sony ht ct150 vs ht ct260 vs ht ct550w vs others - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Which system provides the best surround sound simulation (virtual surround)?
LG NB2530A 0 0%
Vizio VHT215 1 4.35%
Panasonic SC-HTB550 1 4.35%
Sony ht ct150 4 17.39%
Sony ht ct260 13 56.52%
Sony ht ct550W 4 17.39%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 27 Old 11-22-2012, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Option 1 in the poll was mispelled. LG3520A is what I meant to write

Let me just say that I have been looking at a myriad of soundbars, and doing research as extensively as I can along the way,

What I want:
-The best simulated surround sound experience without going to a true 5.1 system
-bluetooth connectivity
-as many speakers within the soundbar as possible

What Im using it for:
This is a bedroom system. Its not for main use. I just want to be able to watch a movie or play a game in the bedroom without being disappointed everytime my 47lm6700 speakers turn on. I have the latter tv, as well as a ps3 and a wii in the room. I want bluetooth to be able to sync my tablet and phone for music listening.

I have considered as candidates(besides Sony):

-LG NB3520A: It looks pretty decent, but i keep hearing bad things about its subwoofer, no HDMI whatsoever.
-Vizio vht215: stellar reviews mostly everywhere. but it looks like while it has decent sound, it fails at creating simulated surround sound, and as far as I researched, no bluetooth connectivity.
-Panasonic SC-HTB550: Same thing as the Vizio, I keep hearing people say things along the lines of "panasonic is known for making soundbars that sound good, but suck at simulating surround". Also, wattage is only 60??

Now to the Sonys:
-ht ct150: Has the best reviews. No bluetooth, no wireless sub. But its listed as a 3.1 system! Which seems very appealing to me and makes me think it may be the reason why people say its surround simulation is beyond impressive.
-ht ct260: Reviews seem mixed, but it has bluetooth connectivity. NO HDMI whatsoever. Unlike htct150, its a 2.1 surround, and how good the surround simulation is is unknown.
-ht ct550w: For some reason, reviews are not as good. It claims to decode HD audio formats, has a lot of inputs, packs 400 watts, but still not bluetooth!

QUESTIONS;

1- Which Sony system is the best? is the 260 an upgrade or a downgrade from the 150? I cant quite seem to figure that out. Is the 550w worth the extra money? Or is the 150 still the best sounding one despite everything else? I hope actual owners can comment.

2-Does anybody how the other candidates compare to the Sonys? Any input on which of all the units mentioned truly outputs the best virtual surround?

3. What is the difference between "virtual surround sound" and Sony "S-force pro front surround" ?

4- ANy other input? Im trying to catch all the online sales going on on amazon.com right now..

Thank you very much for your time!
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post #2 of 27 Old 11-23-2012, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
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anyone? The main thing that keeps me from deciding is whether a sound bar that has just optical audio would be good enough. What is the advantage of having HDMI over Optical?cant they both do lossless pcm?
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post #3 of 27 Old 11-24-2012, 04:12 AM
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I own both the Sony HT-CT150 and the Yamaha YSP2200 - both entirely different beasts, with the former being a sound bar and the latter being a sound projector. Like you, I did tons of research before finally deciding on a winner. I found the Yamaha at a price I couldn't resist and paired it with my Kuro 101fd. After that, I was began to research budget sound bars to pair with my 70 inch Sharp Aquos.

It really comes down to the sound bar that has features you value the most. You mention that, first and foremost, you want the best surround experience. For that, I would say the Sony HT-CT150 is the clear winner from the other candidates. The HTCT-150 is also the only 3.1 offering from your list, with the rest being 2.1 systems. However, it does not have bluetooth connectivity. I'm not sure how much you value Bluetooth connectivity, but, for me, HDMI connectivity is much more valuable than Bluetooth connectivity. Although the HT-CT150 does not decode Dolby HD and DTS HD, your bluray player can perform the decoding and the HDMI cable has enough bandwidth to carry the decoded audio LPCM (optical cable CANNOT do this).

I am very familiar with the Sony systems so I will break them down for you:

I would avoid the HT-CT260 like the plague. It looks horrible and has no HDMI connectivity. I'm not sure how it performs since it's fairly new, but the lack of HDMI connections is a big minus in my book.

I listened to the HT-CT550 at Best Buy (not the ideal place to judge a sound bar) and it sounded OK. However, I hate how the receiver is a separate unit, meaning you have three components - the bar, the sub and the receiver. It's ability to decode HD formats means nothing to me, since almost all current bluray players (including your PS3) can do the decoding before sending the signal to the sound system. Most of the reviews I've read are mixed, and a lot of AVS members prefer the HT-CT150 over it.

I am extremely pleased with my HT-CT150, especially with the current $183 price at Amazon. From the reviews that I've read, the HT-CT150 and the HT-CT350 are the best out of the budget sound bars at creating a surround experience. The HT-CT350 is superior to the HT-CT150, as it has a better quality sound bar which has 6 total drivers as opposed to 3 on the HT-CT150. Sadly, it has been discontinued, though you may be able to snatch one up from eBay or Craigslist. The surround experience from my HT-CT150 is noticeable, though I do not hear anything behind me (I don't hear anything behind me with my YSP2200 either). When using the sound setup that's included on most Pixar films (the one that plays sound from each individual channel), I can clearly hear the sounds from the center, left and right channels where they are supposed to be. The surround left and right are in the middle of the room as opposed to the back.

To sum it up, if you want the best surround experience at a budget price with ample connectivity options, the HT-CT150 is the clear winner. If you can find a used HT-CT350 then I would jump on that, since the sound bar has a total of 6 drivers as opposed to 3 on the HT-CT150. None of these have Bluetooth connectivity, but I would place a premium on sound quality over Bluetooth connectivity.

Have you considered the Samsung HW-E551? It has pretty good reviews and has two HDMI inputs and is Bluetooth capable. You can also configure it as a sound bar or as two separate speakers, which should help with the separation of the left and right channels and create a more enveloping experience.
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post #4 of 27 Old 11-24-2012, 04:39 AM
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Also, your PS3 is DLNA compatible so you could just stream music from your phone/tablet via DLNA so long as your device is connected to your wireless LAN.
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post #5 of 27 Old 11-24-2012, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your informative reply, maka! I really like the ht ct 150. And I would have bought the 350 if it still existed. I did look into that Samsung model but I scratched it out because folks on this forums said ARC on that unit only works with samsung TVs. And thanks.for clarifying pcm on optical can't do lossless. I kept tooking for an answer to that, lol.
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post #6 of 27 Old 11-24-2012, 06:23 PM
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No problem. The thing is, i dont know if feeding a lossless pcm to a soundbar makes a difference, we might have to wait for a more experienced member to chime in. In my experience, the surround effect was better and i was able to hear more detailed sound when feeding a lossless pcm to the htct150. Not sure if its placebo, but I performed a blind test on my girlfriend and she picked the lossless pcm over bitstream. To me, hdmi inputs is a big deal. First, it can handle lossless pcm. Second, it will allow you to use one remote to control everything, as long as your.devices allow for hdmi control. For instance, i am able to power up and control the volume of the htct150 with my sharp tv remote. I can also control my sony bluray player with my htct150 remote and can also control some aspects of the htct150 with my bluray remote. All I had to do was turn on hdmi control on all my devices and thats it - no programming required. Since you have a ps3, the htct150 and the ps3 will be able to play nice. My sony bluray player also turns on automatically when I switch the htct150 input to bluray. Third, i prefer that my devices use the latest and greatest technology. Why buy a bar with just one or two optical inputs when you can get a bar with three hdmi inputs and one optical input?

