It is an all-in-one speaker system that delivers high-quality TV sound without the space, complexity, and expense of installing a soundbar, a home theater receiver, and a surround sound speaker. A soundbar's tall, thin cabinet contains two or more speakers and can provide stereo or surround sound. Some soundbars come with a separate subwoofer to produce deep bass that adds a more intense experience and realistic effect to soundtracks and effects.
Almost all soundbars you'll come across are self-powered or active - meaning they have their own built-in amplifiers. But there is also a fading type of soundbar designed to connect to and draw power from a receiver. These non-powered or passive soundbars lack another key advantage of the active models: easy setup and operation. Since 99.9% of users are looking for active soundbars, this article covers self-powered soundbars only.
While shopping, you will come across soundbars from most TV manufacturers as well as from almost every sound company. A soundbar designed by the company that manufactured your TV may be a perfect match cosmetically or may offer other compatibility benefits. But for pure sound quality, you'll probably get better audio performance with a model from a company whose primary focus is audio equipment.
Pro tip: Soundbars come in all different shapes and sizes. Some can be mounted directly on the wall, while others are designed to be placed under your TV or directly above your TV unit. One of the tricks to choosing the best soundbar for your needs involves determining the dimensions of the space where you'll be using your soundbar. There's nothing worse than unpacking a great soundbar and finding it doesn't fit on your TV or stand. Our recommendation? Measure the length, width, and depth of your flat-panel TV and be sure to evaluate these before purchasing a soundbar. Use this information to guide your choice.