Anybody heard Philips new tubed micro system?

I am shopping for an all-in-one system for my father who recently moved to an apartment. He is looking for a simple system that will play DVDs and CDs. He needs a very clear presentation of vocals and speech to overcome his weak hearing (most built in TV speakers are muddled).

For context, his former music playing system consisted of Macintosh and Sony ES electronics and well maintained Advent speakers. Given the state of his hearing, he does not want to drop $3500 to $6000 on an Arcam, TA or Naim system, nor does he want 6-7 cheesy plastic speakers with wires running all over his new apartment from the likes of Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, etc.

Which brings me to the Philips MCD908/37 - DVD Micro Theater DivX

On the face of it, this system is crazy off the chart:

-75 watt RMS per channel digital amp (x2 for stereo)
-built in vacuum tube preamplifier (with a little window to watch the tubes glow)
-AM/FM tuner
-Dolby digital decoding
-DivX, DVD+RW, DVD-Video, Picture CD, Video CD/SVCD, audio CD, CD+R, CD+RW, MP3
-High Def (720p, 1080i), Video upsampling, Video upscaling
-12bit, 108MHz D/A Converter
-3 way, Ribbon tweeter, Dome mid range, 5" woofer, Gold-plated speaker connectors (relatively big, heavy boxes)
-speakers boxes and sides of electronic cabinet are highly polished real wood - looks expensive
-subwoofer out
-leather and aluminum remote control
-decent speaker wires included
-suggested retail price $599 USD

...and it doesn't sound half bad. Huh?

I have listened to this unit play a couple of CDs in highly compromised circumstances on crowded shelves at two different retailers and it sounds good, but not as good as it looks (looks like Musical Fidelity and Dali combo, except for blue glowing lights that ring both sides of unit briefly when any function buttons are hit). I have not had a chance to observe the video performance as of yet. An aside: most sales people at big box stores where this is likely to be sold have no idea how to market something like this.

Question 1. Does anybody have any experience with this unit? livability, reliability, sound quality in real world setting, video performance, upscaling?

Question 2. How can Philips produce this unit for this price? Are they going for Sony's throat?

Any feedback much appreciated.
Ag insider logo xs@2xknownothing
How interesting! I haven't heard it, but I am amazed! It sounds like the perfect suggestion for non-audiophile people to experience better equipment. I look forward to hearing from someone who has heard it. Thanks!
That's a nice looking little system. I see the amp is spec'd at 100hz-20khz and the speakers 80hz-16khz so you will need a subwoofer. I will try to find this localy to go have a listen.
Sharper Image carries it. I have heard and it is very good for the price. I dont know what kind of tubes it takes and whether they are user replaceable. Personnaly I thought it looked beautiful.
Cnet reviewed it and there are a couple reviews on amazon where it is selling for $505 with free shipping.
I think CNET review is for another model. Couldn't find this one in the list for Philips.
I just googled philips mcd908 and it came up with the cnet but now I see it is .au (australia?). Anyway, google it and you will see.
Geared4me, Thanks for the info. I found the sound to be acceptable compared to other all-in-one systems in this price range, but was concerned about the video upscaling. Apparently CNET found both the audio and video performance underwhelming. Not terribly surprising given the list price. Looks like the industrial designers and feature marketers won out over the audio and video engineers in decisions about where to cut costs.

Well, at least its nice to look at when its turned off...

PS - my research indicates that to get a compact 2.1 system that even approaches moderate separates in terms of sound and video quality you would have to spend about $1600 on the Denon S302. LOL
I have no input on the Philips, but I do have a Teac integrated + Usher S-520 using either iPod or matching Teac tuner as a source. The sound is quite nice, clean, transparent, tight bass. best part is the system looks good too.

Those Teac are discontinued, but you can find them here on Agon occasionally. Forgot the model name, but they are finished in beautiful gold color.
I was going to suggest that you try to checkout the S302.

I have the Denon S81 compact stereo system in my bedroom and it is very good. This little system has totally astonished me. I brought it into my main system and hooked it up to my Silverline SR17.5 monitors (list $3500) and I think most people would have been floored.

The S302 doesn't have the amlifier built into the unit,it's in the sub, so I think that you would be held to the system speakers. That may not be a bad thing though. The speakers for the S81 are optimized for that system and they do sound very good.

That is an interesting little system there. I could never picture a Philips System utilizing tubes and the speakers that this system utilizes. That looks like something I might want to put in my bedroom or something.

It's definitely nice to look at whether it is on or off.

It's not too expensive, is it???

Oh..... Never Mind..... It's about $600.00

STILL...... For a system that uses tubes and ribbon speakers, that's not bad. To fill out the sound, I'll just mate it with a cheap $200.00 or $300.00 subwoofer. It won't supplant my main system, but it would be a nice back-up system for a bedroom though.


There are a bunch of good selections in compact systems when looking for sound only. The small Denons kick it and JVC makes some nice "executive" desk top systems with very clean amps and wood cone speakers(!). I have a cheap little Onkyo unit in my office that utilizes a digital amp and some modest 4 ohm speakers and it sounds surprisingly good.

But compact systems with good two channel sound and video upscaling that will drive an HDTV are really rare as of now. That will probably change, but the Philips, a unit from Sony and the two models from Denon are probably the only units aspiring to hit that target for now.
understand what you are looking for.

call me bias. my old trusty Teac is well made and performs exceptionally. my little Usher are also very well made and can take lots of abuse. those new mini system, 99% coming from China, are not quite as well made and often break in very short period of time. just another factor to confuse you more.
There's a pretty extensive technical explanation of the innards of the Philips unit here, including suggestions for modifying it substantially. You'll need to scroll down the page to find the beginning of the item.

I picked one up about a month ago for $45 on Craigslist!  The speakers and the unit look beautiful, but there was an anoying low level hiss that was very noticeable at low volume, and it didnt get louder when changing volume!  After quite a bit of web research I came across a recommendation to switch out the 12ax7 tubes for 12au7 tubes.  After considerable frustration in dissassembling the unit (the cover over the tubes cannot be removed from the outside, so the whole unit must be dissassembled, starting with the bottom cover that has 4 hidden screws under the pads!), i reached the tubes and low and behold they are clearly marked 12ax7 China!  Switched them out with some NOS Conn 12au7As and wow, all problems fixed and it now sounds absolutely awsome!  It went from heading to the trash pile to my easy listening position in the living room!  I cant believe the difference that change made, it is now dead quiet and the sound is much more natural (it sounded very Boxed in and restrained before).  Suposedly the properties of the 12au7 will also help in longevity!  
P.S. I just noticed that the tube change recommendation in fact came as the starting recommendation on the link that sfar provided just above my initial response!