Polk SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater Reviewed

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Polk_soundbar_360.gifDespite the fact that this is a sophisticated home theater system, I'll make the assumption that some parents might end up buying one for their kids, so I moved on to some animation with Ratatouille on DVD (Walt Disney Home Entertainment). I found the picture to be sharp and the color saturation amazing, thanks to built-in Faroudja upscaling. I tried switching the resolution from the default setting of 480p to 720p, which produced a noticeable improvement in picture quality and sharpness. Getting back to the  Polk sound, I noticed that the dialogue through the center channel was highly intelligible and more consistent than it was in my much pricier 5.1 system. I constantly find myself tweaking the center channel volume when moving from source to source or disc to disc, so this was a welcome change.

Low Points
At this price point, an HDMI cable should be included. However, my biggest gripe with the SurroundBar 360 is the lack of a component or HDMI video input. Your only options are composite and S-video, which is lovely if grandma wants her VCR connected, but these won't help with video switching on an HD cable box. Also, the fast-forward speed when watching a DVD maxes out at 8X. Maybe I'm a bit spoiled, but I'm used to having the option of going to at least 16X.

Lastly, all-in-one Blu-ray home theater systems are coming down in price, so this product might have some stiff competition in that realm. Wouldn't you want HD video with your high-definition audio? I do, even at a higher cost. Perhaps that is for another product down the road.

Conclusion
I've really had a lot of fun with the SurroundBar360 DVD Theater, which speaks volumes. Home theater is about recreating the movie theater experience; it's also about escapism. The better the picture and sound, the more fun you're going to have. Polk certainly delivers in this regard and I can recommend this system with confidence. Many people are intimidated by the thought of connecting a home theater, but at the same time don't want the expense of hiring a dork, geek or nerd to install it. For those of you in the market for an easy to use, high-performance home theater solution that won't take up a ton of space, the SurroundBar360 should be on your short list. You'll be up and running in 10 minutes, regardless of your skill level. 

Additional Resources
• Read a review of the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama Soundbar by Sean Killebrew from HomeTheaterReview.com here.


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HTR Product Rating for Polk SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater

Criteria Rating

Performance

4.5

Value

4.5

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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