Hey all, since there are no reviews anywhere of this thing on the net (only information), i thought i'd be kind and leave you my thoughts. I'm not an audiophile and not an average comsumer, but i am a HD geek and am purple (meaning i have both Bluray and HDDVD), to give you a rough idea of my background and love of audio/visual.
Review: This thing is huge, it's wider than my samsung le40m87bdx. It looks beautiful, the shiney piano black finish is only on the front panel, not all the way around the unit. There is a simple power on switch on the side and the connections on the back are very simple and it took me under 5 minutes to unwrap, plug everything in and set up. Included in the box are a composite cable, an RCA audio cable and 1 x optical cable. I made the mistake of opening the 2 optical cables i'd bought before looking thoroughly in the box.
The remote control is thin and light, very simple to understand and the layout is pretty basic. You have individual controls to raise or lower the volume for each speaker and the sub. The range is from +10 to -10. You just change them manually on the remote. It is easy to switch between the different inputs as the buttons are at the top of the remote.
Performance? It rocks! I've got both my 360 and PS3 hooked up via optical cable. In terms of whether it is better or worse than 5.1, it's neither. It's just different. Let me explain the best i can and i'll use Star Wars as an example. With normal 5.1, you can hear the tie fighter approaching from the (right) rear and moving towards you and then off in a front (left) direction (as it passes over you). From my experience with the soundstage, it sounds as though it is approaching but the sense of direction isn't neccessarily as clear. You just know it's coming towards you from the right and off to the left, but it sounds as though it is in the room with you and not coming from a little speaker behind you. This is what i mean by the direction not being as clear. Because it's a more natural sound that fills the room, you can't tell that it is coming from any one particular speaker, it just sounds like it coming from somewhere over to your right.
I also watched transformers HDDVD on it last night and it sounded incredible. The music and sound effects filled the room and since the idea of the sound stage is to bounce the sound around the room, it does a very good job of living up to it.
I guess what i'm trying to say is that the soundstage and the way it is designed (to bounce sound off the walls) makes everything sound as though you are in the room with the action and it sounds more natural.
Oh and you can switch between 5.1 and 2.1 and can tell the difference so it does produce 5.1 from this soundstage.
I give it 5* because it does exactly what it says on the tin. It fills the room with all 5.1 channels of sound to make the audio feel more natural than artificial. A no brainer in my opinion for anyone who (a) doesn't want the hassle of wiring and speakers around the room or (b) doesn't want to fork out on an expensive surround system but doesn't want to buy a cheap and nasty system.
N/B: This review is based on my setup, the acoustics of my room, and my opinion of the soundstage and some audiophiles might not fully agree with my review.