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on September 19, 2013
I have been following the Sony HT-CT260 for a while now but decided to wait for an upgrade as I wanted an HDMI input/output. Sony finally decided to do the change. This model is practically the same as the Sony HT-CT260 but with and HDMI input instead of a the outdated coaxial input. This sound bar has excellent sound quality, comes with a wireless subwoofer, has remote control infra red pass through, has an optical input and a 3.5mm analog input, has treble and bass controls along with several sound modes, has 3 different display modes (always on, on when you make any changes then display turns back off and always off), has a night mode for less impact sound, and best of all this sound bar is priced at a very reasonable $249 (at the time of this review). If you are looking for an excellent mid priced sound bar, do yourself a favor and check this one out first.
**Update 9-21-13**
I forgot to mention that this unit also has Bluetooth, so you can stream music from your phone which is a big plus. I tried this with my Blackberry Bold 9900 and with my Samsung Galaxy S4 and it worked flawlessly.
**Update 9-24-13**
I noticed the volume on the unit was dramatically low when compared to my Yamaha YAS-101 sound bar. If you experience the same thing, go into the sound settings and disable the "effect" feature as it somehow reduces the volume by a lot. With the "effect" feature on, I would have the volume at max (50) and it wouldn't seem be be very loud but once you disable the feature, which comes activated by default, everything seems to comes alive and the volume goes pretty high. Sony really did a good job with this unit. Compared to my Yamaha YAS-101 sound bar, this unit sounds much better but the Yamaha sounds louder. The Yamaha seems to emphasis more on mid-range and volume but lacks treble. The Sony in comparison has excellent treble, excellent bass and good mid-range. This Sony has so much bass that I normally have the sub-woofer set to -6 or -4 which is pretty much the lowest level, the bass at -0 which is the middle point and the treble at +6 which is the maximum level as I prefer clarity with some bass instead of the constant boom, boom. Anyhow, I hope this helps...
**Update 12-17-13**
Someone posted a video on youtube explaining how to disable the effect feature on this Sony sound bar (2:47 to be precise) which will increase and improve the sound dramatically. Very good review by skiz220 , check it out:
[...]
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on September 10, 2013
I bought this model mainly because I wanted HDMI-CEC (a.k.a. Bravia Sync, SIMPLINK, Anynet+, etc.), and it works great. CEC turns the sound bar on and off with the TV, and it also lets you use the TV remote to control the volume. You get slightly better sound quality by feeding the source directly into the sound system with HDMI and then out to the TV instead of from the TV into the sound system. Many TVs downgrade the audio signal to stereo over digital coaxial audio out and optical audio out if the TV input is HDMI (has something to do with HDCP).

This sound bar supports ARC (Audio Return Channel). ARC lets you plug your TV cable, Roku stick (if you have MHL), Chromecast, or USB drive into your TV, and the sound can travel "backwards" through the HDMI cable to the sound bar. It also works with Smart TVs. For ARC, the audio input function on the sound bar is "TV", but it usually automatically switches, so you do not have to manually change the input.

Since the Sony spec sheet is unclear, here are all the ports for this sound bar:

Inputs:
1x HDMI
1x Optical
1x Stereo Mini (This is used to connect a media player like an iPod without Bluetooth using a 3.5 mm male to male cable. It is not an output, so connecting headphones will not work.)

Outputs:
1x HDMI

This model is mid-range so while the speakers definitely sound better than the built-in TV speakers, they can sound a little thin at times (I'm used to nice Polk bookshelf speakers). To put it another way, the treble can sound a little muddled at times due to the lack of tweeters. The subwoofer makes a huge difference though. 2x the price would get you only a slight improvement in sound quality. 5x the price would get you a big increase in sound quality. Then there's a lot of in-between quality as well. My point is that if you want to pay more, there are better options, but at this price, this sound bar is solid. I wouldn't consider buying a sound bar under $150 because the increase in performance over TV speakers would not be enough to justify it (to me anyway).

