Home Theater Buying Guide: Soundbars

Digital Trends

  • Release Date: 16 Agu 2017
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To get better sound from your TV, a sound bar may be your best bet; they're slim, unobtrusive, and really easy to set up. Here's what you need to know when shopping for one.

Sound bars come both with and without subwoofers; some sound bars produce enough bass on their own to be a big improvement over TV speakers, but a subwoofer adds a lot of rumble and punch to movies, makes music sound fuller, and generally helps fill a room with sound. Most sound bars today are wireless, so just plug it the power into a wall outlet, and they connect automatically.

Most sounds are designed so that one cable comes from the TV to provide the audio signal. An optical digital cable is fine, but we prefer sound bars that connect with an HDMI cable because HDMI supports more audio formats. That means you get both better sound quality and a more immersive surround sound experience.

HDMI ARC is a feature that makes everything simpler and easier to use. It can send signals from the TV to the sound bar, and it allows you to use one remote to control the volume. Certain sound bars can act as a certain hub for all your equipment as well, which we find to be extremely useful.

You've probably seen numbers like 2.0, 3.1, or 5.1, when shopping--that refers to how many channels the sound bar supports. The first digital is the number of speakers and the second digit refers to if the system has a subwoofer. 5 channel sound bars include surround speakers. If the system has a third digit, then that means it uses Dobly Atmos, which bounces sound off the ceiling, for a more immersive effect.

There's a wide variety of sound bars that range in different sorts of functionality. You can get an Amazon Basics branded sound bar for only $100, or spend up to $1000 for a Dolby Atmos sound bar.

Sound basses are also another option and can also provide more bass than a sound bar with no subwoofer.

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