Building a better sound bar: TV manufacturers take on speaker builders asks:Who makes better sound bars: TV manufacturers or speaker builders?

You’ve heard folks crow to the heavens about the awesome contrast and incredible response time of their new HDTV. When was the last time you heard a compliment about a television’s audio quality?

It’s no secret that television research today is heavily focused on picture quality and screen size, with audio being left by the wayside. With screens today measuring just a few millimeters thick, it’s arguable that built-in speakers are getting worse, not better. There’s just no room for quality speakers in a modern flat panel television.

Solutions are available, thankfully. The best way to get high-fidelity audio in your living room is to install a receiver and a 5.1 (or higher) surround-sound speaker configuration. But that’s expensive, complicated, and involves a complex tangle of wiring that will mar the aesthetic you’ve carefully nurtured.

Option number two, increasingly popular in recent years, has been to add a sound bar to the mix. By typically connecting a single wire to your entertainment system, you’ll dramatically upgrade your home theater’s audio quality. No, it’s not as good as a phalanx of speakers, but it’s a huge improvement over the TV by itself. And it’s far less expensive than an AV receiver, too.


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