You probably already shelled out good money for a nice big TV and maybe a streaming gadget to play your Netflix. But it doesn’t matter how large your screen is or how much it cost—the speakers in your TV probably sound awful.
You’d be surprised by how much more you enjoy those shows with a halfway decent soundbar or surround system hooked up to your primo panel. Explosions pop, dialog sounds far crisper, and you may even notice sonic details in your favorite films that you’ve never picked up on before.
Updated September 2021: We’ve added the Samsung HW-Q950A, Nakamichi Shockwafe, and LG SP9YA. We’ve also updated links and prices.
Why You Need a Soundbar
We have yet to test a new TV that didn’t sound crummy without some kind of audio accessory added. That’s mostly due to the way televisions are designed. Great-sounding speakers are bulky, and as TVs have gotten thinner, with shrinking bezels and sleeker designs, manufacturers are having a harder time building good speakers into them.
If you can afford to spend $150 on a new soundbar with a subwoofer, it’s essential to getting the most out of your viewing experience. To help, we put together this list of the best soundbars we’ve tested, including soundbars sold on their own as well as models that come bundled with a subwoofer. We’ve also compiled some advice on how to make the most of your purchase.
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