Time was that if you wanted to good surround sound for your home theater, you set up a ton of speakers (five or seven, typically, plus a subwoofer), ran miles of wire and hid your dirty audio deeds with cable wraps and moulding. Wireless rear speakers helped, but some people just don’t want a lot of speakers around.
Soundbars, which typically do the work of a speaker array and receiver in a single device, used to be a compromise; they were better than your TV’s built in audio, but nowhere near as good as 5.1-speaker sets. But they’ve improved dramatically and you can get a lot of good sound, connectivity options, and a cleaner look with a soundbar for as little at $150-$300.
Yamaha’s new YAS-108, for instance, includes Bluetooth, a built-in subwoofer (many soundbars typically include a boxy, separate subwoofer as part of the package) and tech to make dialogue on TV shows and movies easier to hear for $200.
It’s one way to reduce cabling clutter and for most people, particularly apartment dwellers, it’s one way to improve TV sound without overdoing home-theater audio.
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