So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
A capable home theatre system
- Powerful amplifier with plenty of connectivity, well-built speakers
- Difficult to set up, lacks mid-range
If you have the spare time to set it up, Pioneer’s HTiB817S is a competent home theatre system.
Price$ 1,299.00 (AUD)
Pioneer's HTiB817S is an easily expandable home theatre system that delivers impressive audio at a reasonable price. It might be too complicated for novice users to set up, but once configured it's a good choice for a high-level sound setup.
The system is divided into three boxes, with the subwoofer, satellite speakers and VSX817S receiver bundled separately. The huge array of connections means that you'll have to have a bit of know-how to get everything up and running.
The receiver comes in either black or silver and is sold separately as Pioneer's VSX817S unit. It has a vast array of connectors on the rear and would be suitable as the basis of any serious home theatre system. Three S-Video ports, three component inputs and a whopping four composite inputs cover video, while audio is channelled through three analog RCA inputs, two optical and two coaxial digital inputs.
The speakers, while relatively light, are well built and have a simple silver finish. They're also wall-mountable with optional brackets. The unit's subwoofer is quite sizeable and its cube shape means that it is difficult to hide. However, it is quite a stylish unit, with a similar finish to the speakers.
The five satellite speakers connect to the receiver using regular speaker wire and the subwoofer is attached with an RCA cable. The advantage of this is that if you have a non-standard placement for the amplifier, you can easily buy longer lengths of cable. No other leads are supplied, however, so you will need additional cables to connect the HTiB817S to a DVD player and television.
As previously mentioned, the HTiB817S doesn't include a CD or DVD player — the only audio capability out of the box is an inbuilt AM/FM tuner. We connected it to a Samsung BD-P1000 through component to test DVD, Blu-ray and CD video and audio.
When watching The Matrix, we found that the speakers performed capably. A crisp, cinematic sound was produced, with clarity and good detail at both low and high volumes.
Treble was consistently clean and had a very crisp feel. The satellite speakers are largely focused on higher range frequencies, meaning that treble has a very noticeable volume boost over mid-range audio. They can sound slightly tinny and harsh at high volumes, but at a comfortable listening level in a large room the sound was balanced and rich.
Mid-range was the downfall of the speaker system. The subwoofer isn't flexible enough to reproduce these higher notes and the satellites are too small to give any kind of power to mid-range without distorting. As a result, the system has a very noticeable frequency gap, especially obvious when listening to acoustic and classical music.
Bass from the subwoofer was a nice addition to movie audio. Generally bass lagged slightly, with a slow decay creating long, booming bass even at lower volumes. This gives an impression of powerful bass which is great for movies, but anyone listening to music may find the bass distracting and overpowering.
Volume levels were more than acceptable and were easily enough to fill a large room. No evident distortion was heard at normal listening volumes, but there was some mid-range distortion when listening at higher volumes. The VSX817S amplifier is a suitable system for running these speakers, with plenty of functionality including twelve surround sound modes, support for standard audio formats like Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES, and other adjustments like dialogue enhancement and volume normalisation.
If you already have a dedicated DVD player and some spare time to spend hooking up all your home theatre components through the receiver, then the Pioneer HTiB817S is a decent option.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
- 2 Oppo R15 Pro review: A compelling mid-tier option with lots of value and few compromises
- 3 LG E8 OLED TV (2018) and SK10Y soundbar review: If you've been on the fence about OLED, now might be the time to jump it
- 4 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 5 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Amazon bolster Australian Echo lineup with Echo Show and Echo Sub
- Panasonic releases DP-UB9000 Blu-ray player
- Foxtel updates Foxtel GO
- LG's 2018 TVs get smarter from today with Google Assistant and Alexa support
- HomePod to get new Siri Shortcuts, phone calls, and other Siri features in upcoming update
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Hands on with Huawei's Mate 20 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies