Philips HTS8140 review

As long as you're not expecting 'proper' surround sound, this is an impressive do-it-all movie player Tested at £600.00

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Our Verdict

As long as you're not expecting 'proper' surround sound, this is an impressive do-it-all movie player


  • More convenient than a six-speaker system
  • very good upscaled DVD pictures
  • decent ability with movie soundtracks


  • Sound doesn't surround as well as a 'proper' speaker package
  • not agile enough for CDs
  • units are fairly large

This new Ambisound system uses "psychoacoustic phenomena, array processing and precisely angled driver positioning" to produce a surround-sound field from a single array of speakers.

But it's not terribly convincing. We're used to soundbars having a fairly wide stereo field, but little ability at projecting sounds around the back of the listener. This has a narrower projection, reducing the extent that sound envelops you.

As long as you're not expecting too much, though, this Philips has a lot going for it. Put Training Day into the built-in DVD drive and the picture is upscaled to 1080p with excellent stability. Edges are sharp, colours are vibrant, detail levels impressive.

Narrowness aside, sound performance is very good. Voices are clear and detailed, while explosions and action scenes benefit from a weighty presentation.

Good with movies, less so with music
The challenge of a classical CD exposes the '8140's limitations. Dynamically, it's all a bit squashed, and the subwoofer produces rather flabby bass that struggles to mesh with the midrange and treble. Still, it's perfectly listenable.

The other thing to consider is the units. This is a two-piece system comprising the main speaker/DVD bar and a separate subwoofer; neither unit is exactly small.

And you won't be escaping cabling entirely. If you want to also connect a game console or your Freeview tuner to the system, it's the subwoofer they have to plug into, meaning you can end up with a few unsightly wires.

Still, this is clearly far neater than a full system, and the excellent styling goes a long way to making-up for the size of the units, so if you're looking for decent movie sound without 5.1 speakers, this is worth a look.


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General Information

Manufacturer Website Address
Brand NamePhilips
Product TypeHome Theater System
ManufacturerPhilips Electronics
Manufacturer Part NumberHTS8140
Product NamePhilips HTS8140
Product ModelHTS8140


Package Contents
  • HTS8140 Sound Bar System
  • Quick Start Guide
  • User Manual
  • Dock for iPod
  • Remote Control
  • Batteries for Remote Control
  • HDMI Cable
  • Full SCART Cable
  • MP3 Line-in Cable
  • FM Antenna
  • Interconnect Cable
  • Power Cord
  • Wall Mounting Bracket
  • World Wide Warranty Leaflet


Number of Digital Optical Inputs2
Number of Analog Audio Inputs1
iPod SupportedYes
Component VideoYes

Technical Information

Player-Recorder TypeDVD Player
Media FormatsDVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-RW


Upscale Scan Format1080p
Scanning ModesProgressive Scan
Video FormatsDivX 3.11, DivX 4.x, DivX 5.x, DivX 6.0, DX50, DVD Video, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, SVCD, Video CD, WMV

Physical Characteristics

Width104.7 cm
Depth15.4 cm
Weight Approximate8.90 kg - Main Unit, 12.70 kg - Subwoofer
Height17.4 cm
Dimensions17.4 cm (H): 104.7 cm (W): 15.4 cm (D)


Speaker Configuration5.1
Sound SystemDolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic II
Wireless SpeakersYes


Limited Warranty1 Year