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Soundbar vs. Home Theater System, Which Is Right For You?

If you are like most Americans, you have a big flat-screen television in your home. You might think that with all the bells and whistles that come with these bad boys, that you would get top-quality sound to go with the high-def picture and price tag. Unfortunately, the built-in speakers that come with your TV just don’t cut it when it comes to sound quality. Even if your television’s sound quality is decent, you won’t get the experience you get with a soundbar or home theater system.

If you are trying to decide which is better for you, a soundbar or a home theater system, we are here to help. Which is right for you depends on your budget, your space, and what kind of sound you want. We are going to go over the difference between a soundbar vs a home theater system to help you decide which is right for you.

SOUNDBAR OVERVIEW

Although it looks like a single speaker, a soundbar is a multi-speaker unit that houses several speakers integrated into one rectangular-shaped box (or bar). Because of its size, it can be placed on a shelf below or above your television or mounted to your wall. On first thought, a home theater system probably sounds like the best way to go, but there are some advantages to using a soundbar.

Back in the day, if you wanted to connect a sound system to your television, you had to use wires and large speakers. With a soundbar, you can connect to any of your Bluetooth devices and stream music or television, without the need for extra cables or wires. They are easy to set up even if you’re not tech-savvy.

Soundbars are affordable and convenient for small spaces. If you don’t have a large space to work with, a soundbar can provide you with better quality sound than you’d get from your television speakers. Although they don’t give you all-around sound like a home theater system, they can mimic a surround system to give you a digitally created surround-sound effect.

HOME THEATER SYSTEM OVERVIEW

If you are looking for the best quality surround sound system, a home theater system may be best for you. A home theater system gives you immersive all-around sound. It creates a theater-like experience, with sound coming from all around the room. A soundbar can replicate surround sound, but you won’t actually be surrounded by sound.

You can customize your home theater system by selecting the speakers you want and placing them in different areas. If you have a theater or media room, watching movies can be just like being in a real movie theater. A soundbar is just one speaker unit that is placed near your television. With a home theater system, you can decide where to place your speakers to provide the best acoustics.

There are a few drawbacks to a home theater system. They are more expensive than a soundbar. They require more space for speakers and may be difficult to set up. You can opt for a smaller home theater system and add speakers to your home theater to build out your system as you go. But, sometimes integrating new speakers with your sound system can be complicated. Some products are not compatible with each other. Before you go out and purchase a bunch of components, you should talk with a professional to make sure they will work together.

HOW TO DECIDE WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Before you make your decision, think about what you want in a sound system. A soundbar may be a good option if your budget is limited, but if you really want a theater experience, starting with a few speakers for a home theater system might be better. If you purchase a soundbar and later want to have a better system, you may not be able to integrate your soundbar with the rest of your sound system. Soundbars are intended to be used as standalone speakers. Before you purchase either, consult a professional to see if your soundbar will work with a home theater system later.

SOUNDBAR PROS AND CONS

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Perfect for small spaces

  • Easy setup

  • Wireless (or minimum cords and wires)

Cons

  • May not include a subwoofer

  • Sound will only come from one area of the room

HOME THEATER SYSTEM PROS AND CONS

Pros

  • Customizable

  • Scalable

  • Exceptional immersive surround sound

  • More options in speakers and components

Cons

  • More expensive

  • May require professional installation

  • Takes up more space

  • May not be available in wireless options

If you are still trying to decide which is right for you, give Intuitive AV a call and talk to one of our professional home theater specialists. We can help take some of the confusion out of which products are best for your space.