SurroundBar Instant Home Theater

Review

posted 1/6/2009 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
One Page Platforms: AV
Over the years there have been several Audio/Video products that I have looked at with a certain sort of disdain. These are usually products that appear to be taking a shortcut from the traditional method of delivering A/V and make the consumer wonder why they should invest in that type of technology. Included on this list were the all-in-on bar audio products that have become the rage as the must-have for flat panel TV enthusiasts. Early models were big, gaudy and simply could not deliver a quality soundfield for an affordable price. However, Polk Audio has created a family of products known as the SurroundBar that is attacking and dispelling these negative connotations. The latest product to the family line is being introduced at CES 2009 this week and is called the SurroundBar SDA Instant Home Theater, which breaks through most of the stereotypes of what you should expect from an all-in-one speaker solution. And the best part, it includes a wireless subwoofer, an innovative newcomer to these types of units…

The Specs
Model Polk Audio SurroundBar SDA Instant Home Theater
MSRP $499
Total System Watts 130w Continuous; 260w Peak
SurroundBar Watts 35w x 2
Sub Watts 60w
Frequency Range Sub Low end at 40 Hz
Control On Chassis Command Center
Audio Inputs RCA Analog
Audio Outputs n/a
Weight (lbs) 17.8 lbs system: 8.7 lbs SurroundBar, 9.1 lbs Sub
Tweeters Bar 2 – 13mm Dynamic Balance® Polyimide tweeters 
Drivers Bar 4 - 2-1/2" DB composite fiber stereo bass midrange drivers – shielded
Drivers Sub 6-1/2” DB composite cone with butyl rubber surround
Dimensions Bar 4" H x 31-3/4” W x 4-5/8" D 
Dimensions Sub 10" H x 10-1/4” W x 10-1/4” D 
Warranty 1-year Amp and Electronics; 3-year on speakers, crossover and enclosure

Out of the Box
As I expected, the Polk Audio Surround Bar SDA Instant Home Theater (SB IHT) was very securely packaged in the box. One of Polk’s trademarks is making sure that its products are completely protected from factory to the consumer’s door, and this did not disappoint. The SurroundBar and sub were snuggly tucked away within a mass of foam and plastic bags that make Fort Knox look penetrable. Wrapped under the layers were the SurroundBar speaker and the Wireless Sub. Also included in the box were two sets of power cords, analog audio cables, mounting cradles, documentation and a Wall Mount Template.


Aesthetics
The Polk Audio SB IHT is coated in the classic Satin Black finish that has graced many of Polk’s speakers over the years. This keeps the look of the unit elegant, yet definitely performance oriented and a match to the majority of flat-panel televisions on the market. The grill on the SurroundBar is a black cloth, with only the silver Polk Audio logo plate breaking up the surface. The back panel features integrated keyhole slot wall mounts/rubber feet, a vent for the electronics and a small area where the hookups take place. It is a very non-complex area that lends itself to the “idiot proof” hookup that this unit offers.

The wireless sub is approximately a 12” cube, with the Polk Logo stamped on the top, three identical sides and a back panel that holds the power and audio hookups as well as the adjustment knob and the wireless channel selector switch. This is a very non-descript sub, which is a good thing when you want to hear and feel, but not notice it.


Command Center
The command center is very simple on the SB IHT and is located on top of the SurroundBar dead center. It consists of a row of buttons and the Power Indicator light. The buttons control the unit and also allow for a remote to be programmed to control functionality. The buttons include Power, Up and Down Volume controls, Mute and Remote. The “Remote” button is what is used to allow the SB IHT to learn the controls needed from another remote to work the SB IHT.
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