Everything is basically plug and play. The subwoofer is already paired. My iPhone and iPad paired perfectly, and I was playing music in no time. An interesting tip is that you can switch the audio input to Bluetooth, and the image will still stay on the TV screen because of HDMI video passthrough (e.g. You can play a PS4 game while listening to music from your iPhone over Bluetooth. The PS4 audio will be muted).

The only thing I can really knock on this model is that it only has 1 HDMI input, so this means I will have to use an HDMI switcher to hook up multiple devices. If you have a little more cash, you may want to get the HT-CT660 for the extra HDMI inputs. Using some apps like HBOGo, the 260's audio is quieter than I would like it to be at max setting, but for the majority of apps like Netflix, the sound is louder and just fine. Since the sound level is different between apps, I have determined it is mostly the apps' fault for outputting a lower gain. I have the speaker bar in a smaller room (less than 3 m x 3 m), so the lower volume doesn't matter too much. The 660 model is a bit louder than the 260 and has clearer treble and voice because of the added tweeters. 40 sound volume on the 660 sounds like 50 (max) on the 260; however, the 660 becomes distorted much past 44. The 260 can strain at higher volumes as well. The 660 is not as "plug and play" as the 260 because you have to really tweak the settings for it to sound good, and you have to change them (mainly voice and sub level) depending on whether you're listening to music or a movie. The 660 can sound better, but you have to work for it more than the 260. The 260 sounds great if you just turn up the treble and bass a couple notches. Depending on the room, sub position, and personal preferences sub level will vary (default is 2).

I think Sony could have left a little more space in the back for the HDMI cables. It's a little difficult to get both of them in at that angle. That's a minor annoyance though.

The remote is nothing amazing. It actually has more buttons than it needs. I would rather it be slightly more simplified by getting rid of the numbers and color buttons. It does have bluetooth controls at the bottom, so you can control your bluetooth device. I'm not sure how useful the bluetooth buttons are because you have to have the phone or bluetooth device in the same room anyway or else it skips, so I guess the benefit is not having to wake up the device's screen. The downside of the bluetooth buttons is that I can't use it to control my Blu-Ray player. I wish the remote had backlights. I may have to get a Logitech universal remote eventually. I like the ease of changing the equalizer presets. I mostly use Game, Music, and Movie. The Amp Menu settings are simple enough to change when you get to know the layout.

Bottom line -- This sound bar is the best under $300!

Note: I had an issue with the subwoofer dropping out randomly. It was being caused by WiFi interference (2.4 GHz). I turned off my G network (mixed) for N only (5 GHz), and the sub is working as it should now. You shouldn't have any problems with Wireless-N (802.11n) networks on the 5 GHz band. If you have close neighbors (or other networks in range), be aware of what they use. Fortunately, mine use Wireless-N.

UPDATE: And now it is way under $300! I would have to say the 660 model is now technically the best sound bar under $300 because it adds tweeters and is a little louder, but it does require a bit more configuration and tweaking than the 260 to sound right.
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on November 24, 2017
After over a year of owning this product, you find yourself unable to connect my new sound bar to the wireless subwoofer. You follow the instructions in the booklet multiple times, and contact support, you have moved the subwoofer all around the room and each time you get the failed message. The light flashes green and beeps incessantly as it is tries to connect. Once the subwoofer displays the failed message and the subwoofer stops beeping the light turns solid green. Each time you try you get the same response despite the subwoofer being in different places, even directly next to the sound bar. Is there any troubleshooting you can do? Any other ways to attempt to connect it? Is there anything that might be interfering with the wireless signal?

Well, maybe. But Sony can't do anything about it.

They suggest doing a "cold reset." While pressing INPUT button and VOL (-) on the Sound Bar press the POWER button. “RESET” appears and the system is reset. AMP menu, sound field, etc., return to the default settings.

