Usually, systems like these can be installed without so much as a glance at the manual, but the HT-SL70 isn’t entirely self explanatory. The main thing to bear in mind is that it’s primarily designed for use with TVs equipped with Audio Return Channel and CEC functionality thanks to the HDMI v1.4 sockets.
That means you have to connect the subwoofer’s HDMI output to the ARC-compatible input on your TV, then connect your Blu-ray player to a separate HDMI input on your the TV. Sound from the player, tuner or any other device connected to the TV is passed to the HT-SL70 and output through its speakers, while the volume is controlled using your TV’s remote though the magic of CEC.
If your TV doesn’t support ARC, then you can connect your Blu-ray deck to the Sharp’s HDMI input, connect the Sharp’s HDMI output to your TV and take a separate audio lead between your TV’s analogue audio output or headphone socket. When connected in this way, the Sharp will pass on 3D Blu-ray signals to your TV and you can still control volume with your TV remote. Alternatively you can simply connect your TV’s headphone jack to the Sharp’s analogue input and connect your player directly to the TV.
Confused? So were we. It’s all a little convoluted at first, but the ‘set and forget’ nature of the product means you won’t have to worry about it again once installed – the HT-SL70 acts like an extension of your TV’s speakers.
You’ll find loads of accessories in the box. There are two plastic clips for joining the two halves of the soundbar together – the shorter clip makes it match the typical width of a 46in TV, while the longer clip inserts a bigger gap between them for 52in sets. When mounting on a TV stand, you get transparent plastic feet that clip onto the back of the soundbar, but these look cheap and ugly.
Meanwhile the supplied floorstands let you mount the left and right speaker sections vertically, in a more traditional 2.1 arrangement. The stands look fairly chic with their transparent bases and silver poles – which boast a cable tidy feature – and it’s easy to attach the speakers using the clips. You also get all the brackets you need to mount the soundbar on the wall, making this a very versatile system.
Configuring the HT-SL70 simply involves turning on CEC in your TV’s setup menu. There are no controls on the subwoofer and there’s no remote control – the only thing you need is your TV remote. Even if you don’t have ARC, the volume can be controlled using your TV zapper, provided the TV’s headphone output is rigged up to the subwoofer.
Inside the soundbar are six full-range speaker drivers, with a 16cm woofer in the side-firing sub. On board power is quoted as 200W, with the sub’s digital amplifier supplying 100W to the soundbar and 100W for itself. There’s no on-board decoding for Dolby Digital or DTS, nor are there any processing modes, although High Definition Sound Standard technology helps keep the sound free from distortion.