After getting my Samsung 55″ LED 3D HDTV which has the speakers pointed towards the wall, I felt like I needed a sound system. After looking for a deal, I found this Samsung Soundbar HW-E450ZA at Best Buy for $269.99 (MSRP $329.99).
As you can see above, it comes with a horizontal 40″ 6 speaker system that goes in front of your TV, and a larger wireless subwoofer box that can go anywhere. More on the subwoofer later.
The system accepts analog in, digital in and even HDMI in/out (as you can see above) and the manual recommends that you use the HDMI in/out. However, that does not work if you have multiple HDMI sources. For example, I have a cable box and PS3 so I can’t use this option. The picture below shows the Digital optical cable (Best Buy $18) that I ended up using. You can see the analog AUX input below the Digital cable.
Now, you have to set your TV to external speaker, and when you turn on your TV, the soundbar will sense the audio and turn on by itself. It’s a little annoying because there is a delay between the time the TV audio comes on and the time it takes the soundbar to “boot” up and start outputting sound.
The soundbar also comes with it’s own remote control to setup everything including the Dolby and “3D” modes.
The good news:
The sound from the system is great compared to the speaker that comes with the TV. What really “makes” this system is the wireless subwoofer which uses Bluetooth to connect to the system. After the easy one time setup, it works perfectly and really makes the system sound like it should. Wireless is the way to go because frankly, I could not have laid wires all over the living room to install the subwoofer next to my couch.
The bad news:
For the life of me, I cannot get my remote to control the volume on the soundbar. Notice that I have a Samsung TV with a Samsung TV remote. Why is this not compatible to the soundbar? Very strange. If anybody knows how to fix this, please send me a message. The soundbar does have an USB slot so maybe there is a new firmware available but it’s not on the Samsung website.
All in all, I’m happy with the sound but not happy that I have yet another remote that I have to use to control my entertainment system. I already have too many.
I found the following bad news on a Samsung support site:
"To have the Soundbar turn on when the TV is powered on you must disable Anynet on the SoundBar & use optical cable connection. When TV is powered on, the SoundBar will turn on. When TV is powered off, the sound bar will turn off after 20 mins when it doesn't detect a signal. When using HDMI connection, w/Anynet on, you can use SoundBar remote to control only TV Power/TV Info/TV Ch. There is no way to adjust the audio on the SoundBar using the TV remote or vise versa. ^Sabrina"
That's a very interesting CNET forum thread which was very active last year. There is one post there that hints at a "fix" coming but it's been a long time since that post so it seems like the fix is not coming. But one can hope.