TV with a soundbar

Do You Need a Soundbar With Your TV? (Pros & Cons)

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A decade ago I used to research a lot and go through thousands of reviews before buying a TV. However, TVs have become progressively better over the years. Now I can buy a 60 inch 4K TV for a few hundred dollars and it would look great or at least satisfactory. However, TV speakers have become progressively worse over the years. 

If you own a modern flatscreen TV you’ll always need external speakers for a decent audio experience. Adding a soundbar is one of the most convenient and affordable ways to add external speakers. 

Let’s dive deeper into the topic to figure out why you need a soundbar for your TV.

What is a soundbar?

A soundbar is a sleek, convenient and affordable solution for adding external speakers to your TV. They have a few tweeters, subwoofers and everything is built into a single piece of hardware.  

A soundbar is a longitudinal piece of hardware that’s compact, slim, and fits seamlessly into your entertainment system. They usually have only one or two cords for connecting to a power outlet and to your TV. They can also connect to your TV via Bluetooth or WiFi. This eliminates the problem of messy cords and gives you a clean and modern setup that makes for a decent audiovisual experience. 

With multiple drivers and even integrated upward-firing speakers, soundbars can also do surround sound. You aren’t stuck with a mono-channel or stereo setup where all the sound is coming from one or two directions and the experience isn’t immersive enough. With several speakers built along the length of the soundbar, you get a very capable speaker system that meets most of your needs. 

Soundbars vs Speakers

Now you might be thinking, “Hey, what about bookshelf speakers and home-theater systems?”. A home theater system and bookshelf speakers with a receiver make for a rich audio experience and draw you into the movie or TV. they have better clarity, soundstage, and imaging. I have this kind of setup at home. However, this sort of setup demands a lot of commitment, primarily three:

  • Expensive – First of all, bookshelf speakers and home theater systems are very expensive. For a decent system, you’ll need to spend at least four figures. Moreover, you also need to deal with a lot of cords.
  • Cords Everywhere – Anyone who isn’t familiar with a receiver would be scared out of their wits when they come across one for the first time. There are all sorts of ports and cables that go into them. I had to spend hours talking to a few people and watching numerous Youtube videos before I was able to make my system work. Then I spent a few more hours managing all the cables to make my setup look pretty.
  • Positioning – Positioning is also a big factor when it comes to such comprehensive systems. You need to figure out the best positions for the different channels and remove reflective obstructions to get the most out of your expensive system. 

All of that effort did pay off when I watched a movie. However, when it was time to add speakers to my bedroom I opted for the soundbar. It’s easy to find a place to put the soundbar and delivers a decent experience for the price. Moreover, since most soundbars come with Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity you can easily use your phone to stream songs via Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and more.

Surround Sound with a Soundbar 

Surround sound has evolved over the years. From Dolby Digital to Atmos and DTS:X where sound is mixed in virtual 3D space and addressed as objects instead of being mixed in channels. Most new movie blockbusters and TV shows are made with this technology. A soundbar can give you a decent surround sound experience while being affordable. 

Dolby Atmos

Dolby decided to shake things up with Dolby Atmos. They added layers to traditional sound and made it more modular where sound could be more easily manipulated to correctly match the visuals. One of the highlights of Dolby Atmos is that the sound doesn’t just come from around you, but above you as well. That means you’ll be able to hear the sound of a helicopter as it moves from the front, over your head, to the back. 

To get the Atmos experience out of a traditional home theater system, you’ll need ceiling speakers or dedicated upward-firing speakers. Apart from tricky wiring through the walls, you’ll need to spend thousands of dollars for this sort of setup. On the other hand, you can easily get the Dolby Atmos experience by spending a fraction of that amount on a soundbar and without dealing with clumsy wires.  

Samsung soundbar with Dolby Atmos
Samsung soundbar with Dolby Atmos

DTS:X also has a similar object-based surround sound technology. However, that doesn’t require upward-firing speakers and in some ways is inferior to Atmos. That’s why most brands that equip their soundbar with Atmos also equip it with DTS:X. 

Buying a Soundbar

When you buy a soundbar make sure it is equipped with Dolby Atmos, has Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, and has at least three channels for left, right, and center. While they may not be great for large rooms, they are more than capable enough to fill up moderately sized living rooms. Let’s check out a few pros and cons of getting a soundbar for your TV: 


  • Affordable and Budget-friendly
  • Easy and hassle-free installation
  • Don’t need receivers or too many clumsy wires
  • They can be used for playing songs wirelessly via streaming services
  • They sound phenomenally better than TV speakers
  • Their sleek design helps you achieve a clean and modern look 


  • Not great in big rooms
  • Not as powerful and clear as a home-theater system
  • Prone to wireless interference when not connected to the source via cable


Literally, anything is better than your TV speakers. I’ll even prefer to connect a cheap Bluetooth speaker from a random brand than listen to the TV speakers. However, a soundbar is the best option out of the bunch since it’s easy, looks good, sounds great, and won’t burn a hole through the bank account.

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