A soundbar is the easiest way to improve your TV speakers
Want to improve the speakers on your flatscreen TV in the simplest possible way?Look no further than a soundbar…
These slim, single-enclosure speaker-sets take up very little room and are simple to set up. Find out whether one is right for you with Currys guide.
Soundbar vs home cinemaHome cinema surround sound systems are made up of several speakers strategically placed around your room. A soundbar is made up of several speakers placed side-by-side in a single enclosure or case.
Why choose a soundbar?
- Space-saving: Mount on your wall or place on your TV stand – you’ll hardly know it’s there
- Clutter-free: Doesn’t need a separate AV receiver like full-blown home cinema system
- Simple set-up: Cable/s go straight from soundbar to TV – nothing trailing across your room
Why improve my TV’s speakers?When the latest TVs are unveiled at the CES tech show in Las Vegas each January they’re thinner than the ones from the year before. TVs are becoming increasingly slim – LG launched an OLED TV that was just 4 credit cards thick at CES 2016.
But what does this mean for the built-in speakers? There’s much less space for them. Even standard flatscreen TVs lacked the depth for large speakers (unlike the ‘tube’ TVs of earlier years).
But the superb picture quality of 4K UHD and OLED TVs deserve the kind of sound only made possible by adding external audio tech.
How does a soundbar work?With all soundbars you can enjoy stereo sound. By that we mean it will deliver audio to the left and right through dedicated speakers or channels.
This will make TV much more immersive. Atmospheric movies are brought further to life with the addition of an external subwoofer – which delivers deep bass and other low-frequency sounds.
All of the speakers are within a single case rather than positioned behind you, so a soundbar cannot offer true surround sound like a set of 5.1 home cinema speakers.
They do, however, offer virtual surround sound. Sound is thrown from the speakers towards the wall directly opposite the TV and then bounced across the room to make you feel as though the speakers are behind and to your side.
Choosing your soundbar – nice-to-have features1) Wireless subwoofer
One of the main benefits of a soundbar is its lack of cables – so why would you want a wire trailing from the soundbar to your external subwoofer?
The subwoofer is a small box that sits separately from the bar to deliver deeper bass. Not all soundbars have one, but they make a huge difference to sound quality. Keep your living room clutter-free with a wireless sub.
2) Set-up for Spotify and iTunes
Movies aside, soundbars are great for bringing music into your living room – particularly nowadays as Hi-Fi systems are becoming less common. The rise of Spotify means we’re increasingly streaming our music from the internet – and using apps to control what we’re listening to.
Look at soundbars with built-in Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay to have a soundbar that doubles as a wireless speaker for streaming Spotify and suchlike.
3) Connectivity – more is better
The more you spend on a soundbar the more connectivity options it will have. By that we mean the types of cables you can use to connect it to your TV, Blu-ray player and set-top box.
Look for options with both Optical and HDMI connections for greater flexibility with set-up and control. Soundbars with HDMI (ARC) offer the easiest set-up. It’s designed to send your TV’s audio to the soundbar via a single HDMI cable. With regular HDMI you’d also require an audio cable.
4) Multi-room-compatible to grow with you
Multi-room systems, which provide a network of connected speakers throughout your home, are becoming more popular.
Sonos, Samsung and Bose are among those who make both soundbars and multi-room speakers – and both can be connected so your soundbar becomes part of your multi-room network.
This means you can add more speakers behind the sofa to create a full 5.1 surround sound system.
Check out our range of soundbars
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