I would highly recommend that you try to stream music from your phone or tablet to the ps3 via dlna. I will try it later with my ps3 and galaxy s2 and report back. If it works then I highly suggest the htct150 for the awesome $183 price point. Best bang for your buck. for the best surround effect, leave the center channel level at 0. Increasing its level makes the sound field more narrow.
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post #7 of 27 Old 11-24-2012, 06:34 PM
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Oh and arc works flawlessly with my sharp tv. However, most tvs output 2ch stereo (which is the case with my sharp tv) so even if Im using vudu via my tvs smart apps, which outputs a dolby digital signal i believe, my tv doesnt take advantage of that signal. With that being said, if you choose the samsung, you can simply run a optical cable from your tvs audio out to the soundbar to handle any audio output by your tv. The rest of your devices can use an hdmi connection to the soundbar. Or you can scratch the optical cable and run all your netflix and vudu on the ps3. The ps3 is able to output dolby digital and it would be sent to the soundbar via the hdmi connection from the ps3 to the soundbar. The only instance where you would need arc (or optical from the tv to the samsung bar) is if you run a source directly from your tv (like over the air tv broadcasts or the tvs smart apps). I dont watch OTA (have DirecTV) and I prefer running all my smart apps from the ps3 or sony bluray player for this very reason.
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post #8 of 27 Old 11-24-2012, 08:25 PM
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good news. i was abke to stream music, videos and pictures via dlna from my galaxy s2 to the ps3. samsungs allshare app was intermittent when streaming music. i used imediashare lite and streaming music, pics and vids was flawless, with sound coming out of the soundbar. i havent tried it with my girlfriends iphone (we cant find it and she has it on silent lol). there are a few dlna apps for the iphone. ill try and report back once we find the phone.
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post #9 of 27 Old 11-26-2012, 04:45 PM
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Just FYI
adorama camera is selling the same for 188 + free shipping+no tax. amazon price comes close to 205 with taxes for my state(California)
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post #10 of 27 Old 11-30-2012, 10:58 AM
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Hello I am new here but does anyone know how the ct260 compares to the harman kardon sb 16, i know it will probably be better than the ct150. I have heard the ct260 in action and its pretty decent, but I might be able to get a sb16 for $350 used for the harman kardon.

Its to my understanding the harman kardon sb 16 only has a total of 150 watt of power? While the ct260 is 300 total watt of power?

Currently Using:
SONY 55HX750
LG 55LM7600
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post #11 of 27 Old 11-30-2012, 03:10 PM
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Is $188 a good price for the CT150? I have about $100 worth of Sony points and need to use them by the end of December or they expire.
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post #12 of 27 Old 11-30-2012, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viperx116 View Post

Is $188 a good price for the CT150? I have about $100 worth of Sony points and need to use them by the end of December or they expire.

I don't own one but the reviews that I have seen are solid. The main negative that I can see is that the sub isn't wireless. That might not matter to you, though. For that price, you will be hard pressed to find anything else that has 3 HDMI inputs (along with 2 optical).

We are here to help you. Please help us to help you. If you provide incomplete information, at best, we can give you an incomplete response.
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post #13 of 27 Old 12-01-2012, 06:02 PM
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I prefer the ct260 over the 550 model. The looks is a base on preference, but the ct260 is amazing when it comes to playing sound from movies IE transformers dark side of the moon

Currently Using:
SONY 55HX750
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post #14 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 09:40 PM
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Hello,

I'm thinking of getting the SonyCT150 to add to my Panasonic Plasma but I''m concerned about a few things.

Would the Sony be the wrong choice if I'm going to place it on the table that holds the TV?
I was thinking of the Yamaha YAS-101(which has a pass-through) but no one thinks it does a good job at simulating surround.

Also, what does "3D passthrough" on the Sony mean?
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post #15 of 27 Old 02-14-2013, 09:40 PM
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Hello,

I'm thinking of getting the SonyCT150 to add to my Panasonic Plasma but I''m concerned about a few things.

Would the Sony be the wrong choice if I'm going to place it on the table that holds the TV?
I was thinking of the Yamaha YAS-101(which has a pass-through) but no one thinks it does a good job at simulating surround.

