For those on a budget, the Yamaha YHT-395BL provides an appealing mix of value and performance. Though the HTIB kit does not include a Blu-ray player, there's lots of connectivity to add your own, including 4 HDMI inputs that support the latest features of that standard (3D video, HDMI pass-through and audio return channel support). Considering the price, audio performance can't be beat, reports say.
There are a couple of sticking points, however, and depending on your home theater setup, a couple of them could be major. The system lacks a video processor, so you can't upconvert lower resolution video to 1080p and you can't place analog signals on the HDMI link to your TV set, making hooking things up potentially more complicated. There's no networking ability either, so you can't stream music from your PC to the YHT-395BL or listen to Internet radio stations and content providers such as Pandora, and you can't listen to digital content from a USB drive or memory card because those inputs are not provided. Finally, users complain that the included speaker wire is woefully thin. If you need a Blu-ray player as well, the Panasonic SC-BTT370 (Discontinued) is an attractive option that costs a little more.
ConsumerReports.org provides a professional review of the Yamaha YHT-395BL, though the site's conclusions can only be read by subscribers. Walmart.com and Newegg.com are the best sources for user reviews.
ConsumerReports.org includes the Yamaha YHT-395BL among its tested home theater systems. Although ratings and opinions are rendered, discussion is brief.
Review: Home Theater Systems, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Though feedback is not especially abundant, those who report on the Yamaha YHT-395BL seem happy with it. The home theater system boasts a rating of 4.5 out of 5, with most giving it a perfect score. Many comment on the thinness of the stock speaker wire, but say that after replacing it with thicker stock, the audio quality is impeccable. The easy installation and setup are also praised.
Review: Yamaha YHT-395BL Complete 5.1-Channel Home Theater System, Contributors to Amazon.com
Eight users weigh in on the Yamaha YHT-395BL, and they collectively award the system 5 out of 5 eggs, with only one consumer not assigning a perfect score. Several facets of the HTIB impress this tech-savvy crowd; the four HDMI 1.4a inputs, excellent sound and easy setup earn positive remarks. The thinness of the stock speaker wire is the only drawback most users mention.
Review: YAMAHA YHT-395BL 5.1 Channel Home Theater in a Box System, Contributors to Newegg.com