Sound bars aren't as thin as the slimmest HDTVs yet, but the Samsung HW-C450 ($300 street price) is getting close. It is less than 2 inches thick, which seems almost impossibly thin, considering the fact that it houses six drivers and built-in amplification. Even more impressive is that Samsung manages to get some impressive sound quality out of those cramped quarters (plus a wireless subwoofer), with better-than-average detail on movies.
Music, on the other hand, sounds a little disappointing, and JVC's somewhat heftier TH-BA1 is a better pick if you plan on listening to more than TV and movies. Our other main knock against the HW-C450 is the lack of HDMI connectivity, especially when the competing Sony HT-CT150 ($300 street price) has three HDMI inputs, all capable of 3D video pass-through.
If the lack of HDMI connectivity doesn't bother you, the Samsung HW-C450 is one of the sleekest sound bar home theater systems we've tested, making it a good pick for style-minded buyers who mostly watch movies.
The HW-C450's connectivity package is less extensive than we would have liked. Most glaring is the omission of any HDMI connectivity, which is available on the similarly priced Sony HT-CT150 and Panasonic SC-HTB10. Two optical inputs are the main digital audio connections and the HW-C450 also includes a minijack input designed to handle a device with a stereo analog audio output. Samsung includes a minijack-to-stereo RCA adapter cable with the HW-C450. If you have a simple home theater--three devices or fewer--the HW-C450 may fit your needs, but it's smart to check whether it has enough inputs to handle all your gear. There's also a USB port on the back, but it's used only for firmware updates.