JBL Cinema SB 400 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 125 Old 12-26-2012, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking at getting the Harman Kardon SB 30 sound bar, but was browsing JBL and came across this model (SB 400). I've spent a lot of time trying to research this model, but there doesn't seem to be any reviews or information about it on the web. Everything I find is just press releases and marketing material.

Has anyone used it, experienced it, or own it? Very interested in hearing some real world use feedback. Thank you.
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post #2 of 125 Old 12-27-2012, 03:28 PM
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I dont have one, but have just found it for an excellent price and I'm going to take a chance. I need to confirm the length of the soundbar, but the overall package vs other soundbars I've researched looks a lot of quality for the cash.

Drew.
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post #3 of 125 Old 12-27-2012, 04:02 PM
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I haven't seem these for sale anywhere. Where did you find it for a good price?
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post #4 of 125 Old 12-27-2012, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppo75 View Post

I dont have one, but have just found it for an excellent price and I'm going to take a chance. I need to confirm the length of the soundbar, but the overall package vs other soundbars I've researched looks a lot of quality for the cash.
Drew.

Here are the specs:

http://www.jbl.com/images/media/SB400_SS_EN.pdf

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 #5 of 125 Old 12-28-2012, 12:42 PM
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post #6 of 125 Old 12-29-2012, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm definitely looking forward to your review once you make the purchase. Can't seem to find this anywhere in the U.S. even JBL.com doesn't have it in stock at the moment,
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post #7 of 125 Old 01-02-2013, 06:21 PM
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I came across the on-line literature for the JBL SB400 a couple of weeks ago and I'm planning on taking the plunge as soon as it's available in the U.S. I'd love to hear your review. Sound is JBL's core business so, I'm pretty hopeful on the audio quality. I just can't fit an amp into my cabinet slot (even the beautiful little Marantz nr1603 mad.gif) so, I'm having to go the soundbar route.

I phoned JBL last week on this and they were pretty open about the situation. The SB400 is currently on backorder for the U.S.and should be available at the end of February. The rep told me that there were 880 units on backorder (I'm not in the business so, I don't know if this includes demand from dealers or just from consumers like me). The unit was announced by JBL in September and I see that it's available inthe UK and in Australia but, it just hasn't been launched in the U.S as yet. Here's the sales site:

http://www.jbl.com/estore/jbl/us/search/result.jsp?question=sb400&pageSize=1000&_requestid=107601

OK, maybe things have changed! The website no longer says Backorder! I have only 3/8" of width clearance so,I'm a bit nervous but, since there are no restocking fees for returns,i'm going to give it a go. Fingers crossed!
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post #8 of 125 Old 01-11-2013, 12:15 PM
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FYI: Fry's this week in their big Friday advertisement shows the whole JBL Cinema line SB100, SB200, and SB400 as new at Fry's and it's in stock.
http://www.frys.com/product/7508276
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post #9 of 125 Old 01-12-2013, 08:32 AM
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yeah,since there are no restocking fees for returns,i'm going to give it a go. Fingers crossed!2.gif
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post #10 of 125 Old 01-17-2013, 05:30 PM
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Bought the SB 400 from Crutchfiels and am playing with it tonight!
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post #11 of 125 Old 01-17-2013, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoppo75 View Post

I dont have one, but have just found it for an excellent price and I'm going to take a chance. I need to confirm the length of the soundbar, but the overall package vs other soundbars I've researched looks a lot of quality for the cash.

Drew.

How much was it?
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post #12 of 125 Old 01-17-2013, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmdmdmd View Post

Bought the SB 400 from Crutchfiels and am playing with it tonight!

I'd love to hear what you think of it. It's one of my finalists. Along with Klipsch Icon SB1.
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post #13 of 125 Old 01-22-2013, 03:13 PM
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I'd be happy to provide my experience so far:

Here’s a little background to set the stage: My "cave" where the SB 400 now lives is around 12 x 12 and the couch is around 8 feet out - directly in front of the soundbar. My limited cabinet space won't even accommodate the low profile Marantz NR 1603 (which I really, really wanted!) so, I needed something to produce quality music as well as to replace the TV speakers. Because I'm really demanding about the music (less so about the cinema) I dismissed the Samsung, LG and Vizio bars and focused on the Klipsch Icon SB1, the Atlantic Technology PB 235 HPAS. But, neither have HDMI inputs or Bluetooth so, I was dragging my feet - and then up pops the JBL soundbar on the Crutchfield site. No reviews yet but, it had all the criteria I wanted - and it's a JBL so, my expectations around sound quality were pretty high. So, I pulled the trigger and crossed my fingers.

