I love my (relatively new) Samsung UN40D6000 40-Inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV (Black) [2011 MODEL
], but have come to realize that the flat/thin form factor really does come at a cost in sound quality -- there's only so much they can do with rear-facing speakers that are less than 1" deep. This is particularly a problem with movies (DVD or online) where the dialog is often in the context of a complex soundscape -- my hearing isn't what it once was.
I have a couple of other challenges that any solution must meet:
Space: The room is not large and the TV is mounted in a cabinet between the fireplace and a wall. We built the cabinet because we don't want the TV to dominate the room when not in use, and want any additional components to fit into this scheme.
Complexity: I'm reasonably technology-literate and can deal with some multi-device interactions, but this sort of thing sends my wife into a tizzy. It's vital that the various components -- TV, video source (cable/DVD) and sound system -- "just work" as much as possible with a single remote.
The Polk Soundbar3000 IHT is an elegant solution...so far, at least.
What makes it "elegant":
- It's designed to work with your TV remote: via a remarkably-simple "training" process, you program its basic audio functions (on/off, volume up/down/mute) to follow your remote's codes.
- It's relatively thin and lightweight (compared to a Vizio soundbar I first tried). It sits securely (on built-in "feet") on a shelf or is easily mounted on the wall or (via add-on brackets) on the TV itself.
- The subwoofer is wireless: you can put it anywhere in the room without the hassle of running a wire to it.
It took about 15 minutes to get the thing set up (including drilling a couple of holes for power cords and "training" it to my remote.)
1. I doubt it will thrill serious audiophiles: this isn't true "surround sound" nor is it even the highest quality "soundbar" available. But it's a _substantial_ upgrade to your TV's sound.
2. It's still a separate component, and as such is still somewhat vulnerable to an "out of synch" state (which can always happen with a universal remote controlling multiple devices at once.) Possibly (not sure I understand the tech) if it were HDMI-with-return equipped, this would be less of an issue.
Additional note: I read other reviewers' comments re wifi interference, and preemptively set my wireless access point (router) to use channel 11. I have not experienced any problems as yet.