In the race to create ever slimmer HDTVs, there’s a seldom discussed sacrifice being made: sound quality. Your TV’s built-in speakers are probably terrible, but if you want to fix their anemic sound, adding a sound bar is an easy, inexpensive, and space-saving way to do so.
Most TVs have speakers hidden in the back that have a tendency to project sound towards the wall behind the television set instead of out towards the viewer. Not only does this lower the overall quality of the viewing experience, muddy up the sound by bouncing it off the ceilings and walls around the set, and force you to turn the volume up higher, but it makes for particularly poor reproduction of speech (which tends to be softer than the other sounds in TV shows and movies).
If you want a true home theater experience, a high-end receiver and surround sound speakers have no equal. But a setup like that can get expensive, complex, and take up a decent amount of space in your living room. You don’t have to go to such expense and hassle. A sound bar is a great alternative: It’s basically a simple, all-in-one booster speaker with a built-in amplifier so you don’t need a receiver. It’s far easier to install, and can do wonders for your TV’s sound quality compared to the built in speakers. No wire running, drilling, fussing, speaker calibrating, or amateur AV specialist adventures required.
Sound like the solution for you? Here’s what you’ll need to consider when buying a sound bar for your TV.
First and foremost, you need to take a look at your TV setup and take some notes. How big is your TV? What kind of inputs and outputs does it have on back? Is it sitting on a stand of some sort, or is it wall mounted? If it is sitting on a stand, does the TV itself have a central stand or legs located on the opposite edges? Is there room behind the TV stand or somewhere in the room for a subwoofer? The answers to all these questions will have a strong effect on guiding your selection process. Consider your answers to these questions as we work through the next sections.
Sound bars actually come in two different form factors: sound bars (which you’ve likely seen plenty of) and sound pedestals (which you’ve likely seen very few of). Sound bars are long and skinny, typically roughly the size of a piece of 4×4 lumber and in a variety of lengths from narrow (for smaller ~32″ sets) to wider (for larger 60″+ sets)—although it isn’t strictly necessary to match the width of the TV to the sound bar, nor does size automatically equal quality.Read More...
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