Did Santa bring you a new TV? Or are you planning to grab one in time for the Super Bowl? Not to rain on your parade, but TV speakers are terrible.
That's why a sound bar is an essential addition to any living room. Even a cheap one will deliver vastly superior audio (if only because the speakers are actually pointed at you instead of down or away), but it's worth spending a little extra to get some cool, well, extras.
To wit: Today only, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Panasonic SC-HTB580 3.1-channel sound bar for $149.99 shipped (plus sales tax). It lists for $299.99, and the best price I've seen elsewhere is $199.99.
Unlike most sound bars, this one packs in three speakers, not just two. That means you have a center channel, the one typically devoted to dialogue. If you often find yourself cranking the volume just so you can hear what people are saying, then having to turn it down because the action scenes are too loud, you'll appreciate this.
The other highlight of the system (the "point-one" part) is its down-firing subwoofer, which makes a huge difference in the overall audio experience. What's more, it's wireless, so you can position it just about anywhere and not have to worry about an unsightly cord running to the TV.
Speaking of wireless, the bar also features Bluetooth, meaning you're also getting a killer Bluetooth speaker for use with your phone or tablet.
CNET hasn't reviewed the SC-HTB580, but some 40 Best Buy customers collectively rated it 4.5 stars (out of 5). That's a pretty rousing endorsement, especially considering most of them probably paid $200.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Why should your eyes have all the fun? Your ears deserve to enjoy themselves, too, and a sound bar like this will definitely make that happen.
Bonus deal: While you're poking around Best Buy's site, why not check out another today-only deal? The MetaWatch Strata smartwatch is on sale for $39.99, offering Android and iOS users alike a variety of information and notifications.
Reviews are a bit mixed, but for the price you may be willing to overlook a few deficiencies. (Android users in particular should pay careful attention to compatibility.) If anyone grabbed one of these the last time around, hit the comments and share your feedback!
Bonus deal No. 2: If I may indulge in a bit of nepotism, CNET and Whirlpool have teamed up on a contest. Enter thefor your chance to win a Whirlpool washer and dryer. And you can even score more entries by sharing your custom link with friends. Not exactly a tech item, I know, but who's going to turn down a prize like that?!