Soundbars to Turn Your TV into a True Home Theater

The absolute simplest way to get quality sound from your television.

Laughing young couple watching movie in at home theater.
Enjoy your favorite movies with a fuller, richer sound.Ketut Subiyanto, Pexels

It’s hard for manufacturers to squeeze high-quality speakers into today’s ultra-thin flat-screen TVs. That means to get the rich, full sound we crave on movie night, you’ll need to have some other stereo setup. Soundbars are the simplest, plug-and-play method out there to get great sound.

Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System with Universal Remote Control, Black
This speaker setup includes Bluetooth, so you can use it as a stereo for music, too.Bose

Soundbars essentially cram multiple small speakers into one bar; they’re sort of a stereo-system-in-a-box, if that box was actually a bar. They’re a great fit for TVs, because they’re low-profile, take up little room and there’s no need for wires that splay about all over your living room.

Yamaha YAS-109 Sound Bar with Built-In Subwoofers, Bluetooth, and Alexa Voice Control Built-In
Thanks to the smart integration in this item, you can ask it to play music or podcasts right from your favorite streaming services.Yamaha Audio

Typical soundbars come in two forms. One is simply the bar by itself, nothing else. The other form is a soundbar plus a subwoofer. Subwoofers are, usually, black boxes that provide extra bass; speakers, unlike many gadgets, actually have to take up physical space in order for their diaphragms to vibrate. To get great bass performance, you need a larger space than can fit in a soundbar, so some soundbar systems will include a subwoofer. Though this box can go anywhere, the best place is on the floor near where you usually sit. You won’t see it, but you’ll hear it.

Roku Smart Soundbar with built-in 4K Streaming Media Player
A media box is built right into the product. No need for an extra one to stream Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu or Spotify.Roku

Soundbars will come with their own remote control. That generally works fine, as long as you don’t mind a separate controller to turn on your speaker or change its volume. There are some other solutions, though. Some soundbars will be compatible with something called HDMI ARC. If you buy an HDMI cable that’s specifically designed to work with HDMI ARC, and your soundbar supports it, you can use that cable to connect your soundbar and your TV—and you’ll be able to control your soundbar with your regular TV remote.

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