Customer Review

169 of 195 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An adequate Sony soundbar system, but without HDMI audio inputs..., November 12, 2012
This review is from: Sony HTCT260 Sound Bar Home Theater System (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
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The "Sony HTCT260 Sound Bar Home Theater System" is good quality system with a number of interesting features, including Bluetooth and a wireless sub woofer. The big drawback for this reviewer is that it has no HDMI inputs or pass through, and no multi source input switching. The Sony HTCT260 has only a single optical/digital audio input and no audio or video pass through.

Why is that important, at least to this reviewer? Because the HDMI specification mandated that as of 2011 there be no component HDTV video outputs on any device that uses HDMI. Why is component video important in a discussion of digital audio? Because manufacturers have, for most basic Blu-Ray/DVD players, also eliminated the digital audio outputs that were once included to pass digital audio to TVs and audio devices that used component video. In other words, all new DVD/Blu-Ray players have only HDMI outputs for HD video, and frequently have only HDMI outputs for both audio and video output. Some higher priced players may add optical or coaxial digital audio outputs, but not all of them do this.

So, no HDMI inputs on the sound bar, no way to get 5.1 digital sound from newer systems into the sound bar, even if you're using HDMI to feed video directly to your TV. Some users might argue that there is an optical digital audio input on the sound bar, and you can just plug that into the back of your TV, assuming that it has an optical digital audio output, and pick up the audio that way. Yes, and no. The HDMI standard mandates that any device receiving audio via HDMI for copy protected or digital rights managed content also disable any audio outputs that device may have, specifically to block audio pass through.

Some TVs will not care about the distinction, and will flatly refuse to pass through HDMI supplied audio at all. Some sets will output HDMI supplied audio sound but only in downmixed stereo. The optical output from a Blu-Ray player, if it has one, can be connected directly to the sound bar, but then you will not be able to feed digital audio from your cable or sat box.

The Sony sound bar systems are generally very nice. I like Sony sound bar systems. I wanted this one to be a good choice for me. I am always interested in what Sony if doing with sound bars. Hope you get that: I am in no way against Sony sound bars. Some of the models above this one have HDMI inputs, and also multiple inputs for multi device input switching, for the same price or just a bit more. I can give only give it three stars for its solid features, minus its limited out of the box inputs for playing 5.1 sound from Blu-Ray players and other HDMI-centric sources.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 20 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 1, 2013 9:50:00 AM PST
GM says:
Could someone tell me, should the sub woofer model htct260 have a green or red light ??

Thanks
Jim

Posted on Jan 1, 2013 11:03:53 PM PST
BigSpender says:
What TV do you have? Will this be a good product, if a TV can suck in all inputs and output 5.1 sound via optical into this soundbar? How is the sound quality?

Posted on Jan 2, 2013 9:21:11 AM PST
R. Gordon says:
Thanks so much for a great review! I was wondering if this model had HDMI inputs. You just saved me a lot of time and money!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2013 11:23:20 AM PST
Green. I know the remote says RED :)

Posted on Jan 24, 2013 6:51:56 PM PST
Clokman says:
I thank you as well. No HDMI also means no use of the ARC (audio return channel) feature built into all new "smart" tvs. That means no auto switching and no auto on and off. Sure you can get by with out this...but why forgo the benefit? I had this sound bar on my very short list... but, sadly, no HDMI eliminates it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2013 10:43:02 PM PST
JB says:
There's no need for ARC and switching if the sound bar connects to the television directly via a single optical cable (this is supposedly the appeal of a sound bar, less clutter the better). Sure, it's not a lossless pass through but for this 2.1 sound bar it doesn't matter. If you want to connect your devices directly to the sound bar then a Harmony remote will take care of the switching. If you have at least 3 devices you will love the Harmony.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2013 1:36:53 PM PST
When the subwoofer is "on" and connected wirelessly to the soundbar, the light should be green. The light is red in standby mode (when the soundbar is off). If you are not getting any sound from the woofer when the light is green, check for a volume switch on the back of the subwoofer. If that fails, adjust the subwoofer volume using the remote and menu on the soundbar itself.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2013 5:39:51 PM PDT
Ravan says:
It's red when the system is off, but turns green once you switch it back on.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2013 8:06:41 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 6, 2013 8:08:06 AM PDT]

Posted on Apr 10, 2013 6:28:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2013 6:29:03 PM PDT
Racing Fan says:
Well said.. By removing HDMI, they're trying to push you to upgrade to CT550W.

Get the Sony HT CT150 --- It is so much better (with higher wattage) and has HDMI inputs and ARC.
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