Here’s my observations so far are:

• Don't expect the spouse to drag this box in off of the porch for you. It's very big and very heavy with a whole lot of cushiony packaging.

• The sub is substantial (solid and over 20 lbs in weight). The soundbar itself is light but I guess that's normal. Connecting the thing was dead easy with the HDMI inputs; pairing was no problem.

• Since all of the wiring dead ends into the rear of the soundbar, you'll want to do a bit of wire banding so as to reduce massive clutter in your viewing field.

• The bar looks just fine with a 1/2 inch band of piano black surrounding a charcoal colored grill with just the JBL logo in the center.

• The remote is tiny and destined to end up lost deep in the cracks of the couch. But, who really wants another remote anyway? I'll soon be consolidating with a programmable Logitech before I lose this thing.

• I've spent a good amount of time now streaming Pandora seamlessly from my phone (a Galaxy S3) but, I did have major problems streaming to the bar from my laptop. I finally figured out that the 2 year old Lenovo was using the older Bluetooth 2.1. so, I finally gave up and ordered a $15 Bluetooth 4.0 USB plug-in from Amazon. Hopefully that will fix the laptop problem.

• I’ve also been pushing Pandora through and HDMI line from my Roku. Sounds identical to the Bluetooth streaming.

• There's a bass tone enhancement button on the remote - really a mid-range enhancement as it doesn't affect the sub output. We think everything sounds better with the bass enhancement on so, that’s where it stays.

• So, on to the music: I've been streaming Classical, Blues, Zappa and whatever else I can find. So far, I love this thing. The sound is rich, full and better than I'd really expected. The soundstage is itself is good and the bar does well even at (very) high volumes. The bass is solid and fully adjustable. The presence is definitely limited a bit by the speaker separation – I guess that’s just a general soundbar thing. At 8 feet out, I'm likely in an optimum listening position. I’m very, very satisfied.

Hope this is helpful – even if it is a bit long winded. There’s not much to go on in terms of reviews out there yet but, the upside is that Crutchfield gives a virtually free 60 day return period (with even return shipping covered) so, there’s really no risk here.
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post #14 of 125 Old 01-27-2013, 09:26 PM
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Just picked up the JBL Cinema SB400 a couple days ago. I had already purchased the Sony HTC260 (two months ago) and was impressed with it. In fact I was going to purchase another Sony when I notice the JBL Soundbar and began to research/rethink. I ended up going with the JBL.

Both are extremely easy to setup and sound amazing. Actually ended up giving all my Bose speakers (and wires) to my son-in law, so everyone is happy.

The JBL's do everything that the Sony's do then some. Three HDMI ports on the JBL for "pass through", and another to deliver to the television. No HDMI ports on the sony but the optical set up works nicely. JBL has an "On Screen Display", while the Sony display is on the soundbar itself. I rather prefer the display on the soundbar but splitting hairs. Both pair Bluetooth very easily and remember your devise. Many of the soundbars will not retain your devise and it will have to be paired every time you want to use it. Both work without the television having to be on. In other words....just turn the sound bar and your tablet or phone and you can enjoy your music. Some higher end models will not work unless the TV is on. The JBL can learn your remote and sets up very easily; one of the few bluetooth capable soundbars that have this capability.

I do not like to strongly endorse products that I have not had the oportunity to use for a while. So far very happy with both Sound Bars in terms of sound and simplicity.

Sony Cons - No HDMI passthrough,

JBL Cons - Wall bracket does not hold soundbar tight enough to wall

As of now the JBL SB400 is difficult to find. Many of the places on line are out and most stores do not carry them yet. I bought mine at Frys Electronics in SoCal. They had one remaining, so if you hurry!
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post #15 of 125 Old 01-29-2013, 08:15 AM
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I just purchased this also. I am finding out that with my only having one HDMI, I feed that to the ARC HDMI on the soundbar. Roku and PS3 plug into the soundbar. I get video and audio on the Roku. On the PS3 I only get audio. Is anyone else finding out that you must use the tv remote to change input menus (game, cable tv, PS3) to use the desired device, or are you just using the SB400 remote to switch inputs to desired devices?

