Polk Audio SurroundBar 360
Not too long after my failed Zvox experiment, I purchased a Polk Audio SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater. I had looked at several other single bar surround sound systems… including the Sony HT-CT100, a couple of Samsung’s and the Yamaha’s…. before choosing this one. I really liked a couple of things about it. First, it has enough bass not to need a sub-woofer. (I could add a subwoofer, but it doesn’t need one.) This made it less expensive than the Yahmaha’s, which require one for decent sound. The Polk is also much more flexible than the Sony, which puts all the I/O ports in the subwoofer. That would have forced me to keep the sub, the TV and other components close to each other. Second, the Polk has a lot of inputs… including 3 optical audio jacks… allowing for future expansion (a blu-ray player or Wii).
My one complaint is that it doesn’t have any HDMI inputs. This means that I have to switch the video and video sources individually. It’s not a big deal… but does irritate the wife. Beyond that one nit, it sounds fantastic and is more than capable of filling my room (18×13) with rich, full sound.
If you do pick one of these up, Polk just make a firmware upgrade available that does a nice job of enhancing the sound. Initially, background music / effects would drown out the dialogue on some programs (not all, but some). After the upgrade, the dialog has been crisp and clear on everything. Highly recommended.