A perfect viewing experience cannot be completed without a similarly high-end sound output. While smart TVs offer a lot of things with a satisfactory output, audio quality is not one of them. There are many reasons behind a TV’s built-in speaker not being as good as other options like soundbar and home theatres. Because of the compact form factor and the limited capacity of the built-in speakers, they are only good enough for casual use.
Today, we will take a look at the most popular sound setups available for TVs which are soundbar and home theatres. Before we compare these two options, let’s try to understand these options in detail.
What Is A Soundbar?
A soundbar is a relatively simple audio device and it is specifically designed for TVs. As the name suggests, the soundbars are long bars that contain multiple speakers in an array that generates the sound. It is the most compact solution designed while considering the living rooms and space available around TVs.
To avoid that, the soundbar is designed in such a way that it can be installed on a wall either above or below the TV. Even if you put the soundbar in front of the TV, it will not be causing you any trouble whatsoever. Even though soundbars are offered as a single unit, they include multiple drivers on the inside that creates a soothing surround output.
What Are Home Theater Speakers?
The home theatre units deliver nothing short of an experience where you will feel you are inside the movie you are watching. Along with superior surround sound, home theatre speakers are quite powerful because of the large driver size.
You can also select from a range of home theatre options such as 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1. Once you get started with a home theatre, you can also upgrade your system until you find the perfect sound for your room. Home theatres also utilize high-end sound processing systems like Dolby Vision and DTS Virtual X up to their full potential.
Soundbars vs Home Theatre Speakers
Now that you have understood the basic construction and working of soundbars and home theatres, it must be clear to you why people often get confused between these two options. If you are going through the same confusion and cannot decide which one to get, take a look at the pros and cons of each option provided below.
Advantages and Limitations of Soundbars
It is easy to get fooled by the design of the soundbar as it looks like a singular unit from the outside. But as we mentioned, it consists of an array of sound drivers in its body that helps to create a surround sound effect even with the single mounting unit.
Generally, the TVs acquire a large space in a room, especially when they are 50 inches or more in size. In such a case, you are not left with much space on your centerpiece. On top of that, it is impractical to put anything in front of the TV as it would obstruct the viewing angle by some viewing angle.
Here are some pros and cons of having a soundbar connected to your TV:
- It’s very easy to connect
- Can be connected to any TV via a single cable
- Comparatively compact in size
- Available at an affordable price
- Certainly an upgrade over built-in TV speakers
- Wall mounting can be difficult
- Surround sound experience is somewhat limited
- Smaller soundstage
- Need extra bass unit for heavy bass
Advantages and Limitations of Home Theatre Speakers
Home theatre is a completely different story compared with soundbars and other similar options. Unlike soundbars, home theaters consist of multiple different pieces where each unit delivers a specific part of the sound. If you consider regular left and right desktop monitors, you can imagine how each driver has either left or right sound output.
In the case of home theatres, the total number of drivers is increased so that the sound can be divided into even more parts while each driver plays a particular portion. Due to this design, you can get highly creative with your home theatre setup and place the drivers at specific locations for a true surround sound experience.
- Phenomenal sound quality and levels
- Multiple choices available
- Home theatre system can be upgraded over time
- Creative setup is possible
- Exceptional surround sound
- Primary setup is somewhat difficult
- Takes up a lot of space due to large speakers
- Wiring is tedious
- Wireless options are premium
What To Look For In A Soundbar/Home Theatre?
After going through the major advantages and disadvantages of both, soundbars and home theatre speakers, it should be really easy for you to decide which one is best suited for your room. Although, whether you are buying a soundbar or a home theatre, you should carefully observe the following parameters. These factors heavily affect the performance and compatibility of these audio systems. Thus, if you want to make a smart choice, you should go through the following aspects.
The sensitivity of speakers refers to the power requirement of the audio drivers installed in the unit. The sensitivity is an important factor as it affects both, the possible sound level and the power draw of the speaker altogether. While a unit with larger sensitivity requires comparatively lesser power to operate, low-sensitive speakers are quite heavy on the monthly bills. Also, the speakers that are offered with high sensitivity produce a louder as well as crispier sound output.
The frequency response of the speaker system is yet another factor that gives you an idea about the performance of the speakers beforehand. You can refer to the audible frequency range of human ears which is 20 to 20000 Hz to determine the quality of your speakers. For reference, the lower side of the frequency range refers to the bass output of your unit whereas the highest response level refers to the sharp and high pitch sounds.
The power capacity of speakers allows you to get an idea about their sound levels before you purchase them. The power capacity is generally mentioned in the “watts” term where higher wattage speakers are capable of producing a louder sound. But as the soundbar of home theatres are required for domestic purpose, getting the largest wattage speakers on the market does not make much sense. Instead, you should carefully select the most balanced option according to your budget.
HDMI Inputs and Outputs
As you may already know, HDMI connectivity is right now the best method to connect your soundbar or your home theatre to your TV. As the HDMI cable can carry uncompressed sound signals from the source without any noise, you will be able to experience a non-filtered and high-quality sound from your units. The HDMI connection is not available on all units so make sure yours have one before you buy it.
Support Sound Technologies
Many different sound processing technologies are being implemented in smart TVs right now. To name a few, you will generally come across Dolby Atmos and DTS Virtual X in most of the premium options. If you already own a TV, take a look at which technology is being used for sound processing in your TV. Knowing that you can pick up the best soundbar or home theatre system for your TV.
If you want to get a truly breathtaking experience from your TV, you should consider investing in a decent sound system for your TV. Right now, two options are highly popular for pairing up with TVs that are soundbar and home theatres. While both systems are focused on audio output, the overall sound quality and experience are quite different in both cases. Today, we will take a comprehensive look at both home theatres and soundbars and try to decide which option is perfectly suitable for you.
In our opinion, you should go with a home theatre system rather than investing in a soundbar. As home theatre systems are upgradeable, you can buy a basic high-quality 2.1 home theatre system at the price of a soundbar. It will be a compact system and more susceptible to the audio range as compared to a soundbar. You will be getting a proper surround sound output as well as a dedicated bass unit for the heavy bass output. You will also have the option to upgrade your sound system later on in the future.