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CNET First Look
Excellent sound that fits nearly every living roomThe Sony HT-CT260 is our go-to budget sound bar pick, with excellent sound quality, built-in Bluetooth, an adaptable design and no major missteps.
Hey. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and today we're gonna take a look at the Sony HT-CT260. This is a budget sound bar with a distinctive design and it's selling for about $300. Now, the Sony has a long tube like shape like most sound bars but it's angular hexagonal shape gives it a unique look. The sound bar itself stands 4 inches tall which should fit nicely in front of most TVs without blocking the remote censor like some sound bars do. If it does block the remote censor on your TV, the HT-CT260 has a neat remote control pass through feature, where it repeats any remote signals, receive from the front out of the back of the sound bar. It's a cool work around especially since most sound bars don't deal with the issue at all. The system also includes a wireless sub woofer that you can place nearly anywhere in the room as long as you can plug it into an outlet. The included remote is a nice size, although it's a little more cluttered with buttons than I'd like. But otherwise, the button layout is good and overall, it's much better than the standard thin remotes that come with many sound bars. Around back, you'll find just three inputs, optical, coaxial and many jacks. That's not much but that's because Sony intends you to connect all your devices to your TV first, then connect your TV's optical output to the sound bar. It's a simpler setup overall as long as your TV has enough HDMI inputs for all your gear. The HTC-CT260 also has built-in Bluetooth, which is a must-have feature these days. Bluetooth let's you wirelessly stream audio from nearly every smartphone or tablet and it works with any app you have on your phone. So, it can load up Pandora on your phone and streaming straight to the sound bar. As for sound quality, the Sony is really pretty impressive for a budget sound bar. For one, it sounds better than our favorite sound bar from last year, the Haier SBEV40-Slim with a wider soundstage and more detail. The little sub woofer is also surprisingly powerful with deeper basic extension than other systems in the price class. It's not the best sounding system I've heard this year as it was slightly outclass and head to head comparisons with the Vizio S4251W and the Sharp HT-SB60 but it's still excellent overall. So, altogether, the Sony HTC-CT260 is real strength and that it delivers excellent sound quality in a flexible design that should work in just about any living room. Other sound bars may sound a little better or have more features but the Sony is a very balanced system without any major flaws, making one of our go-to budget sound bar picks. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the Sony HT-CT260.