This "cold reset" technique is spotty at best. What has SOMETIMES worked for me, but is still TERRIBLY frustrating as I have to do this EVERY TIME I want to listen to music or TV audio with a modicum of bass, is doing several "cold resets" unplugging the soundbar (really annoying), and waiting several minutes. Then I try to WS... LINK... START... SEARCH. This fails repeatedly. Then you unplug the soundbar for several minutes. You go into your wireless settings on your router. I adjusted these several different ways (it's really unbelievable that Sony suggests not using wireless devices while trying to use this bass subwoofer...) - finally choosing to lower the strength of the 2.5GHz signal to 25% and allowed only up to 52Mbs transmission. I also chose AUTO for channel - which seems a little like playing the lottery because NOWHERE can I find online what the default channel is for 802.1n connectivity between the soundbar and the subwoofer... Then I unplugged the soundbar again. And waited. The subwoofer had a green light instead of red (this sometimes just happens after repeated attempts at linking), and I attempted to link again... WS... LINK ... START ... SEARCH and it connected right away. What luck!

I still have no idea what the best process is to magically connect this subwoofer. Because when the connection fails to reconnect, as it does later in the day unless you keep the soundbar on all the time, you have to start over, unplugging, resetting, and searching. You could try the same process, but THERE IS NO GUARANTEE that it will work.

Note that I bought my HTCT260H on amazon in 2015. Apparently with this model I cannot select the RF channel via the soundbar. I can't choose "WS.ON" for example. I don't have physical, removable transceivers in the back of the soundbar and subwoofer that can be removed.

It's daily that I want to listen to music or TV sound with the subwoofer attached. Daily I contact Sony customer support and ask them to replace the device. They repeatedly give me a phone number for a Sony repair service that I know will charge 70 dollars and 30 dollars shipping to "repair" it. When it works sometimes. But not without a lot of annoying effort. I should say, too, that when trying to link this subwoofer, it BEEPS incessantly. Which is maddening. I've learned that if it doesn't connect right away, this subwoofer won't connect at all. So you have to start over.

And for me, too, this happened after the warranty expired. So Sony says it's out of warranty. My frustration is common. That's why you see a video like this: https://youtu.be/nyCtaciiM8Y from the Onion.

My theory is that Sony didn't design this product with the strength of available wireless connections in mind. So that when I moved to this apartment and purchased a high-quality (strong signal) router, the soundbar is having trouble making that subwoofer handshake. It remains a mystery how Sony designed this connection to be made. Knowing THAT would be helpful "troubleshooting." If the subwoofer has an SSID, I don't think it's broadcast - perhaps it is. It's not broadcasting a unique IP according to my phone's Net Analyzer Lite app, and it's not connected wirelessly to the router (obviously) nor is the subwoofer connect-able via blutooth directly. It seems to connect via a sort of WPS (wifi protected setup) similarly to how my Brother Printer (MFCJ450DW) can connect, just not as well, or rather, not as consistently. Love that printer. The printer, even off, is able to wake up and work when commanded.

When something works so consistently you can rely on it, that's worth a lot this day in age.

Were I to replace this $230 dollar device with something that works in a similar way, I think I'd run into similar problems. I think Sony should take note and design a better soundbar-subwoofer (and maybe they do) that can connect with each other directly through a wifi router as an option. If they're both connected to wifi, they could make that handshake, say hello, let go of the wifi, and proceed to work. If the connection is interrupted, they can relocate each other via wifi.

I wonder what other people have done to fix their soundbar/subwoofer connection on this model and others. Have they given up? Found better alternatives? Gone wired? Gone crazy?

This "cold reset" technique is spotty at best. What has SOMETIMES worked for me, but is still TERRIBLY frustrating as I have to do this EVERY TIME I want to listen to music or TV audio with a modicum of bass, is doing several "cold resets" unplugging the soundbar (really annoying), and waiting several minutes. Then I try to WS... LINK... START... SEARCH. This fails repeatedly. Then you unplug the soundbar for several minutes. You go into your wireless settings on your router. I adjusted these several different ways (it's really unbelievable that Sony suggests not using wireless devices while trying to use this bass subwoofer...) - finally choosing to lower the strength of the 2.5GHz signal to 25% and allowed only up to 52Mbs transmission. I also chose AUTO for channel - which seems a little like playing the lottery because NOWHERE can I find online what the default channel is for 802.1n connectivity between the soundbar and the subwoofer. Then I unplugged the soundbar again. And waited. The subwoofer had a green light instead of red (this sometimes just happens after repeated attempts at linking), and I attempted to link again... WS... LINK ... START ... SEARCH and it connected right away.

