If you can't always hear your TV when others can, or you have to wear headphones, it can be isolating. Sony hopes to solve this problem by giving you your own personal speaker that you can have by your side so you can enjoy TV with your family once again. We've taken a look at the Sony Wireless Handy TV Speaker with the help of two volunteers.
The Sony Wireless Handy TV Speaker (SRS-LSR100) costs £170 and is a small portable speaker with a carry handle that pairs with the sound of your TV. It allows other people to listen to the TV at a normal volume, while you have your own personal speaker by you to adjust the volume to suit you. There is even a Voice Zoom feature so you can boost the volume of speech to make it easier to understand what people are saying, without raising the volume any higher.
You can also take it round the house with you - it doesn't need to be in the same room as your TV. So it can be an easy way to continue listening when you're cooking, for example. The speaker's splashproof (IPX2), so you can have peace of mind that it will survive minor mishaps.
It has a 16-hour claimed battery life so should last through the day, and when you're not using it you can put it back in its dock by the TV and it will recharge, ready for when you need it. To get started with the speaker, you need to connect the speaker's dock to your TV via the supplied cables, and then input a few settings into your TV so the speaker works with your brand of set. A wide range of TV brands are supported, including Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and many others.
The speaker works by only projecting its sound directly in front of it, so if you position it to face you and not the others in the room, only you will hear the sound from the speaker when it's playing at a moderate volume.
The speaker has a large volume knob on the top for easy access, and you can also use it as your TV remote. It has good-sized and clearly labelled buttons to change channels and control your TV, so it can also be easier to use than your TV's remote.
The speaker's volume changes automatically, adjusting according to sound levels in your environment. So if the grandkids are noisy upstairs or someone starts the vacuum cleaner, the speaker will increase its volume accordingly to help avoid you struggling to hear.
We asked two volunteers to try the Sony Handy speaker with their TVs at home. One volunteer had slight hard of hearing and sometimes found it difficult to hear speech on the TV, and the other volunteer was very hard of hearing and typically watches TV with headphones on.
The first found the speaker very helpful at making it easier for them to listen to speech from the TV, and found that others in the room with them didn't notice the speaker's sound at all when it was angled away from them.