If you're looking for a sound bar that's good at just about everything, the Sony HT-CT260 is the best all-around option. Experts say sound quality is great -- especially for its price -- and that its wireless subwoofer delivers deep, impactful bass. This, combined with useful features such as built-in Bluetooth, make the HT-CT260 an excellent value.
An all-around solid performer. While the Sony HT-CT260 can't compete with premium-grade sound bars such as the Yamaha YSP-4100 (Est. $1,700) , experts say it offers very good performance overall, especially for its class. CNET's Matthew Moskovciak says action films sound lively and full. PCMag.com's Will Greenwald, on the other hand, says sound quality for music is "solid, without excelling in any category." The wireless subwoofer provides deep and powerful bass, and experts praise the system's mid-range performance. Dialogue in movies is clear enough, though high-end frequencies can be a bit muddled at times. As is the case with most sound bars, the Sony HT-CT260 doesn't produce the most convincing simulated surround sound, but experts say it still offers a wide and detailed soundstage for its class.
Hexagonal profile. The Sony HT-CT260 sound bar weighs just 6.1 pounds and is wide enough to sit under a 40-inch HDTV comfortably. It sports an angular, hexagonal design with a matte-black cloth grille and a blue LED light on the front. At 4 inches high, there's a chance it could block a sensor at the bottom of a TV. Fortunately, if it does, the Sony HT-CT260 has a rear-mounted signal repeater that will relay your remote's IR signals. The down-firing subwoofer works wirelessly, though it does need to be plugged into an electric outlet. Experts say syncing the sound bar to the subwoofer is very easy. Connectivity is basic, but adequate: analog audio as well as both optical and coaxial digital audio inputs, but no HDMI ports.
Built-in Bluetooth for mobile devices. The Sony HT-CT260 lets you wirelessly stream audio from smartphones and mobile devices. When streaming music via Bluetooth this way, you can expect the drop in audio quality that's typical of Bluetooth technology, but experts say that this easy-to-use feature is a welcome plus just the same. Dolby and DTS decoding is also built in, though rarely used in most situations. You can adjust subwoofer volume as well as bass and treble levels. CNET's Matthew Moskovciak says the ability to adjust the phantom center-channel volume is a help for those who sometimes have trouble hearing dialogue in movies.
A solid sound bar for a reasonable price. Experts say the Sony HT-CT260 sound bar provides an excellent value. It's not the cheapest sound bar you can buy, and its sound quality falls short of what premium sound bars can deliver. But few competitors in its price class can deliver as good a balance of performance and features. The Yamaha YAS-101 (Est. $250) comes close, but it costs roughly the same and has weaker bass performance.
ConsumerReports.org editors test the Sony HT-CT260. Here the sound bar is evaluated on performance, ease of use, features and design. Hands-on testing of sound quality is done. Results are broken down into easy-to-read summaries, and key features are highlighted in a detailed specs chart.
Review: Sony HT-CT260, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
The Sony HT-CT260 sound bar earns 4 stars out of 5 at CNET. While $300 isn't everybody's idea of a budget price, editor Matthew Moskovciak calls the HT-CT260 "our go-to budget sound bar pick." Here, the sound bar earns praise for its sound quality, features and design.
Review: Sony HT-CT260 Review: Excellent Sound That Fits Nearly Every Living Room, Matthew Moskovciak, May 7, 2013
Reviewer Will Greenwald calls the Sony HT-CT260 an excellent value, saying it offers "plenty of functionality and excellent, albeit not-audiophile-level performance for a reasonable price." The HT-CT260 receives 4 stars out of 5, as well as an Editors' Choice.
Review: Sony HT-CT260 Home Theater Soundbar, Will Greenwald, Feb. 28, 2013
The Sony HT-CT260 receives more than 225 user reviews from owners posting at Amazon.com. Here the sound bar earns an overall score of 4.5 stars out of 5. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive; the bulk of reviews fall into 4-star and 5-star ratings. Many praise the sound bar for its value.
Review: Sony HTCT260 Sound Bar Home Theater System, Contributors to Amazon.com , As of August 2013
More than 240 owners post feedback on retail site BestBuy.com. Most contributors give the sound bar either a 4-star or 5-star rating. Ninety-eight percent of reviewers would recommend the HT-CT260 to a friend. User reviews here are brief, but many list pros and cons.
Review: Sony – 2.1-Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of August 2013
There aren't as many user reviews here as there are at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com (just more than 30), but the Sony HT-CT260 receives overwhelmingly positive reviews from owners. Analysis is brief, but pros and cons are listed. Many are pleased with the sound bar's sound quality, ease of use and features.
Review: Sony HT-CT260, Contributors to Crutchfield.com, As of August 2013