Note that I bought my HTCT260H on amazon in 2015. Apparently with this model I cannot select the RF channel via the soundbar. I can't choose "WS.ON" for example. I don't have physical transceivers in the back of the soundbar and subwoofer that can be removed.

It's daily that I want to listen to music or TV sound with the subwoofer attached. Daily I contact Sony customer support and ask them to replace the device. They repeatedly give me a phone number for a Sony repair service that I know will charge 70 dollars and 30 dollars shipping to "repair" it. When it works sometimes. But not without a lot of annoying effort. I should say, too, that when trying to link this subwoofer, it BEEPS incessantly. Which is maddening. I've learned that if it doesn't connect right away, the f***er won't connect at all. So you have to start over.

And for me, too, this happened after the warranty expired. So Sony says it's out of warranty. My frustration is common. That's why you see a video like this: https://youtu.be/nyCtaciiM8Y from the Onion.

My theory is that Sony didn't design this product with the strength of available wireless connections in mind. So that when I moved to this apartment and purchased a high-quality (strong signal) router, the soundbar is having trouble making that subwoofer handshake. It remains a mystery how Sony designed this connection to be made. Knowing THAT would be helpful "troubleshooting." If the subwoofer has an SSID, I don't think it's broadcast - perhaps it is. It's not broadcasting a unique IP according to my phone's Net Analyzer Lite app, and it's not connected wirelessly to the router (obviously) nor is the subwoofer connect-able via blutooth directly. It seems to connect via a sort of WPS (wifi protected setup) similarly to how my Brother Printer (MFCJ450DW) can connect, just not as well, or rather, not as consistently. Love that printer. The printer, even off, is able to wake up and work when commanded.

When something works so consistently you can rely on it, that's worth a lot this day in age.

Were I to replace this $230 dollar device with something that works in a similar way, I think I'd run into similar problems. I think Sony should take note and design a better soundbar-subwoofer (and maybe they do) that can connect with each other directly through a wifi router as an option. If they're both connected to wifi, they could make that handshake, say hello, let go of the wifi, and proceed to work. If the connection is interrupted, they can relocate each other via wifi.

I wonder what other people have done to fix their soundbar/subwoofer connection on this model and others. Have they given up? Found better alternatives? Gone wired? Gone crazy?
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on October 24, 2013
I recently purchased Bose Cinemate GSII for my living room but I returned it for Sony HT CT 260H
I used to own Onkyo HTIB system for my Hometheater, however, I realized how messy the cables are for 5.1 channels.
So, this time I went for 2.1 channels.
There were 4 options that I considered

1. Bose Cinemate GSII (MSRP 599.99)
2. Onkyo Envision (MSRP 499.99)
3. Pioneer Soundbar Andrew Jones Edition (MSRP 399.99)
4. Sony HT CT 260 (MSRP under 299.99)

Firstly, I purchased Bose Cinemate GS II at 640 dollars (including Tax)
I had it for 6 days however, I couldn't see any points that justify its high price range.
I agree bass is amazing! However, I couldn't hear any sound of piano, strings, high notes from Gemstone speakers
Low sounds were astonishing but.. THATS IT!
So I returned it after 6 days.

Then I tested Onkyo Envision. However, its just another Bose Cinemate GSII with lower price tag.
This one doesnt justify its price tag either.

The third one that I tested was Pioneer soundbar Andrew Jones Edition which was displayed at BestBuy.
I have to admit that the sound quality of soundbar itself is better than Sony HT CT 260.
Pioneer has more acoustic feeling and drums from its wood materials.
However, there were two problems with this model.
One is its well-known bluetooth problem and the other is Pioneers poor customer service. (+ high price range)
So I skipped it.