This setup in incredible, but I am wondering if I need a new tv with more HDMI inputs? any help would be greatly appreciated.
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post #16 of 125 Old 01-30-2013, 11:49 AM
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So, here's how I've got my SB 400 set up - and it all seems to work just fine. My DirecTV receiver and my Roku HDMI input cables connect to the JBL's HDMI Input 1 and HDMI Input 2, respectively. I then have an HDMI cable running from the JBL HDMI ARC Output to the TV's HDMI 1 input. So, everything runs first to the JBL and then there's one JBL output to the TV. That way, I never have to change the TV's HDMI Input choice (there are three of them on this TV) because both the DirecTV and the Roku connect via the same single soundbar cable to the TV HDMI 1.

I haven't yet consolidated my remotes so, the way I'm working this now is that I turn on the TV and the DirecTV receiver together with the DirecTV remote. That results in a nice black screen. Then I use the JBL remote to select the soundbar's HDMI 1 or HDMI 2 input - depending on whether I want to watch the DirecTV or the Roku. I don't seem to have to first press the Power On button on the JBL remote as pressing the desired HDMI Input button seems to wake it up anyway.

I hope this helps:)
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post #17 of 125 Old 01-30-2013, 11:52 AM
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I'm rereading your post and I'm wondering if your problem isn't just that you've got your PS3 running into the HDMI ARC on the soundbar (?) The HDMI ACR is meant to be your O utput from the soundbar to your single TV HDMI input. It's not an Input. Try plugging the PS3 into the soundbar's HDMI 1, 2 or 3 input.
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post #18 of 125 Old 01-30-2013, 01:51 PM
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dmdmdmd...

Thank you for responding to a dame in distress. ya know thats exactly how I have it set up. I cant figure out on my JBL remote why i cant just push hdmi1 or 2 or 3 to select the device I want. The ARC goes right into the TV as it should.

Lets say I push HDMI1 for the Roku, and I get a black screen of death with an arrow pointing to the left telling me something about listening to believe...(cant remember exactly but it has to do with the JBL software) so I have to change my tv input to game mode. So strange.

I am not the biggest audiophile, nor am I an idiot, but this one baffles me. I don't even get the menu from the soundbar that is supposed to be on the top of the tv screen showing which hdmi I am switching to, as the owner manual explains...

I thought well maybe its my dumb tv, but it is a plasma with an hdmi input, so everything should be legit. I should be able to have the TV station on, decide I want Roku or PS3 and hit the JBL remote to the designated hdmi selection!

arggh

Thanks again for your response.
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post #19 of 125 Old 01-30-2013, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelaquick View Post


I thought well maybe its my dumb tv, but it is a plasma with an hdmi input, so everything should be legit. I should be able to have the TV station on, decide I want Roku or PS3 and hit the JBL remote to the designated hdmi selection!

Well, no. Not without first changing the TV's input to HDMI where you have the soundbar connected. How are you watching TV? Antenna? Cable without box? You're just using the TV speakers when you watch TV? We can probably help you out with more information. The make/model of the TV would be useful too.
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post #20 of 125 Old 01-31-2013, 07:56 AM
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Hey there Possumgirl!

I have an Haier TV model 42HP25BAT (I think...its the model with the speakers mounted on each side of the tv.) It is probably 6 years old, but still a fantastic tv. I watch cable with a direct coaxial connection to it. I don't pay for cable. I get the lame 15 channels or so that are digital channels that are required to be provided with a high speed internet connection. Roku and Netflix pick up the slack for what I miss with awesome cable. I have always listened to the tv through the speakers, yes. Hence why I decided to "theater up" and get the soundbar system. smile.gif However, the tv speakers are still functional when I want them to be if I dont want to listen to the soundbar.

In theory, I would think that if I have my input set to "cable" (keep in mind, preset choices the tv offers) and I run the hdmi cable from the tv hdmi port to the arc port on the bar, with the roku and ps3 in 1 and 2...I should be able to just switch around with the JBL remote.

So I am thinking what you are getting at is perhaps I have the wrong input selected as the "master input" on the tv? I really find it odd that since I have the soundbar hdmi's designated for each device now, that I still have to select the input named "game" on the tv to see the roku. Why would it know that, since I am plugged into the bar, and not the tv directly anymore? This is the kind of scenario I am running into. mad.gif

so frustrating. Any help would be absolutely awesome.

-AQ
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post #21 of 125 Old 01-31-2013, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelaquick View Post


In theory, I would think that if I have my input set to "cable" (keep in mind, preset choices the tv offers) and I run the hdmi cable from the tv hdmi port to the arc port on the bar, with the roku and ps3 in 1 and 2...I should be able to just switch around with the JBL remote.

