The Good Sound bar home theater system; wireless subwoofer; solid sound quality, even with music; easy-to-use remote control; three inputs (two optical, one analog).
The Bad No HDMI connectivity; lackluster styling.
The Bottom Line JVC's TH-BA1 sound bar home theater system is affordable, easy to use, and sounds better-than-expected, but doesn't offer HDMI connectivity.
For absolute home theater simplicity, it's hard to beat a sound bar home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) system. One long speaker, no AV receiver required, and no long pesky wires running all over your living room. The JVC TH-BA1 does the standard configuration one better by including a wireless subwoofer, so the only cables you'll need are behind your TV cabinet. Aside from the wireless subwoofer, the TH-BA1 includes a standard assortment of features, but it stands out from the pack with its better-than-expected sound quality and ease of use. The lack of HDMI connectivity is the major knock against the TH-BA1--and you'd be wise to check out the Sony HT-CT100 if you need HDMI ports, but otherwise it's one of the best deals we've seen, especially compared with the more expensive Yamaha YSP-900 and Denon DHT-FS3.
The TH-BA1's exterior design isn't its main selling point. Its style is bland, and the red indicator lights and basic LCD display make it feel less than cutting-edge. The long polelike shape is designed to fit under your HDTV; it's worth checking the dimensions of your own set to make sure the 4.9-inch-high TH-BA1 won't obscure the screen.