Finally I got Sony HT CT 260.
In a word, HAPPY!
I know if you go for either soundbar or 2.1 channel system, you are giving up surround sound and value/price benefits.
However, this model is quite inexpensive ($240) and sound is just good enough for a soundbar.
In terms of quality, its not the best speaker you can get.

However, in terms of value, this is probably the best sound system that you can utilize for your budget and space.

Bass is punch but still the sound has not been sacrificed at all.
I know you can get way better sound systems such as Energy Take 5.1 / Onkyo HT-S3500 at similar price range but I want the simplest setup for my sound system.
And they don't come with bluetooth connection which this one has.

Anyways, if you are tight on budget and don't want to be a GeekSquad of your home, go get this ONE.
Otherwise, go get Pioneer SoundBar Andrew Jones Edition or go for 5.1 surround sounds.

Sound Quality (Personal)
Bose Cinemate GS II (except bass) = Onkyo Envision = Pioneer AJ > Sony 260
Value
Sony > Pioneer > Onkyo >>> Bose
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I bought this about three years ago (January 2014) and somehow neglected to review it sooner. Just as well - as today, after all this time, it has functioned perfectly. We use it with a 42" Samsung HDTV and the difference in sound is as profound as was the difference in picture quality when we switched from old tube TV to HDTV!

All features work as advertised - including the Bluetooth capacity that allows me to play music on my iPhoine through the speakers - with the ample and resonant base provided by the base-speaker (wireless) unit that connects wirelessly to the main soundbar (which is mounted above the TV on the wall) and plays along with it when it is in BLuetooth mode.

Back then, it was a bargain and I see now that it has been replaced by a newer model. I hope that means that the newer model is as good as this one has been. If there is a doubt, a refurb (by Sony, of course) of this one would be a nice addition to any TV-watching person or family.
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on December 20, 2013
Great sound-bar for the money. Fills the room and has good bass. Set up can be a little tricky. It is plug and play, but to get it to the sound the way you like it you have to play with sound settings a lot. Bluetooth feature is great and convenient. Music sounds good on this sound bar. Under the settings you have to turn OFF the EFFECTS setting to get the best sound out of the system. All in all, a great, feature rich sound bar for the money.
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on March 24, 2014
I chose this sound bar because of features, brand, and design but there is a huge, glaring issue that affects a primary use-case; the Bluetooth connection is more than just unstable and wonky, it will drive you nuts.

I use my iOS devices to connect to the speaker over Bluetooth, but the connection is very fickle to say the least. I also have a bluetooth Bose system in another part of my house and the difference in quality of the bluetooth connection is cringe-worthy-level embarrassing for Sony. The Bose speaker allows me to walk across my home, upstairs, diagonally across the home to the subject Sony soundbar without any degradation of the bluetooth signal or music from the wireless Bose system. The Sony soundbar on the other hand.......I put my phone in my pocket and turned away from the speaker and the bluetooth connection breaks up and so does the music playback. I was not even two feet away from the Sony speaker. It is indescribable how bad the connection is.

Although I can't speak about it as it has not effected me because I have not used the soundbar through a wired connection, I noticed, as I was searching for a solution to my bluetooth issue, that there are significant number of people that have reported similar drops and cuts in sound using wired connections. The wireless connectivity seems to also affect the connection of the subwoofer to the speaker, because that will also cut out at times.

According to the horrible Sony support site the solution is to move the speaker away from microwaves. There ya have it........ the kind of support you really need. Don't
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on February 23, 2015
Bought this to try to simplify my overall system. Have the big component type with speakers in wall etc. but it got to be a real pain for getting turned on and wiring. This unit I am hoping will work out as a replacement. So far so good.

