You'll struggle to find a simpler home cinema sound system than Yamaha's YSP-600. It's a single-speaker sound system that attempts to replicate the sound of a 'proper' 5.1 home cinema set-up from just one speaker.
The YSP-600 is designed to 'bounce' sounds around your room using carefully steered 'beams' of audio, with the aim of feeding you both direct sounds as in any conventional speaker system, and reflected sounds which attempt to create the illusion of real surround speakers positioned behind your head.
Plug it in and away you go
It's easy to set up: put it on a shelf in your TV stand, and then connect in your DVD or Blu-ray player via its HDMI output - the Yamaha has two HDMI ins, plus an output, necessary to pass pictures on to your TV.
And once the action starts, you'll be thrilled at just how effective this compact cabinet can be.
It adds real space and width to the soundfield in the dense combat of Flags Of Our Fathers, and relays the dizzying speaker-to-speaker drama of Cloverfield with remarkable accuracy, even in our big listening room.
Voices are deftly relayed too, the Yamaha capturing and conveying the tension in the same movie's dialogue with ease.
Bass could be deeper
Weaknesses? It doesn't do deep bass particularly well, although adding a good thousand-dollar subwoofer would fix that, and more disappointingly, it won't take HD audio (not even multichannel PCM) via its HDMI sockets, although these inputs do readily handle 1080p/24Hz video signals.
Still, given that there's no conventional alternative system at this price that can manage the HD audio trick, we'll let Yamaha off. Otherwise, this is an excellent all-in-one solution, and a major upgrade on standard TV speakers.
Easy to install; compact; relatively cheap; brilliantly effective 'virtual' surround sound performance
Doesn't do HD audio; can't offer deep bass