By now most everyone is acquainted with surround sound, typically a 5.1 or 7.1 setup, which can do a more than fair job at recreating the audio experience afforded at the cinema. But Philips' new 360Sound ups the ante with a sound system comprised of five satellites speakers with a tripole configuration (one firing forward and two as side-firing), alongside a subwoofer and tripole center speaker. That's a total of 16 speakers, plus a Blu-ray player as the centerpiece, all in a fairly decor-friendly package thanks to the small size of these speakers.
Alongside the Blu-ray/DVD unit (Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD audio), the Philips 360Sound System can be hooked up to a portable media device like the iPod or Zune for audio/video playback or wi-fi connectivity with an optional USB adapter, the unit can access Philips Net TV service for downloadable content. We're also pleased to see Philips consider some eco-friendly choices in their operational design and packaging:
The [Philips 360Sound] is also carbon-smart with a low stand-by power of less than 0.3W, use of vegetable-based inks and packaging buffer material made of 100% recycled paper pulp.
No word yet on pricing or availability, but we hope to get a review unit when domestic availability is announced, as we'd like to see how the system handles recreating movie and music sounds in a smaller space like our own, with the tripole setup. We'd also wish the speakers were customizable in colour, or at least easily painted, for even more decor-invisibility. But overall, the physical impression of the Philips 360Sound seems modest in physical presence, something we practically demand in consumer-grade home entertainment equipment (opposed to an audiophile's preference where speakers' presence is likely appreciated, if not completely required).