Unit fits tight on mantel below the TV. I was using this as a direct sound replacement for Sony TV so I have the digital cable plugged in from the TV. The only other cord I have is the power (never shown in the photos but there) Luckily I have power behind the TV so wiring stays pretty hidden. If you are going to wire other components into this directly, obviously you will have more cables. The digital cable that comes with unit works fine. Seems lightweight compared to aftermarket ones I have bought but is fine.. The sub needs power but that is it. Wireless connection to sound bar for this unit. IT is Bluetooth for say connecting to phone or table i.e. Jango, Iheartradio, etc.

SOUND QUALITY
OK it sounds good, not great but good. You cannot compare a $200 unit to a $1000 system so don't think your going to get that real high end precision but it really does sound good. I played movies, sports, and music and all had decent sound to it. I did not know what to expect so I was pleasantly surprised. The sub has good bass and will change depending on where you place it. You will also get different sound from the bar depending on where and how it is set up. In front of your TV will give you a bit different sound than below. Mounted to wall will use the wall to get a bit more base but my guess most will not hear that much of a difference. Great unit to give you full sound (not surround). There are preset sounds which are good but make the overall unit much quieter. If you want louder shut off this feature. There are some reviews here that tell you how to do this.

REMOTE
Well Sony did not put much thought into this if you ask me. Setting up the sound was less than easy. The navigation is not optimal on this remote, lots of trial and error to get the up/down on/off figured out. Instructions we're not the best there. Remote can be used to control the TV but that is it. Not overly useful. I was able to program it it to my Logitech Harmony 700 without any problems and was much easier to use. Toss this remote in the drawer with all the other remotes.

DISPLAY
Very hard to read from a distance but if you don't like annoying flashing lights etc. when watching TV, it will work out just fine. You can also shut the display completely off.

APPEARANCE
Overall this is a good looking unit and goes well with TV without being the "centerpiece: of the system. SUB is nice as well.

If your looking for a cost effective means of having a decent sounding system without cutting into walls or you just have a limited space, this a good unit. A few tweaks here and there but nothing that cannot be figured out. I would recommend this item.

**WORD OF CAUTION**
Amazon did not put this on one of their smiling boxes. It came in the Sony box telling the whole world I JUST BOUGHT SOUND BAR so if you have this coming in to your apartment or home, keep that in mind so it does not walk off. The Sony box is pretty big so I can understand that the box Amazon would have to use would make this about the size of a Prius jacking up the shipping cost but sure did not like the product box sitting pretty when I got home.
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on January 15, 2014
I purchased this soundbar for my Mom at Christmas, she listens to music on her cable TV and the stock TV speakers were pitiful at trying to play music, let alone clear dialog during movies. I have a multi thousand dollar 7.2 channel system at my house, and visiting Mom's house for "movie night" was considerably less than sonic nirvana. I read reviews, studied specifications and weighed the pros and cons of a small footprint system in hopes of making her setup better without upsetting her sense of decor. I am pleased to say that this system far exceeded my expectations in spite of numerous positive reviews. I am a bit of a cynic regarding good sound reproduction, but this setup really delivers for its size. It will not put a dedicated audiophile's system to shame, but for the majority of listeners, I'd wager it will exceed their expectations. A VERY pleasant surprise. Setup was child's play, and in no time I had my Mom smiling like a Cheshire cat. The speaker bar is very unobtrusive, and the subwoofer unit is easily hidden in a corner, which helps reinforce its output as well. All in all a very good buy, vocal clarity and musicality far in excess of its meager cost. If you're trying to get the most bang for your buck and maintain a small hardware footprint, you'll work hard to beat this system's value. Highly recommended!
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on January 11, 2015
A very good speaker & subwoofer, at a reasonable price. I'm 51 years old, and I value price, very good sound, and simplicity of design & function. This has all three. I have a 5-1 stereo surround sound setup on a different TV, and I had no illusions about this rather straightforward speaker sounding as good as that one does. However, for a sound bar (I've owned three), this is really quite good. If you're under the age of 29, and love all sorts of overpowering bass in everything from a video game to a GEICO commercial, this will give you that. If you're not looking to be overwhelmed when watching The Weather Channel, this can be adjusted to sound very good, but very normal. I would recommend it.
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