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Soundbar buying guide

The 5 most important things to consider when buying a soundbar.

Although most TVs come with decent built-in speakers, the whole dynamic changes when you add a soundbar to your setup. From choosing the best sound quality to deciding whether a subwoofer is required, there’s a lot to consider before making your choice.

Audio quality

Soundbars tend to increase in price as power and sound quality gets more impressive. Sound power is measured in watts, so use this to judge how powerful you want your soundbar to be. 100W should be sufficient for an average living room, but some soundbars offer upwards of 200W if you want to be blown away. Also, look out for soundbars that can handle High Resolution Audio. This means a wider range of sounds can be generated, making everything sound sharper and deeper.

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A subwoofer is a speaker, separate from the soundbar, that generates bass tones. These are the noises that make movie explosions feel more realistic and create the deep rumble you’ll experience at the cinema. Some soundbars provide bass without the need for a subwoofer, but others use a separate cabinet which can sometimes be quite big to accommodate the larger speaker inside. This is something to consider if you’re short on space, but the difference in sound quality is instantly noticeable.

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Most soundsbars now connect to your TV completely wirelessly, so you don’t have loads of cables to hide. Just make sure your existing TV has Bluetooth if you’re planning on buying a soundbar that connects wirelessly. An HDMI cable is the next best option if your TV doesn’t support Bluetooth, and they’re simple to connect.

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Smart features

Some soundbars are real show-offs, acting as streaming devices to play movies and TV from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as well as music from Spotify. It’s also possible to control the volume and stream your own music from your phone or tablet over Bluetooth or super-fast NFC, so you might want to consider this is if you plan on using your soundbar for more than those epic actions scenes.

Smart soundbars

Size and shape

Bear the size of your TV in mind when deciding on which soundbar to go for. An epic, 65 inch monster doesn’t want to be let down by a smaller soundbar. If you’ve got a curved TV, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are also curved soundbars available to keep the futuristic look going. Remember to measure the space you have available in front of the TV too, to avoid buying something that is too long.

Curved soundbars