Home cinema or sound bar – which is right for me?
Looking forward to the summer of football? You don’t need a ticket to be there – create the big stadium atmosphere at home with a sound bar and wireless speakers…
Modern TVs are increasingly slim with less room for speakers, so there’s a clear case for boosting their sound. Start with a sound bar and then add wireless speakers to build a 5:1 home cinema system.
For football fans, surround sound takes you from the sofa to the stands so you feel as though you’re in the thick of the action. Hear the roar of the crowd and every thwack of the ball.
Start with a sound bar and then add wireless speakers to build a 5:1 home cinema system.
With the football tournament this summer being broadcast in 4K, why not pair your soundbar with a new 4K TV?
What is a sound bar?
The easiest way to give your TV the audio it deserves is by adding a sound bar.
Sound bars are slim, oblong bars that contain several speakers placed side-by-side. They produce much better sound than your TV speakers – delivering stereo across the room for movie night ambiance and big game atmosphere for football and other sports.
Crucially they take up minimal space, and there are no trailing cables cluttering up your room. The clever, compact design can usually be wall-mounted below your TV or placed beside it on a unit or stand.
Want the best possible sound? Look at models with virtual surround sound that bounces sound off the walls to create a surround sound effect. You can also opt for a model with a separate wireless subwoofer to create deep bass sounds.
You can even stream Spotify from your phone or tablet if you go for a soundbar with Bluetooth.
Which sound bar should I try?
Bose, Sonos and Samsung offer some of the best models, with crystal-clear sound quality to bring sport, films and games alive. Here are 3 of our favourites:
1. Bose SoundTouch 300Bose is well respected when it comes to home audio, with decades of innovation behind the brand. This sound bar is an excellent option. Combining wide, detailed sound with chic and compact design – it looks and sounds great.
2. Sonos Playbar
Sonos is known for its multi-room speakers but its Playbar sound bar is excellent – with many 5-star reviews to its name. And it’s easy to set up, connecting through an optical cable to your TV.
3. Samsung All-in-One Sound Bar
Along with its sleek good looks, this Samsung gives you powerful and clear sound from wherever you’re sat in the room. It boasts 9 speakers and a subwoofer for a deep bass sound, and has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The sound bar that’s not a sound bar
If you want a sound bar but have no intention of wall mounting it, you may want to consider the Sonos Playbase.
This reimagines the Playbar as a flat rectangular speaker that sits beneath your TV on its stand or unit. According to Sonos, it securely supports TVs up to 35kg. That’s just about any TV that comes with its own stand.
5:1 home cinema set up
The most common surround sound option is a 5.1 system – that’s 5 speakers plus a subwoofer for improving bass. And you can build 5:1 home cinema around your Bose, Sonos or Samsung sound bar.
How home cinema works:
- Stereo speakers (2): sit to the left and right of your TV for accurate sound effects and action in stereo
- Centre speaker (1): sits between the left and right speakers and is dedicated to dialogue, so you’re not saying ‘eh?’ all the time when people are speaking on the telly
- Rear speakers (2): are positioned behind the sofa at either side for atmospheric, suspenseful sound - perfect for horror movies
- Subwoofer (1): delivers deep bass sounds – and can be placed anywhere
How to turn your sound bar into home cinema
The sound bar acts as the left and right stereo speakers in a 5:1 home cinema set up. To create true surround sound, you need to add rear speakers and a wireless subwoofer.
With Bose you can create a network of connected speakers around your home, controlled through an app on your smartphone. The SoundTouch 300 is compatible with these wireless speakers.
Take the Virtually Invisible speakers. Small (under 10cm tall) but loud, these can be hooked up to your soundbar to create the rear right and left channels in a 5:1 home cinema set up.
For deep, room-shaking bass add the Bose Acoustimass 300. Setting up is super-easy too – they connect wirelessly to your sound bar in a few simple steps using the Bose app.
Sonos is a pioneer of connected audio. Take your Playbar or Playbase and add a pair of small Play:1 speakers and a Sub subwoofer.
Experience every cheer, strike of the ball and crunching tackle in crystal-clear detail as you get your mates round to watch the football.
Although the All-in-One sound bar already has a subwoofer built in, you can get even deeper, richer sounds by adding the Samsung wireless sub to it. It connects via your home Wi-Fi network so you can position it where it sounds best.
The sound bar is also compatible with Samsung’s rear speaker kit. This compact gear packs a powerful punch, giving you brilliant atmospheric surround sound. The wireless receiver plugs into your sound bar and connects easily with a single cable to each of the rear speakers.
Ready to beef up your TV’s speakers? Find the right home cinema solution for you