Sharp is one of the several struggling tech companies right now but they continue push forward by utilizing the many technologies the company still has in possession. For instance, Sharp still has a huge manufacturing arm that enables them to manufacture LCD panels for themselves as well as other companies. Because of this advantage, Sharp is still in the TV business and their Quattron-enabled displays look very good. Sharp even plans on tackling future markets with their 4K displays. But Sharp doesn’t want to be just a one-trick pony in the living room. In addition to LED displays, Sharp also offers a number of interesting sound bars such as the Sharp HT-SB40 for people that demand better audio quality out of their displays without going through a complicated setup process.
The HT-SB40 looks quite stylish despite its mid-range price tag. The speaker unit doesn’t feel so premium but it looks pretty stylish with a brushed material appearance. The design also resembles Sharp’s recent HDTVs making the Sharp HT-SB40 a great match. The speaker drivers are also exposed giving the sense that this sound bar can produce some serious sound. Measuring about 37 inches wide, the HT-SB40 should pair well with any 40-inch TV or smaller. Slightly larger displays may also work well with this sound bar although Sharp offers the wider HT-SB60 as a superior solution for 60-inch displays.
The main speaker unit serves as the control unit as well so setting up the sound bar is very simple. All you basically have to do is use an HDMI cable to connect the TV to the HDMI out jack. There are 2 additional HDMI ports which serve as inputs so you can hook up other home theater components or possibly portable devices. Optical and audio in jacks can be found on the back of the sound bar as well. Sharp generously included both an audio cable and an HDMI cable to smoothen out the setup process.
The most common way in setting up the sound bar is placing it right in front of the TV. If you lack space or have a wall-mounted TV instead, you can mount the HT-SB40 to the wall too. The included pattern paper serves as a guide so you can properly drill the holes on the wall.
A separate subwoofer is included in the package too. You won’t have to worry so much about installing this unit because the subwoofer is a bit smaller and slimmer than ordinary subwoofers. 2 subwoofer stands are also provided so you can stand the subwoofer upright and not worry about it tumbling even if you turn up the bass. Plus, you don’t have to connect the subwoofer to the speaker using a wire. Both the unit and the subwoofer are wirelessly linked right out of the box so you shouldn’t have to do any manual pairing process. You just have to make sure there are no obstructions present between the sound bar and the subwoofer. A dedicated pairing button is also available if there is a need to reestablish the link.
The Sharp HT-SB40 is very simple to use just as it is a cinch to set up. That alone should count as one of the major features of this sound bar as there are other sound bars that require you to jump through hurdles. One of the reasons as to why this sound bar is so simple to use is because of the lack of features. Looking at the remote control is enough to figure out what this sound bar is capable of doing. You can do things like switch the source right from the HT-SB40 remote control. The main functions lie on the top portion of the remote control where you can set the sound mode. Each option has its own button making it very simple to select the sound mode you like. The Cinema, Music, Game, Sport and News sound modes are pretty explanatory although you can try each mode to find out which mode sounds the best for you. There is also a special Night button which keeps the sound levels low but clear at the same time. Finally, there is a Bypass button which allows you to manually adjust the bass and treble. Since the sound bar has a small display, it is easy to tell if the sound bar is responding to your remote commands.
The sound bar performs considerably better than any of the built-in speakers of tested TVs. This means that you can expect a sizeable audio improvement as long as you are making the leap from embedded speakers. Of course, dedicated surround sound systems sound better but at least the Sharp HT-SB40 has a 3D audio button along with Dolby Digital and DTS support so you can get a decent experience out of Blu-ray movies and video games.
Considering the exceptional audio performance, the $299 price tag makes the HT-SB40 fairly competitive. But it would be better to consider this sound bar at a discounted price since there are similarly-priced sound bars that offer more features such as Bluetooth connectivity. Other than that, the Sharp HT-SB40 works well with no serious flaws.
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