Sound bars, which are designed to sit below a flat-panel TV and simulate surround sound from their compact chassis, are all the rage these days. With that in mind, Sharp has introduced two new 2.1-channel sound bars, the HT-SB300 and HT-SB200. The HT-SB200 will be available later this month for $249.99 (MSRP) while the slightly more feature-rich HT-SB300 will arrive in April with an MSRP of $299.99.
Both models are wall-mountable or they can be placed on a TV stand. According to Sharp, they should be paired with TVs 32-inches or larger (preferably with one of its Aquos LCD models).
In terms of specifications, you're looking at 34-watts of power, HDSS (high-definition sound standard) sound technology, and SRS WOW HD Sound, as well as adjustable bass, treble and sub-level options "for a unique surround sound effect without rear channel speakers," according to Sharp.
The step-up HT-SB300 adds digital audio decoding with DTS, Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro logic II decoder, as well as Dolby Virtual Speaker to simulate 5.1-channel surround sound
Both sound bars offer dual audio inputs, right and left RCA jacks, and a 3.5mm sub mini jack, which allows for a second audio source such as an MP3 player. The HT-SB300 adds a subwoofer output jack. According to Sharp, the included remote can "simultaneously control a Sharp Aquos LCD TV, as well as a programmed equalizer and an auto On/Off function."
We expect to see several sound bars come out these prices this year, and we'll be curious to see if any of them stand out from each other in terms of performance.