Home Theater in a Box Gets Serious: JBL ProPack 600

It's no secret that home theater is the fastest growing sector of the consumer electronics industry. The HT phenomenon has been a boon to manufacturers and retailers alike.

It's also no secret that affordable one-brand systems are the fastest growing sector of the home theater market. Many companies now manufacture "home theater in a box" speaker systems in the $1200-$1500 range. JBL has taken that concept to a new level with the Cinema ProPack 600, a system with five full-range speakers, powered subwoofer, hookup cables, DVD player and home theater receiver, all for a suggested retail price of only $1199.

The eight-piece system comes packed in a single 95 lb. box measuring only 24" D X 18" H x 37" W, meaning that it meets all the requirements for shipping by United Parcel Service. The owner's manual includes all the necessary instructions for setting up the system; all consumers need to supply is a display---monitor/TV, plasma screen, or video projector. Those who wish to watch television on their theater systems will need an antenna, cable feed or satellite receiver and tuner. The system can be installed with ordinary household tools.

The power plant at the heart of the system is a DCR600 audio/video receiver equipped with Dolby® Digital, DTS®, Logic 7®, VMAx® and MP3 decoding. The DVD600 five-disc carousel DVD changer also plays audio CDs. The six-piece SCS135S speaker system includes four matching satellites, one center channel speaker and a 100-watt powered subwoofer. JBL supplies enough speaker cable for typical hookups, but buyers may want to upgrade the system by improving the cables. A programmable master remote control completes the package.