Sonos Playbar: Flat Panels Need Fat Sounds

TVs have grown thinner than DJ Qualls. That’s good. But they’ve also lost the ability to pump out quality audio. That’s crappy. The Sonos Playbar ($700) is raising its hand to help. Souping up the standard sound bar, the Playbar wirelessly streams music and plays anything that’s plugged in to your HDTV: cable/SAT boxes, Blu-ray players, and game consoles. Of course how it actually sounds is the key question here, but with 9 speakers (three tweeters and six mid-range drivers), Sonos says this thing will kick ass.

Yamaha YAS-101 Soundbar

Soundbars are a lot like the women in your life. There are plenty of options to choose from, but very few are actually worth spending your time and money on. And many look good, but seldom do they fulfill your expectations. Yamaha’s $250 YAS-101 is no exception. Like most soundbars, the Yamaha YAS-101 is designed to fit in front of your TV or mounted just below it, but this one is extra smart. It can learn your TV’s remote control functions, and it features a built-in digital amplifier with an output of 120w. The glossy black box includes two 2-1/2” cone speakers with a dual-driver subwoofer and a bass reflex port to help with the lows. Yamaha claims the trumpet bell shape helps to improve sound quality.  It’s the cheapest of their sound bars, and it definitely delivers an audio experience that your  TV’s built-in speaker system can’t. So much like the ex’s you stay in touch with (just in case), keep the surround sound speakers around. At the end of the day, the YAS-101 won’t surpass their audio output.