Sound bars are surround sound speaker systems in a single cabinet. They are usually wider than they are tall so they fit under a TV. They are normally self powered so they do not need a separate amplifier. Some also have a wireless subwoofer. They are easy to locate, easy to install and provide better sound than the TV’s built in speakers. One manufacturer makes a TV with a surround sound synthesizer built in. One connection to the main unit and everything is there for your listening and viewing enjoyment.
Sound bars are one of the fastest growing markets in the AV world. Why use a sound bar, one might ask? There are a number of reasons. Some people may not wish to have wiring for 5 speakers and the associated equipment in the room. This is usually the case if a person is renting an apartment or condo. A single cable from the TV to the sound bar and a power connection is all that is needed.
Another application is in a secondary location, such as a bedroom. As TV’s become thinner, their internal speakers tend to get smaller. They also usually point to the rear of the TV. The TV needs to be turned up louder to hear the program. With a sound bar, the speakers are of a higher quality than the internal TV speakers, and they are pointed at the listener. This means the sound is clearer. It also means the TV volume can be minimized, so others are not disturbed by the sound.
Some sound bars also digitally synthesize surround sound. This is an option for a primary viewing location where a more complex system is not wanted. Again, all that is needed is a single cable from the TV to the sound bar and a power connection.
There are some very sub par quality sound bars on the market today. Good ones start in price at around $500. The digital synthesizing ones are around $1500-2500. When compared to a full surround system, including labor for wiring, they are really a decent value with comparable performance.
Ask your favorite custom integrator for recommendations. AV Excellence has several available for demonstration.