Why Your Flat Screen TV Needs a Soundbar


If you are buying a new TV, a separate soundbar or surround sound system is virtually a necessity. If you haven’t purchased a TV in a while, you may be saying to yourself “That doesn’t make sense. My old TV sounds fine.” Well, your old TV isn’t wafer-thin like most of today’s TVs and it has something below it or on the sides of it, around the screen, whereas today’s TVs screens have small or no bezels. The picture goes right to the edge. What does that mean for speakers? They have to be super-thin and they have to fire out the back, right into the wall that your TV is probably hanging on. Starting to get the picture here? (pun intended)

To make matters worse, audio is recorded in 5 separate channels of information. Most TVs have just two speakers in them. That means you’re combining channels through the same speakers, which makes things like understanding dialog very difficult.

So, you’re correct. Your old TV may sound just fine. Your new one won’t… by itself. What’s the answer? A separate sound system. In the past, that meant setting up 5 or more speakers around the room, running lots of wires, and a complicated receiver. For the best sound, we can still set you up with this type of system, and they have gotten better and less complicated, like our Bose Lifestyle systems here and here. However, most customers today opt for soundbars.

A soundbar is a single “box” that typically is mounted below the TV or sits in or on a stand in front of the TV. They come in varying sizes and depths, but most of them, especially our more popular soundbars, are very slim and attractive. They also typically come with a wireless subwoofer that can be hidden anywhere in the room to produce the deep bass that you just can’t get out of a small soundbar. There are several or many speakers within the soundbar, and depending on the specific model, can be designed to fire in many different directions.

Our best soundbars, like the Bose Soundbar 700 and Definitive Technology Studio Advance, both recreate a 5 channel audio experience, projecting sound around the room so that you can even hear sounds coming from behind you as if there were speakers there. Our more budget-friendly soundbars, like the Bose Soundbar 500, Samsung Q70 soundbar, and Definitive Technology Studio slim, produce 3 channels. These will still give you great sound and dialog clarity, but the sound will all come from the front. You won’t hear sounds coming from behind you.

As a final note, you should also beware of some of the cheaper products on the market. They will make your TV louder, but not clearer. A good soundbar isn’t just for movies and the big game, it’s for everything. If you’re in the market for a new TV and haven’t considered a soundbar, or you have a TV and have trouble hearing it, stop in to any of our 12 convenient Baltimore and Washington area locations for a demonstration.

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