So I am thinking what you are getting at is perhaps I have the wrong input selected as the "master input" on the tv? I really find it odd that since I have the soundbar hdmi's designated for each device now, that I still have to select the input named "game" on the tv to see the roku. Why would it know that, since I am plugged into the bar, and not the tv directly anymore? This is the kind of scenario I am running into. mad.gif

so frustrating. Any help would be absolutely awesome.

-AQ

As I suspected, you just have a slight misunderstanding of "inputs". Your TV supports multiple inputs. In addition to cable, you have one HDMI, a couple of component inputs, a composite input, and a couple of other things. You have an input button on your remote. When you press it you should get a list of the inputs. The up/down arrows let you select which input you want to use. You can rename the inputs from the standard list. Apparently you (or someone else) renamed the HDMI input to "game". No matter what the label, that is where you have the soundbar connected. So when you watch TV via the cable coax, you select the "cable" input. When you want to use a source device connected to the soundbar, you have to FIRST switch your TV input to "game/HDMI". Then you select the device you want using the input selector on the soundbar remote.

BTW, if you want to have audio from the TV go to the soundbar instead of TV speakers, you just connect an optical cable from the TV to the soundbar.

Your TV owners manual explains this pretty well (except for the fractured English biggrin.gif)
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post #22 of 125 Old 01-31-2013, 02:04 PM
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I think I get it. When watching tv...use input titled "cable" When using other sources, use input titled "game." Then I can switch on the JBL remote between Roku, PS3, or DVD...ALL on that input selected on the tv. Gonna try it tonight!
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post #23 of 125 Old 01-31-2013, 02:37 PM
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^^^
You've got it! smile.gif
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post #24 of 125 Old 02-01-2013, 03:42 AM
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So, it sounds like you have your connectivity sorted now. I hope you're finally enjoying your purchase! I still haven't found any downsides to the soundbar yet - I still think it's great.

One possible way that you could simplify your setup further is to hook your TV input from your digital coaxial cable directly to the soundbar - rather than to the TV. The TV would then receive the signal from the soundbar through the HDMI ARC output. That would eliminate the step of choosing the TV input each time you want to view from a different device.

Right now you can't do that as the SB 400 doesn't have a coaxial cable input. You have a couple of options though: (1) Rent a cable box from your distributor - the downside is that they might make you subscribe to a TV package you don't want. (2) Get yourself a DVR to record your shows - that will also undoubtedly the inputs and outputs you need or (3) Purchase a relatively inexpensive coaxial to HDMI converter switch. They appear to be pretty inexpensive from Monoprice and their customer service can help you to select the right switch over the phone.

Good luck - and thanks to Possumgirl for jumping in to solve your problem!.
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post #25 of 125 Old 02-08-2013, 11:29 AM
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Everyone, thanks so much. Guess what it was!?!?!? My PS3 did not want to play nice with the soundbar. Works directly plugged into the TV, but not the soundbar. Whatever, I went and bought a new BluRay player and everything is perfect. Sorry for the dumb questions, and thanks a ton for the nice help you have all given me. Works like a charm! I just wish the dang remote to the soundbar was bigger!

Kudos to all of you and thanks a ton.
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post #26 of 125 Old 02-10-2013, 04:11 PM
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Renovating our basement for a new medium budget media room. Previously had a Denon HTIB from 2000. S-video era. It was a nice setup at the time complete with a nice 27" flat Sony CRT the Denon AVR-682 receiver complete with 4 satellites and a powered sub. Toshiba DVD player and Tivo too.

Fast forward to the present, we're Directv fans now and have an LG 40" LCD upstairs and the Directv HD DVR. So now its time to reno the basement.

Trying to stay reasonable as lots of dollars go to making a change to the stairs, new sheet rock, tile drain system, new flooring and electrical. And then there is the furniture. So, when it came to the flat screen I elected to go with a plasma as the way the room is configured the walkout is far to the left and around a small corner. So daylight is completely managed. Chose the Panasonic ST50 ! Really excited about it.

Did I mentioned I'm married :-). Lovely wife has always challenged me to keep the floor clear of speaker wire, speaker stands, etc. Course given we're replacing sheet rock we can wire away behind the walls. But even with that freedom comes the question of how much to invest and in ceiling vs. mounted satellites on the rear wall, do I want the front speakers and center in wall or resting on cabinet,. etc.. When investigation AV receivers I'm finding it is real easy to get to $ 700. The HTIB these days in my opinion are of the same quality and in some cases maybe lower. Such as Denon, for example. The present Denon HTIB uses the AVR-1513 which is a nice receiver, I like it plenty, but they bundle now with Boston Acoustics and I don't find the weight of those speakers to match the OEM Denon that 10 years ago they were including in HTIB. And regardless, unlike last time, she doesn't want speaker stands. You know where I'm going.

