Do you want to improve the sound of your TV without filling your living room with loads of speakers, a box the size of the Titanic with 300 wires and more little blue lights than a trendy Soho winebar?
You're in luck: the £400 Yamaha HTY-750 is a simple, all-in-one sound bar, designed to improve the terrible sound emitted by most modern TVs and replace it with a far cleaner, more pleasant sound.
The HTY-750 keeps it simple in the design department. The front has a basic screen, which gives you the status of the device and allows you to adjust the various settings. There's also a volume control and power button. Additionally, it includes a simple microphone jack for calibrating the unit to your room layout.
The HTY-750 is clearly aimed at the bedroom/study market. It's small enough to fit beneath a much smaller TV than the other, larger sound bars in the Yamaha range. Instead of reading in bed, you can watch movies and leave the books for the train to work.
For us, one of the best features on the HTY-750 is 'My Beam'. It's simple: when you press the button on the remote, the Yahama refocuses the sound to where you are sitting and reduces the bass level dramatically. This is designed to help people who want to watch TV late at night without disturbing the family. It's actually quite startling how well this feature works, although we can't vouch for its ability not to wake your loved ones.
In addition to My Beam, there are a number of other modes, all of which adjust the way the sound bounces around the room. There are stereo, three beam and five beam modes. These all vary how the Yamaha focuses the 'sound beams' and will work differently depending on what you are watching.
You'll find sufficient connection options at the back. You can plug in a couple of analogue audio sources via the RCA jacks, and there are also digital inputs in the form of a pair of optical and one coaxial sockets -- probably more than enough for most people.
The HTY-750 can also decode Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 soundtracks, which basically means anything you might find on a DVD. Because there is no HDMI socket, you won't find support for Dolby TrueHD or DTS MA.
Although the sound from the HTY-750 is crisp and clear and the stereo separation is very wide, we never really got the sensation of being surrounded with sound. Honestly, we never really expected the unit to magically replace a full 5.1 system.
The low-end bass performance also leaves something to be desired. The HTY-750 doesn't produce especially ear-rattling bass, and if you adjust the gain on the bass frequencies, you can end up with slightly distorted sound. There is the option to plug in a sub to help pad out the low end slightly, but this is further expense and will take you into the realm of a proper 2.1 system like the Onkyo LS-V501.
Finally, we think that for what you get included, the HTY-750 is just too expensive. It has an RRP of around £500, and a street price of about £360. We don't really have a problem with the performance of this handy little device, but for what it does, we think it should be sitting around the £250 mark.
We did like the sound the Yamaha produced. We think the MyBeam technology is really handy, especially if you live in a shared house or need to reduce the risk of divorce that so often comes with home cinema systems.
If you're looking for an alternative, then consider the Denon DHT-FS3, which does admittedly cost more, but comes with a subwoofer for those low frequency sound effects. If you really don't want extra speakers then try Yamaha's own YSP-1100, which you can now get for around £500 online. The 1100 is much larger though, and won't suit smaller rooms as well.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday