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Philips HTB3525B Blu-ray Surround Base All-in-one Home Theater Review

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Setting up a home theater is usually expensive and time consuming… usually. The Philips HTB3525B is a unique all-in-one that sits under your TV (literally), and delivers a supreme sound experience for the built-in 3D Blu-ray player, video streaming services, and audio streaming. The setup couldn’t be easier, just plug it into your TV and you have yourself a home theater complete with virtual surround sound. There’s apps so you can stream video from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Vudu, plus you can stream audio from any phone or bluetooth device. You barely even need a cable box anymore, but if you have one then you can hook the audio straight into this speaker system.

What’s in the box

  • Philips Speaker Base
  • Power Cable
  • Remote control + Batteries
  • FM Antenna

The Philips HTB3525B is an interesting product. It’s not just a speaker bar, though it looks like one from the front. It’s a base that your TV sits on. It can fit up to a 60″ TV, but you’ll want to compare the size of the device to your TV base. My 50″ Samsung hangs off the back of the Philips a bit. The front is about 30″ wide, it’s 3.1″ tall, and 13″ deep. The front is entirely speaker grille with an LED display behind it and soft touch buttons on the top. There’s a slot-loading DVD/Blu-ray player discreetly located on the front.

The beauty of the HTB3525B is the internet connectivity and access to media. It has a built in 3D Blu-ray player that will also play any of your DVDs. In addition to that, there’s an unlimited amount of free and paid media. There’s only a handful of apps loaded on the device. YouTube and Netflix might be all you really need. There’s also Vudu, Twitter, Pandora, and even Facebook. You can even hook up a flash drive or hard drive via the USB port on the side. The apps are all a little bit slow to load, but once you’re streaming, the quality is great.

The built-in speakers can crank out 80 watts of power, and there’s even a built-in integrated subwoofer. It’s technically a 2.1 system, but it can virtualize full surround sound in a small to medium sized room. Virtual surround has been around for years and works by bouncing sound off of walls. It supports DTS digital surround and Dolby True HD. Tuning the audio to your liking is very simple and efficient. From any screen you can toggle between audio defaults like balanced, powerful, bright, clear, warm, or custom EQs. There’s also night mode, which keeps the very loud parts of your media from getting too loud.

For the price alone, the speakers sound great and they get really loud. They’re very clear and have some really nice low end. They sound fantastic for movies. The virtual surround isn’t the same as real surround, but it’s better than just two channel audio. If we have to nitpick, our only gripe is that music doesn’t disperse enough—it’s clear that it’s coming from one source directly under the TV.

Connectivity

  • Auxiliary-in (audio)
  • Composite video output
  • Digital Coaxial in (audio)
  • Digital Optical in (audio)
  • Ethernet or WiFi internet
  • HDMI 1.4 output (for the TV or Receiver)
  • Fixed FM Antenna
  • USB (for charging devices or accessing media)

The Verdict

The Philips HTB3525B Home Theater speaker base will fit a myriad of needs. It can be the extra volume and clarity you’re looking for from TV speakers, or it can be the DVD/BluRay player you needed. It can be your dedicated Netflix-machine or YouTube machine. Or, more simply, it can be your bluetooth speaker for streaming music from your phone; NFC makes pairing devices a breeze. It can be all of these things or just one and may still be worth the price. The truth is there’s a number if ways to deliver media capabilities to your TV these days (Roku, ChromeCast, Apple TV), so it’s a good thing that Philips’ speakers sound great. It’s definitely the easiest way to deliver media and sound to any TV. The setup is a cakewalk too, just don’t try to put it under your TV without someone helping. The Philips HTB3525B All-in-One Media Center Sound Base is currently available from Amazon.com for $299.99.

Buy it!

The Good: Lot of features, Bluetooth audio streaming, NFC, 3D Bluray, Virtual surround sound, Gets very loud, Great EQ settings, Easy to use, Easy to install

The Bad: May not be deep enough for some TV bases, Music source sounds very directional–not well dispersed, No HDMI inputs, Apps can be sluggish