Pros Three HDMI inputs , one HDMI output capable of 1080p. Extremley easy setup. No rear speakers to have to run cable for and no drilling.The price is seductive.
Cons No speaker calibration tool to tweal the speakers to your particular room dimmensions. Surround effect is negligible.
Summary If your used to a real 5.1 Home Theatre in a box such as one of Sony's other Dream sytems You'll be dissapointed in the strength of sound, but come on for $300 bucks your getting a pretty sophisticated and up to date setup with all the proprietary Sony Bells and whistles. I have my HD cable box, PS3, and Xbox 360 running through it and I must say it looks amazing on my 65" Sony Bravia DLP. My entertaining area is only about 725 square feet and rear speakers wouldn't have fit symetrically for optimum sweet spot listening. The only other sound bars I considered were the Polk SurroundBar and Yamaha YSP-4000, both solid choices but much pricier and require you to buy other peripherils.
Pros Smallest sound bar you can find. Great Sub Woofer for such a low cost.
Cons Surround Sound effect is minimal, but expected.
Summary This system sounds great especially if you use it in a smaller room. Turning the volume pretty high really does create a surround sound effect that will rumble your couch. If you don't want to spend much money and don't want to see wires running all around your room, this unit will blow you away. I was very skeptical after seeing how small it was, but it really does fill the room with booming sound. However, it is important to remember that is it made for small to medium sized rooms and will not fill a big room with as much surround sound as a higher end five speaker system. You really can't beat the price tag and the quality sound!
Pros Works with Xbox360
Cons Maybe not so good for large rooms
Summary If you live in an apartment, condo or have a mid-size living room that needs a system, this'll work.
I purchased the system because I live in a condo, needed something for my HDTV/Xbox 360, didn't want to spend a ton of cash, and my better half does not like wires and clutter.
The sound bar is small and powerful. The bass is impressive. Default settings are nice, and you get a pretty crisp range of sound considering the unobtrusive size of the unit. I set it up in five minutes and played with GTA IV, Halo 3 and a few movies. All sounded much better than they did off the HDTV's speakers.
It may not be true surround sound, but for a smaller place, this bar is an exceptionally solid value. And unless you're a huge audiophile, this system is a good value. You probably won't find a better system at this price that doesn't have a lot of wires.
Pros Lots Of Inputs, Good Bass, Nice looking Cabinet, Easy hookup and contrary to other reports, it can be very loud.
Cons No High End Sound, Just lots of Bass and muddled Low Midrange. Forget surround sound. The Menu system is counter intuitive
Summary I bought this based on CNets review and this is the second time they have been dead wrong and coincidently it's on a Sony product again!So after 3 weeks of playing with this system I have some better news. What I have found is that if you can change the device you are using to PCM audio output you will get much better sound from the speakers, but if your device will only output 5.1 or AC3 sound you will be stuck with the flat sound and no highs.
My Panasonic 46" Plasma's internal speakers have much better sound than these speakers, the sound from the CT100 is muddled and low toned, you won't be hearing glass breaking or any high pitched sounds, just a low rumbling kind of audio. In order to get even half way decent sound I have to keep my TV speakers "ON" so I have some highs and then use the CT100 as basically a Subwoofer only.
Trust me on this one, anyone who says this thing sounds even reasonably good has never owned a real 5.1 speaker system or has never heard a good stereo system.
It's not that I am picking the CT100 apart based on comparisons with $1000+ systems, I am comparing it to straight sound coming out of my Plasma TV and I can also tell you that even in the Bass Category it does not compare to the Sound my old Sony 36" XBR Tube TV had. The XBR's internal subwoofer was on par with the CT100 and the treble was 10x better.
The Menu system on the CT100 is a real mess, but in the end that does not really matter much because you will rarely use it.
Using A Bluray Disk of Transformers I tested the different Audio setting on the CT100, I tried "Concert", "Movie", "Standard" etc. all these settings dont make any difference to the overall sound, it still sounded exactly the same no matter which setting I used.
There is no Bass or treble controls so your pretty much stuch with whatever sound the unit produces.
The Sub woofer is very nicely built, I have cranked it up ver high and it still has not buckled or distorted, so I can overall say that the Sub is very good, the LCD display etc is very nice and informative although most people won't ever be able to see it since there sub will most likely be hidden away. The inputs are numerous and very good, this may be the single most attractive part of the CT100.
If your Tone Deaf to the high end spectrum the CT100 will be great for you, everything above about 4 Khz is attenuated to almost zip. (The human voice goes up t0 about 3 KHz) so you get an idea that even a womens voice starts to sound a bit bassy on the CT100. If your willing to open the Speaker Bar and maybe replace some of the speakers with better quality speakers you may get much better sound, this is the option that I think I am going to go with because quit frankly I cant afford a Yamaha system so if I spend another $50 on the CT100 I may be able to get it to reproduce sound up to 10-12 KHZ which would make it ideal. Your best bet if you have not already bought these speakers is to just look else where! While the Price, the cabinet and everything else looks great, the sound will disappoint.
Updated on Dec 18, 2008
For some really stupid reason the amplifier inside the subwoofer seems to decode 5.1 or Dolby sound and de-emphasize all the high notes while pumping up the Low Bass notes. When you input a PCM signal the signal processor in the Amp seems to be in a custom mode so you can change the sound using the Soundfield options and at least get a jist of treble from the speakers. Overall I would still say that these speakers are never going to be impressive just OK at best.
"It's Going Back..."on by aeneas01
Pros aesthetically and physically a perfect for my ht needs - sleek and well made.
Cons extremely signal dependent. absolutely shines with some signals and provides all of the volume range you would ever require - but also fails miserably with far too many other signals while providing extremely weak volume even when set to max.
Summary before tossing out the packing box and allowing the return window to close, i highly recommend playing a dozen or so dvds and going through all of your sat & ota channels to get a firm grasp on this unit's severe volume limitations. so close, yet so far...