So I set out to investigate alternatives, namely sound bars. Much of the products in the $250 - $399 range are largely plastic and either don't include powered subs or aren't HDMI based. HDMI switching is a requirement.

Then I found the JBL. Read what I could find and today went and saw one at the KC area's big box retailer, Nebraska Furniture Mart. Within they have what you could equate to BB's Magnolia center, Walmart, and everything in between. Sure enough, as new as the SB 400 is they have them in the aisle along with all the other sound bars AND they have one showcased at the end of an aisle ! Sat down and was quite impressed.

Our basement is not finished yet but when complete I'll take some pics and give a full report.

What made the decision easy, beyond having the ability to sit and listen to it, was the physical construction. Compare the sub with that of other sound bars and they are either less than 8", not powered, plastic or all of the above. I also really like the idea of having the ability to experiment with placement of the sub. Each wall of course has outlets so now I'll be able to experiment with each end of the sofa, behind recliner, under end table, etc .. Love that freedom. I had thought the sub needed to be paired and sound was managed by a Bluetooth connection, didn't realize it was RF. I expect RF is more reliable for this application and then still having ability to stream from iPhone or iPad to the system over Bluetooth pairing is just gravy. I saw enough and jumped.

Looking forward to confirming my happiness with decision and any other findings. I'm pretty confident I'm going to have the following.

Obviously greater picture, that is a given. Blue-ray coupled with super nice 50" plasma.
Very decent simulated surround with powered sub
Simpler operation as the AVR-682 was from that era when there were half a dozen buttons and switches for selection of surround mode, channel, source, etc ..
+ Plus convenient Bluetooth streaming from the chair for playback of iTunes library.

So I had to drop $1500 for plasma, Blu-ray and JBL SB 400 but I think I'm going to be happy.


Will be back to confirm in 4 weeks when construction wraps up.
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post #27 of 125 Old 02-11-2013, 02:24 PM
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ksmedia, I bought mine at the NFM in Omaha. Love that place. I even got a discount. They gave it to me for 475.00. You will love this product. I am especially fond of the Bluetooth capability with my phone. Pandora sounds perfect. Movies sound great. I have the sub placed up front off to the side. TV mounted above the fireplace mantle, soundbar on top of that. The soundbar really fills the room with awesome sound. I have full 7.1 downstairs, so this works perfect for the living room where full surround is not necessary, but certainly sounds like it.
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post #28 of 125 Old 02-13-2013, 01:11 PM
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Big fan of the NFM in the KC area here as well. We bought our LG SmartTV at NFM last year when they agreed to price match to Amazon, but unfortunately they wouldn't price match J&R on the soundbar we wanted (JBL SB 300). Still a great store, though!

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post #29 of 125 Old 02-23-2013, 02:35 PM
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Hi everyone,

I've had the SB400 for a few weeks now and think it's great. I do have one issue however. I can't seem to get the unit to automatically turn back on after it goes to sleep. I'm not using the remote to turn it off; I'm allowing it to turn itself off after 10mins as described in the manual. Does the auto-on only work on certain inputs?

I've got my Directv in HDMI 1, and PS3 into HDMI 2, with the TV in the ARC. No matter which device I turn on and play audio with, I have to turn on the SB400 manually. This is kind of a bummer as I've got the Directv remote controlling the SB400 volume and don't like having to keep more than one remote out.

Thanks, -Keith
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post #30 of 125 Old 02-23-2013, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Carrigan View Post

Hi everyone,

I've had the SB400 for a few weeks now and think it's great. I do have one issue however. I can't seem to get the unit to automatically turn back on after it goes to sleep. I'm not using the remote to turn it off; I'm allowing it to turn itself off after 10mins as described in the manual. Does the auto-on only work on certain inputs?

I've got my Directv in HDMI 1, and PS3 into HDMI 2, with the TV in the ARC. No matter which device I turn on and play audio with, I have to turn on the SB400 manually. This is kind of a bummer as I've got the Directv remote controlling the SB400 volume and don't like having to keep more than one remote out.

Thanks, -Keith

Just got my SB400 a couple of days ago and noticed the same problem although mine shuts down within seconds after the TV goes off, not the 10 minutes noted in the manual. My work around was to program one of my Tivo buttons to switch it on, can your Direct TV remote learn any commands?
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