Home Theater Sound For Less

Consumer Reports shows us a technological innovation that can turn any living room into a home theater, and it doesn't cost you thousands.

"A sound bar is basically an array of speakers that are housed in a single enclosure, and it's designed to be placed unobtrusively either above or below your TV," said Consumer Reports' Jim Willcox.

Most sound bars plug in right out of the box.

Consumer Reports tested eight sound bars, ranging in price from $300-$1300.

Two in particular did well in the tests.

The Marantz combines six speakers and digital amplifiers to create very convincing surround sound.

And all the components are housed within a stylish aluminum enclosure that's only six inches high.

But at $1300, the high style comes at a high price.

To get more bang for your buck, consider the Sony HTCT100. The two-piece package has three speakers and a separate sub woofer, which enables it to produce deep bass.

It's also ultra-compact, at less than three inches high.

"Despite its small size, the Sony was surprisingly clear and it was able to create a pretty wide sound field," said Willcox.

And priced at $300, it makes for easy listening that's also easy on your wallet.

Both the Marantz and the Sony sound bars have inputs so you can attach a Blu-ray player or cable or satellite box, but not all of them do.

If this is important consideration for you, be sure to check that out before buying a unit.


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