A black soundbar in front of a TV on a wooden TV console.
You may have heard of soundbars, or may you have seen one sitting in front of a TV.
If you do not know what soundbars are, you are in the right place to learn.
Today, we will discuss what a soundbar is, how it enhances your TV experience, how it is different from a surround-sound system, and some key features to consider when buying a soundbar.
Everything You Need to Know About Soundbars
Here are all the things you need to know about soundbars.
What Is a Soundbar?
You may have already guessed that a soundbar is a sort of speaker. More specifically, it is an oblong-shaped, slim device that houses multiple speakers inside it. They are placed ideally in front of your TV on your TV stand or mounted on the wall underneath your TV.
They are meant to enhance your TV viewing experience by providing superior sound quality from stereo speakers and greater volume than the typical speakers in TVs.
Soundbars have front-firing stereo speakers. However, they may also house a combination of upward-firing speakers along with forward-facing ones. They mostly only need a single wire to connect to your TV's audio output, making things neat and convenient in terms of wire management.
How Soundbars Enhance Your TV Experience
If you have been an adult for the last 20 years, you may have noticed that your older TVs would sound perfectly loud with the volume at 30 or 40. In contrast, your newer TVs often need you to crank up the volume to 60 or above.
Don't worry! Your hearing isn't going bad. TV speakers are shrinking. Modern LED, OLED, and various such technologies have improved over the years, making TVs slimmer and slimmer. This has been great; however, it also means there is less space to house powerful built-in speakers.
This is where soundbars can be a great upgrade for your TV. They offer superior audio that is channelled from the left and right speakers of the soundbar, creating louder, high-quality stereo sound.
Some soundbars come with built-in or external subwoofers to deliver the low-frequency sounds that typical speakers cannot deliver effectively. They provide added bass that further enhances your TV experience.
They are often considered an excellent alternative to more expensive home theatre or surround sound systems.
Difference Between Soundbars and Surround-Sound Systems
Surround-sound systems typically have separate speakers housed individually and spread around the room in specific positions to provide superior quality audio. They produce stereo audio that feels like it is coming from all sides of the viewer, hence the name "surround-sound".
Sounds can be manipulated to fire from the front, back, or sides to offer a more immersive TV viewing experience. This is known as "true" surround sound. Soundbars, on the other hand, do not offer this level of immersive experience.
They do, however, provide high-quality sound that often feels like it is coming from the front and back of the viewer. This can be considered as surround sound, but it isn't true surround sound because it is not a fully immersive experience.
One key element of soundbars that make them better than surround-sound systems is wire management. Surround sound systems typically need wires to run from each speaker to an amplifier or your TV, whereas soundbars run a single wire, and their placement makes it simple to connect it to a TV.
Features to Consider When Buying a Soundbar
If you are in the market for a soundbar to enhance your TV experience, you may want to consider a few features.
•Wireless or Built-In Subwoofer
If you are investing in a soundbar, it must have a subwoofer for the most bang for your buck, literally. If it is built into the soundbar, you do not need to worry about wire management. However, if it is an external soundbar, you may want to opt for a wireless one to avoid an extra wire running from the subwoofer.
Wire management can often be hectic, especially if your TV has limited outlets and you have many devices to connect like your TV box, Blu-ray player, gaming console, and whatnot. This is where having a 4K passthrough feature on your soundbar can be very useful.
It allows you to connect your soundbar to the TV using its HDMI outlet and your gaming console or other entertainment devices to your soundbar. The 4K passthrough allows the content to "pass-through" the soundbar and into the TV in up to 4K resolution.
This helps wire management with easy connection points and also offers a replacement outlet for your TV's HDMI because your soundbar connects without wasting an outlet for other devices.
•Dolby Atmos Technology
Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology that allows speakers to interpret audio signals as three-dimensional. This is done using upward-firing speakers that offer multi-directional sounds. It gives your audio that immersive surround sound feel.
While it may not be "true" surround-sound, this "virtual" surround-sound technology makes a huge difference and you will enjoy it immensely, especially since it follows the action on your TV screen.
If you are a music lover, you may want to opt for a soundbar with Bluetooth connectivity. It allows you to turn your soundbar into a high-quality Bluetooth speaker that you can connect to your phone, tablet, or laptop whenever you want to put on some music.
•Smart Voice-Controls and Assistants
Modern soundbars are also capable of voice controls, which is quite convenient. However, some even double as smart speakers, powered by built-in virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. These technologies turn your soundbar into an incredibly powerful smart device.
Suddenly, your soundbar can answer all your queries, take notes, plan schedules, set reminders, control your thermostat, start your morning brew, and much more. The possibilities are endless.
As you may have already gathered, soundbars are an excellent addition to your TV setup. Whether you are a casual viewer, movie buff, music lover, or an avid gamer, a soundbar with the right features can immensely enhance your TV experience.
We highly recommend investing in a high-quality soundbar if you want surround-sound quality audio, without breaking the bank with a true surround-sound or home theatre system. You can even opt for one with a built-in smart assistant and improve your overall quality of life.
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