Pros + Sound is clear, bass is more than enough, design is sleek and modern
+ Bluetooth connectivity
+ Quick set up
Cons - Odd hexagon shape, a bit bulky in depth
- Only connections are optical , 3.5mm aux analog, coaxial, and bluetooth
Summary I am one to do a LOT of research and testing before I buy an expensive electronic product, especially if I would like a product to last. A little background... I am a college student in my third year of engineering, I am a perfectionist, and I don't mind paying a little extra for a little more. I have two bedrooms, one at school and one at home that I live in about equally, as I am frequently in my hometown for semester-long internships. I have a PS3 hooked up to a 42" Samsung TV. I started looking into the realm of home theater/home audio to upgrade my bedrooms right after the beginning of this semester. I began by looking at full blown theater systems but quickly realized that these would cost loads of money, and more importantly, they would be overkill for my adequately sized 12x12 and 13x14 foot rooms. This was my introduction to sound bars.Edit:
Upon my first glimpse at sound bars, I started with the big name brands for audio: Boston Acoustics, Polk, Bose to name a few... As somewhat of an audiophile, and moreover a perfectionist for everything, I wanted good crisp sound and something that would last. I did some preliminary research on said brands and went to retailers to give them a try. It seemed like all of "audio specialists" at these stores had quite varying suggestions and recommendations, so I just went by my expectations and my gut after testing the various models.
After my first round of research and testing, I decided that the Polk Audio In Home Theater 3000 was the best quality product for its price. The sound was pretty clear, and it synced with my Samsung 42" TV very easily. I don't think that I was completely in love with it at first, but about a week after I purchased it, I was proven that I wasn't in love. The subwoofer started cutting out and making fluttering noises (dictated in some of the reviews). I returned it for another Polk IHT 3000 to avoid multiple transactions, and the second sound bar did the exact same thing. Do not buy a polk model under the IHT 5000.
I went back to square one, researching, testing, and waiting for deals. In my opinion, with an active sound bar model, a subwoofer is a must in reproducing the full spectrum of sound especially prominant in movies and video games. Many of the higher end models sounded the same and were often beat to death in quality even by the Polk I had owned, so I decided to look at cheaper models to save some cash (I am a college student after all).
Online reviews and tests led me to the Sony HT-CT260, along with an LG, Samsung, and Vizio. In tests and reviews, this Sony is completely above and beyond other comparable brands. And more importantly, it out duals most of the higher end ones, while at half or even a quarter of their cost!
I bought this model about two weeks ago and was very anxious to try numerous things with it, there are so many features and minor adjustments that make a major difference! Whetever it is, music, TV, gaming, sports, there are enough bells and whistles to please all listeners. The bass has more than enough OOMPH for a small to medium sized room, and rivals the Bose 5.1 surround sound system in clarity and in Bass. (I was playing a song with pretty deep bass, and knocked pictures off of the wall in the room adjacent to mine. This makes me question the other reviewers and their competence when it comes to electronics.)
No, this is no 5.1 or 7.1 system, it will not always produce the "virtual surround sound" with everything. But there are times when I am quite tricked by this system, especially during blu-ray movies and video games. It does enough to simulate the surround sound in situations that you would want it to if placed correctly.
For best result:
I have found that placing the sound bar within a foot or so vertically of your listening position and in a central position along a wall, placing the sub behind the listening position, and giving the woofer no less than a foot clearence around it yields the best surround sound effect. The woofer adds a rear dimension and the bar provides the left, right, and center effect for the mid and higher range sounds. It doesnt always work, but most of the time it is sufficient.
Also, if you feel that your bass is "flat" or "boomy" play with the subwoofer placement (a HUGE bonus having wireless subwoofer). Try the corners of the room, along the side wall, front or back of the room, etc. There are a million different shapes, sizes, and orientations of rooms. It is all about trial and error.
Overall this product is an absolute must have for those with a lower budget, not wanting to make the commitment to a 5.1 or 7.1 system, or trying to downsize and avoid the thousands of wires that come with a full blown system. The sound is clear, the bass is more than enough, the design is sleek and modern, it is durable, and works like a charm. Well done Sony, I shouldn't have doubted you in the first place. Please, I invite anybody with questions or comments to submit them below. I have found this system to be a "diamond in the rough" and I hope this review will help in your decision to improve your home theater experience. Happy shopping!
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Updated on Dec 26, 2013
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Pros Easy to set up and use. Features that actually work as described in the manual! IR Repeater works great if bar blocks the TV remote receiver. Sounds 100x better than TV speakers (no expert here beyond that). Bluetooth connected to phone in a snap.
Cons Very minor issue: Power cords are short (subwoofer is wireless but still has a power cord). Included optical cord is short (beware if your TV output jack is on the left of the TV).
Summary Needed something simple that provided better sound than the TV and this fit the bill perfectly, especially for the price. Looking at the CNET reviews for other soundbars, I would expect this one to rate very highly. If you're looking for something simple and reasonably priced that delivers what it promises - this is your soundbar.
Pros Setup was really easy - plugged everything in and it was working in minutes. The sub turned on and connected automatically. Also tried bluetooth with my iPhone: setup was easy - was playing wireless music from my phone in a matter of seconds.
Cons The sub driver and its port are made of paper. The sub pops on medium volume! Maybe if you're in a 10' x 10' room and doing some easy listening this would be acceptable, but under average conditions the sub is completely disappointing.
Summary I work for a non-profit that just got two of these. Besides the sub popping it's a really well-designed, beautiful looking system. But seriously, I can't imagine anyone hearing their subwoofer pop on every low note and thinking that they bought something worth having - especially for $300.
Pros Love the bass response and theater surround.
Cons No hi def audio format support or NFC. Maybe I should have waited for the HT-CT660.
Summary I use it every day and love it.