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CNET First Look
Energy Power Bar hands-onThe Energy Power Bar sounds better than most sound bars with music, but there are better overall sound bars available for less money.
Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and we're gonna take a look at the Energy Power Bar. Now, you may know energy from it's line of traditional speakers, but the Power Bar is the company's first sound bar and it's selling for $400. Now, a lot of new sound bars have a slim thin profile. But the power bar is still pretty chunky. And that's the fifth cylindrical shape and it actually curves on the bottom. So, you'll need to use the included rubber feet to keep it from rolling back and forth. Around back, you'll see, there are just two inputs, an optical input and an analog input. So, you wanna connect everything to your TV first, then connect the TV's output to the power bar. There are also key hole slots in the back so it's easier to wall mount. The included subwoofer is wireless and is relatively compact, which is a simple gray finish. Neither the sound bar or the subwoofer really got exciting to look at, but they're not objectionable. So, they should blend in well in the living room. The Power Bar can be controlled by the buttons on the front panel or by a remote. But energy doesn't include a remote with this system. Instead, you're expected to program the Power Bar to accept commands from your TV's remote. Now, that simplifies the amount of remotes you need, but it's not quite a perfect solution. The problem is, when you say increase the volume, your TV's still gonna be receiving those commands. And if you've turned your TV's speakers off like you're supposed to, you may get a message reminding you that the speaker is disabled. Now, the Power Bar isn't the only sound bar with this flaw. And it's not a problem with every TV, but it's still a frustrating design choice and you should check out your own TV before you buy this product. With Energy's reputation for great sounding speakers, we had high hopes for the Power Bar, but it really wasn't that impressive. The real strength of this system was playing back to channel music. But when you switch to Blu-Ray's and DVD's, it starts to sound a little flat. The sounds wasn't quite as detailed or as powerful as we would have liked. And when we compared it directly to Yamaha's YES101 and Hiro's SPEV40 slim, both would cost a lot less. We end up preferring both of those systems for movies. So, overall, Energy is a great company for speakers, but the Power Bar misses the mark, especially when there's so many other good competing sounds bars that offer a better value. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the Energy Power Bar.