Among budget-priced options, it would be a challenge to find a home theater system that offers a better mix of performance and value than the Philips HTS3251B/F7. An integrated Blu-ray player -- not a more basic DVD spinner -- is part of the mix. Video performance with Blu-ray discs is pristine, and it's good enough with DVDs to please most viewers. Features aren't very abundant, but there's support for Blu-ray's BD-Live features as well as streaming from Netflix (though not from other Internet content providers). One negative with the Home Theater in a Box's (HTIB) web connectivity is that you'll need a wired Ethernet connection close at hand as Wi-Fi is not supported. A more general negative is that connectivity options are limited, and there are no analog or digital video inputs.
Sound quality also isn't the best, according to some critics, though it's fine for watching movies. Users, on the other hand, have fewer issues with the sound from this 1,000-watt (overall system power), 5.1-channel HTIB. Many report that the Philips HTS3251B/F7 has enough oomph to rock the house -- as long as the house is on the small side. Still, if you have the budget for it, the Panasonic SC-BTT370 (Discontinued) garners a bit more praise. Video performance is excellent, there's a more robust line up of Internet providers (and built-in Wi-Fi to make getting them a little easier) and sound quality is more highly regarded.
Among the pros, ConsumerReports.org provides the best review. There are also lots of user reviews at Amazon.com and Walmart.com.
ConsumerReports.org's review of home theater systems is up-to-date and includes the Philips HTS3251B/F7. Testing seems competent, but discussion is too brief to be truly informative. Comments can only be read by subscribers.
Review: Home Theater Systems, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
More than 25 user reviews of the Philips HTS3251B/F7 can be found at Walmart.com. Most people are happy, as the 4-star overall rating shows, and 86 percent of all owners say they'd recommend the system to their friends. Both audio performance and value are praised, as is the unit's video quality.
Review: Philips Blu-ray Home Theater System, HTS3251B/F7, Contributors to Walmart.com
Reviews of the Philips HTS3251B/F7 are limited at Amazon.com. The handful of owners who check in give the system a 3-star (out of 5) overall rating. Consumers don't have issues with the system's Blu-ray playing-chops, but they complain about missing features and odd quirks, such as the lack of inputs and the way the HTS3251B\F7 always reverts to the Blu-ray player as the output source at system startup.
Review: Philips HTS3251B/F7 Home Theater, Contributors to Amazon.com