could feel the chopper flying in from the invisible surround speakers. 
When the music starts, great mid bass is felt throughout the whole "What SUSIE dos"... the echoes... wow! Feels as if i'm in the screen!
The movie, with DVD release gives a pleasing presentation.
However, if one have the good old format still lying around somewhere, and have the equipment to play, go for it! The new system won't fail.
Now... i'm itchy... for DTS presentation. Which BlueRay edition should i go for? 

#3 of 3 YANG


    Second Unit

  • 476 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 1999

Posted March 31 2014 - 03:15 PM

It is sad today that i have to announce that the hidden cancer(un-stable multi-region programming) had struck upon my unit, due to last few playback of VCDs. The unit is now locked to R3 for DVD playback... :(


For numbers of years since my last acquisition of the DVR77, i had been shunning PHILIPS Optical Video products due to their un-stable multi-region code programming. What i had been experiencing with my previous players are common in the sense that once the unit were hacked, after certain period of use, the units will fall back into their pre-allocated region coding. However, in contrast, the multi-region programming of those sets at least managed to last till end of the warranty period, compare to this HTB5150 now, which last me only less than 5 months after ownership.


The most disappointing part is that when i contacted PHILIPS, they deny the existence of such product! 

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