Polk Audio seems to have come in with the best soundbar bargains at the CEDIA Expo. The new flagship, the SurroundBar 9000, costs just $799, but it’s a full 5.1 design with full-range drivers for left/right surround channels, and two-way woofer/tweeter arrays for the front left/center/right channels. An eight-channel amp is built into the bar. The potent little 8-inch subwoofer that comes with the system is based on the company’s PSW-111. Dolby Digital and DTS decoding are built in.
Polk also showed a new budget model, the $399 SurroundBar 5000, that incorporates Bluetooth technology so you can easily play tunes or Internet radio from your smartphone through the soundbar. Although the SurroundBar 5000 uses just two full-range drivers (along with a small wireless sub), I have to admit the demo sounded pretty good.