Getting awesome picture quality is pretty easy with all the high def modern TVs, but up until recently the sound has been more challenging. A full surround sound system can definitely produce awesome sound but it comes at a cost, not only financially but in terms of setup hassle and room layout.
So whilst picture quality has advanced greatly with LCD, HD and now even 3D available on remarkable wide screen and wafer thin televisions; it is just a fact that the sound quality hasn’t matched their picture performance. (Those thin TVs just don't have the bulk required for good bass!)
A Soundbar is a pretty viable alternative and dependent on how much you wish to spend on one, a Soundbar can produce up to 7.1 surround sound in a single box! A Soundbar looks like a wide shallow speaker and normally matches the width of your TV, so can be placed seamlessly beneath it on your stand or wall mounted. It is simple to set up requiring only a mains plug and sound in/outputs from whatever gadgets you need to connect. Some Soundbars are even able to automatically tune in the correct sound levels for your environment.
In our experience there are several great bits of advice if you're considering a Soundbar:
So whats the Best Soundbar? At the risk of being accused of dodging the question, 'it depends. To try and find exactly what this means please read on!
What are you going to use it for?
Will it be simply to give your flat screen Television set superior sound or do you want to replicate that rich surround sound experience? Maybe you also have an Xbox 360 or game system you would like to enhance? These elements will determine whether you will be happy with a straightforward entry level appliance or a top of the range system with numerous connection possibilities.
How much money do you want to spend?
More money normally gets you more volume, more features and more connection options. Soundbars vary from around £50 ($82) right up to £1400 ($2,300).
What do I want to connect?
Create a list of anything you wish to connect and find out if it's feasible - common demands are Xbox 360, Blu-Ray, MP3 Player,BlueTooth and of course TV.
How will I connect?
On many entry to mid range Soundbars you will connect all your various gadgets (Wii, Xbox 360 console and so forth) to the TV and then the audio out from the TV to the Soundbar. On some top of the range Soundbars you can actually connect almost everything directly.
HDMI & HDMI ARC
Pay particular attention to HDMI, specifically HDMI ARC. If both your TV and Soundbar support it then this can simplify the cabling.
Sound can vary from a feeble 30watts RMS right up to an awesome 400.
What vendor do you like?
A lot of the big electronics producers produce Soundbars, so if you have a favorite then that may guide your choice.
Be sure the room you’ll be setting up the Soundbar into is suitable.
You require wall surfaces that can reflect audio. (nothing spongy!) Ensure you do not have pieces of furniture which will hinder the sounds path. Check that the particular Soundbar you have in mind will either fit on your TV rack or can be easily wall mounted.
Happy Soundbar hunting!