adding a sound bar to your living room TV

Adding a soundbar improves your TV’s audio for everything you watch and listen to, and after having one for a while I can’t believe we waited so long to pick one up. If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading your TV’s audio, here are 5 reasons why you should think about adding a soundbar to your TV.

What is a soundbar?

inside a sound bar

A soundbar is a long all-in-one speaker that connects to your TV via an HDMI cable. Instead of placing several speakers around your room, a soundbar has one or several speakers that are all internal and built into the bar itself.

So, for example, if you’re interested in a 3.1 channel soundbar, that soundbar will have three speakers and one subwoofer. The subwoofer is usually a separate component that connects to the soundbar via wires or wirelessly. You can take a look at the home theatre system buying guide for more information on channels and the different choices you’ll have.

What’s great about a soundbar is how it can produce multi-directional sound for your TV. Within the bar, there is a left speaker, right speaker, and a center speaker. The center speaker produces dialogue, so you can listen to every word of your favourite movie or song and it will be crisp and clear. The side speakers are responsible for making it feel as though you’re surrounded by audio. If you have a separate subwoofer you’ll also be treated to deep bass and the kind of booming sound effects you usually only hear in theatres.

5 reasons why you should think about adding a soundbar

I’ve owned quite a few different TVs over the past ten years, and as technology has changed I always upgraded to a new model. I swapped out my 1080p for a 4K and moved on not long after to QLED, always considering picture quality first and foremost. It’s amazing to have a TV with the colour, clarity, and detail you can find on a QLED, but I was still missing one thing – a soundbar. There are a lot of reasons you should consider adding a soundbar, but I’ve narrowed down the top 5.

1. Thinner TVs mean smaller internal speakers

adding a sound bar

Older TVs were huge and boxy, taking up an entire corner of your room. The style left something to be desired, but one of the best parts of those TVs is how there was more than enough room for a set of large internal speakers.

The latest TVs have a flat-screen, low-profile look. You can hang them on the wall and they blend as easily as a large framed photo. The only downside? The thinner the bezel of the TV, the less space for those all-important speakers. On some models, the speakers are also located at the back of the TV or at the bottom. While the latest TVs have technology that boosts the sound as much as possible, the location paired with the size can mean your TV is much quieter than we’d all like it to be.

With a soundbar, you’ll be able to easily amplify the sound quality of your TV. Because soundbars have multi-directional speakers, you’ll feel as though you’re surrounded by whatever you’re watching.

2. It takes 10 minutes or less to set up a soundbar

If you’ve never had a home theatre receiver and you don’t want to go through the process of setting up surround sound speakers, a soundbar is a perfect choice. Not only do you get to upgrade your sound quality, but it’s also a very easy setup process too.

I recently installed a soundbar and it took less than 10 minutes. In my case, all I needed to do is plug the soundbar into power, connect the HDMI cable from the soundbar to the TV, and tap a button to sync the subwoofer.

Once everything was connected I went into my TV settings and tapped to switch the audio from the internal speakers to the soundbar. That’s it. I spent a bit more time setting up the built-in Wi-Fi, but my sound bar was ready to use without it.

3.  Outstanding sound quality for movies and music

DTS X sound bar

If you’re like me, you don’t have a huge space for your main TV. The idea of adding a receiver and speakers to improve the audio of my TV seemed like a bit much in a small room, but that’s not the case with a soundbar. It sits on the mantle and is so sleek and thin it’s barely noticeable.

A soundbar will instantly add depth and quality to your TV’s sound, and the addition of a subwoofer placed behind you or beside the TV really boosts whatever you’re watching. When we first set up our soundbar we watched an action movie, and I couldn’t understand why the room was suddenly full of machine gun sounds. I’d watched the same movie a few times and I’d never even heard them before. It was the same for dialogue. It was so clear I didn’t have to ask, “Why did he say?” if someone else was talking in the room. A little bit of volume goes a long way when you have a soundbar.

That sound quality translates to playing your music too. If you choose a soundbar with built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth streaming, you’re going to love streaming your playlists to it. I have Spotify on my Smart TV so I stream podcasts, playlists, and even eBooks via another app. It’s a seamless experience, and the sound quality is phenomenal.

4. Sound bars are great for gaming

The latest TVs have gamer features for the best possible experience with your new gaming console. HDR, low lag times, and the ability to run 4K games at 120Hz – gaming TVs have such an impressive picture quality, and you want your game’s sound to match up.

If you have one or more gamers at home, they are going to absolutely love you when you add a soundbar. You won’t just listen to the game, you’ll be immersed in it. Some soundbars have modes specifically for gaming, so you can switch the settings to match the game. Just a warning though – you’ll have a hard time getting the remote control back once they discover how amazing the sound quality is on your TV.

5. You can enjoy Dolby Atmos content

dolby Sound bar

Sound bars look like a simple speaker, but if you choose a 7 or 9-channel sound bar you can enjoy a surround sound experience with Dolby Atmos content. Dolby Atmos is an audio codec available on the latest streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+.

Dolby Atmos is 3D sound created using object-based technology. That means sound moves around your room and all around you, from the ceiling to the floor, for a more immersive experience. Some Dolby Atmos sound bars include additional speakers that pair to the sound bar, so you can place them on your wall or ceiling for a full surround sound experience.

5 reasons to add a sound bar

Adding a soundbar to my new TV was one of the smartest choices I’ve made. My only regret is that I didn’t add one sooner. You can find your own soundbar on Best Buy right now.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag