Sharp Soundbar HTSB200
Although I have seen a couple before from other manufacturers in closed demonstration areas this is the first I have had one to review.
The Sharp Soundbar measures 77x8x6cm the middle figure is with cables inserted. It should ideally sit just in front of your TV but it can sit anywhere within the two metre length of the supplied audio out cables from your TV. Two word of caution do not block the line of sight to your TV’s remote sensor that is normally along the front edge of the TV.
Should you wish you can also wall mount it but I suspect you would do this if you have wall mounted your TV.
I found in my tests that if you leave the audio out cables in the rear of the TV and even in the soundbar as well they do not cut out sound from the TV speakers unless the soundbar is powered on and only then only in the TV mode.
The rear of the unit has four sockets two for ‘line 1’ the TV or any other device that separates the audio, one for DC input and the final socket for anything that uses a 3.5mm jack plug such as an iPod or an MP3 playing device.
The base (or back if wall mounting) has eight substantial brass screw threads more than enough to hold the unit securely to a wall. The sides and top are clear. This leaves the front that has the speaker arrays (including no less than four sub woofers) behind black metal mesh forming the whole width apart from the central 7x6cm area and this has the display screen with two columns of two blue LED lights that change according to the mode selected. Finally there are five small push buttons.
The unit can be controlled entirely from the front buttons but of course there is a remote control so you can change settings without having to leave your arm chair.
The four sound settings are very different and it might take a while to decide which suits you and your watching habits best. Of course this might vary according to what you are watching but the stated settings are ‘Standard’, ‘Cinema/Game’, ‘Sport’ and ‘News’.
I tested this not only with my own 32inch TV but also with the recently reviewed 37inch Panasonic offering. The soundbar is stated to be designed to work with TV’s below 42inch.
With everyone now trying to save electricity the .6watt standby will be of interest.
As this is the first soundbar I have reviewed I can only comment on the improvement from TV’s own speakers. It was a vast improvement with far more depth and according to the setting even a feeling of surround sound.
I have reviewed a couple of external speaker systems the most recent offering was with the LG Blu-ray player (2-10-09) and while I had them at different times the effects were quite similar and in both cases a big improvement on standard TV sound. Of course the LG system was a home cinema set up designed for use with the Blu-ray that of course also has Dolby built in to the movies.
Doing my Internet searches found the Sharp Soundbar at a best price of £104.99 from the first link below.
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