Pros Compact, powerful, lots of inputs uh ... good looking
Cons Surround effect isn't really there, despite any other claims.
Summary I've had this Sound bar system for four months, and in that time I've put it through its paces, but before I get ahead of myself I should start at the beginning.
Set up was a breeze. Unboxing the unit took longer than setting it up. As a rule of thumb it pays to always have some extra hdmi cables on hand, and when you're buying what is essentially an av/receiver and speaker system in a box, this is doubly true. Bear in mind you'll need one hdmi cable per connected device, and one to connect the unit to your tv as well. Connected to my soundbar are a directv hr22-hddvr, ps3, and xbox 360. The 360 is the only device not connected via hdmi, as it's one of the archaic grandpa models with component-only connections. Running a single optical cable to the tv input bypasses the 360's glaring hdmi deficiency.
Once everything was plugged in I hit the power button and the system fired up. Total setup time, minus unboxing, was approx 5 minutes ... no joke. Navigating the menus on this thing isn't the most intuitive experience around. Actually scratch that, navigating the menus works fine, but the nomenclature on many menu selections are terribly vague. The various "sound modes", think of them as eq presets, all handle their respective source material fairly well i.e., the music setting handles music well, the movie setting movies etc. I find that standard is the best all around with the center channel at +3.
The quality of the sound output by this little wonder is pretty amazing. Highs sound pretty clear (again with minor center channel adjustment) and the lows come through nice and hearty with little distortion ... depending on source material. I'll just say this right out, while I'm deeply impressed with the overall sound quality of this sony soundbar, any claims of surround sound reproduction (simulated or otherwise) are patently false. The sound field is pretty well delineated between the three front channels. You'll hear people walking up from the left before they enter the on screen frame, and while this is a pretty convincing effect, there is still a soundless void behind you. Don't get me wrong, I love this system and would recommend it to anyone looking for a high quality sound solution for a small room at a great price. That said, if you're expecting the performance of a traditional 5.1 system, then buy a traditional 5.1 system ... or you'll be disappointed. Now that the gorilla, so to speak, has been addressed, let me get back to the praise. Just about everything I've watched/listened to on this system is amazing for both senses. Blu ray discs, dvds, video games, and other "pre-recorded" media fare the best by far. Check out the opening scenes of Star Trek (2009) and The Watchmen with the sound cranked to a comfortable level and you will be amazed. Bass is nice and rumbly without breaking up into nasty noise, even at higher levels. Dialogue and other high range sound effects sound clear and exhibit great directionality (again though only in the front channels, but exquisite nevertheless). Television seems to be the black sheep of the bunch in terms of audio quality, although this is most likely due the satellite source than any problem with the Sony. All things considered, when weighing the sound producing abilities of this unit and nothing else, I can't recommend it enough. If you're looking for an upgrade of a 2.1 setup or even just stepping up from the built in speakers the sony ht-ct100 will blow you away. Period.
Some other things you might want to think about. I have a sony bravia television, and the soundbar is also a sony ... you know what that means! That's right hdmi smart sync, or happy handshake, or whatever it's called works between both devices. What this means is when I turn on my tv, the soundbar turns on as well, and switches to the correct input. What can I say it's neat, and prevents me from adding yet another remote to an already crowded lineup (stupid bluetooth). I'd also like to state that the volume output of this thing is huge. 20 is about the limit for me, unless I don't care at all who I'm disturbing with my noise. Anything beyond that is getting into neighbors-pounding-on-my-door territory. Also, and this is something I should have mentioned earlier, the soundbar performs as well at low volumes as it does at the high end. So if you want to watch movie late at night while the kids, wife, or whoever is asleep, you can do it without sacrificing any fidelity. Good stuff.
Bottom line for me is that this system is too good to be passed up. I purchased this for a small bedroom set-up, which happens to be my primary entertainment center, and I couldn't be happier. The only complaint I have is that the ht-ct100 does exactly what it says it does. It doesn't do my laundry, cook me breakfast, or anything else. But you know what? It does exactly what it claims it can do, and it does it in a supremely capable fashion.
Pros Unobtrusive, clear sound, 3 hdmi in's, decently priced.
Cons Menu requires the manual to understand, no on-screen display, remote must be pointed at the sound bar, sound quality not as rich as the top rated models.
Summary I've had the Sony BRAVIA 3.1-Ch. Home Theater Soundbar Speaker System with Subwoofer for about a week now and am happy with it. I have a small condo (~550 sqft living room area) and wanted some decent, affordable sound for my TV & iPod, without running wires. Also, I needed a system that wouldn't shake my walls and irritate my neighbors.
The Sony provides clean sound that fills the space well. It provides some surround sound simulation, which is nice. The bass is more than I need in my condo. I keep the subwoofer set at -2 to 0; this provides some rich lower frequencies without transferring sound into the surrounding units. The sound bar provides much better sound than provided by my new Samsung LN52B750 TV. I hooked up my system (PS3, satellite, Xbox360) with HDMI cables.
The control menu visuals are on the subwoofer, not the TV screen so it's more difficult to read.
I think it's well worth the $247.99 that I paid. I recommend the Sony HT CT-100 sound bar for providing good sound in its price range.
Pros Easy to set up
Cons Paying $70 for the Sony Digital Media Port to play my iPod.
Summary Got this at a Best Buy January sale for $199. The sound is very impressive for such a small sound bar, we never need to use max volume and we have a very large room. Comes in an extremely large box. Connected to my Xbox, PS3 and HD DVR. Hated all the wires from my surround sound so this is the perfect choice.In reply to some of the negative posts. It's a $300 soundbar people! Of course it's not going to sound like Concorde going over your head, you get what you pay for.
What stops me from giving it 5 stars is having to buy Sony's proprietary DM Port accessorie to play my iPod (retails for $129 but I found one on Ebay for $66) when some of Sony's surround sound packages come with it already.
If you have been thinking about buying one for a while don't worry you won't regret it.
Updated on Feb 6, 2009
Pros 3 HDMI inputs, easy to set up, sounds great with movies and music, great price
Cons Could use one more HDMI, but that might be a little picky.
Summary I got this rather than a home theater in a box system because I wanted a small speaker set up. I think it sounds better than some of the cheap 5.1 systems. It also sounds better than the vizio, samsung, and boston sound bars. If you want great sound for a small apartment this is a perfect choice.
Pros - HDMI Switch
- Few cables
- Nice sound
-Easy to Setup
Cons - voice levels get drowned out a little
Summary I do like the system a lot. It was easy to setup but what bothered me was that you couldn't easily get your tv speakers to work with the stereo speakers. The other issue is that the voice levels are a tad low. I turned the center speaker all the way up and that has helped some. I do like the system a lot and would recommend it to people who want a quality system that is easy to setup.