Also, what does "3D passthrough" on the Sony mean?
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post #16 of 27 Old 04-22-2013, 11:24 PM
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Sorry to bump this thread again, but I'm in the market for another soundbar for my setup. I'm coming from an HT-CT150 (which I love), but won't be able to use in my new place due to the subwoofer placement issues. How much (or is) an upgrade is the HT-CT260, to any owners out there? My TV has optical audio out, so I'm good as far as not missing the HDMI switching the HT-CT150 had.
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post #17 of 27 Old 04-24-2013, 02:43 PM
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I eliminated the HT-CT260 as option because it doesn't have HDMI ports, at least if the chart from Sony can be believed:
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HTCT260-Sound-Theater-System/dp/B00945RAQY/

I notice the CT150 is 3.1 and CT260 is 2.1. Probably not a big deal, but unexpected in an "upgrade."

I am happy with my brand new (gently used) HT-C150. Music and sound effects are quite good. Where the soundbar really shines compared to my stereo system alternative is in clear dialog. Very nice. The Sony BRAVIA Link and Panasonic VIERA Link interact seemlessly, no funny business. Plug and play.
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post #18 of 27 Old 04-24-2013, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Burger View Post

I eliminated the HT-CT260 as option because it doesn't have HDMI ports, at least if the chart from Sony can be believed:
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HTCT260-Sound-Theater-System/dp/B00945RAQY/

I notice the CT150 is 3.1 and CT260 is 2.1. Probably not a big deal, but unexpected in an "upgrade."

I am happy with my brand new (gently used) HT-C150. Music and sound effects are quite good. Where the soundbar really shines compared to my stereo system alternative is in clear dialog. Very nice. The Sony BRAVIA Link and Panasonic VIERA Link interact seemlessly, no funny business. Plug and play.
Thanks. The only real upgrades to the 260, from what I gather, is a stronger subwoofer and bluetooth connectivity. I may see if I can make my "old" 150 still work out. smile.gif
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post #19 of 27 Old 04-24-2013, 03:39 PM
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Every relationship is a matter of accommodation. Sure the untethered CT260 subwoofer gives you "more space", and the bluetooth is some exciting strange, but what about the sound and flexibility of what you got? Good luck with your efforts to reconcile with your CT150.
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post #20 of 27 Old 04-24-2013, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Burger View Post

Every relationship is a matter of accommodation. Sure the untethered CT260 subwoofer gives you "more space", and the bluetooth is some exciting strange, but what about the sound and flexibility of what you got? Good luck with your efforts to reconcile with your CT150.
the sound is great for most things. Having a little trouble getting the center channel balanced with the left and right (during some "surround pans", it doesn't sound right), but other than that it's a rock-solid system. Only reason I'm in the market for another (either 150 or 260) is that someone has an interest in buying my 150.
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post #21 of 27 Old 04-24-2013, 06:27 PM
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I was only kidding you about lusting after a younger trophy soundbar.
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post #22 of 27 Old 04-24-2013, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
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I was only kidding you about lusting after a younger trophy soundbar.
I figured. I'm not looking for a "trophy", audiophile-grade bar here. Just wondering if anyone here has heard both and cares to comment.
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post #23 of 27 Old 04-25-2013, 07:36 AM
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Does anyone have any thoughts on the soon to be released Sony ct660 soundbar?
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post #24 of 27 Old 04-25-2013, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidcara View Post

Does anyone have any thoughts on the soon to be released Sony ct660 soundbar?

Is that only going to be available in Europe?

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post #25 of 27 Old 04-25-2013, 02:27 PM
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According to Sony USA website should be available in May
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post #26 of 27 Old 04-25-2013, 02:35 PM
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post #27 of 27 Old 04-25-2013, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by davidcara View Post

Does anyone have any thoughts on the soon to be released Sony ct660 soundbar?
Thoughts? Looks like just an updated version of the CT-150 with bluetooth and a wireless sub (sans a center channel). More powerful soundbar speakers (though only two compared to the three of the 150). Same other features like HDMI switching.

Interesting to hear how it reviews. $400 is asking a good deal of money.
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