Does Your TV Sound Bad? You're not the only one...
Watching a dialogue heavy show through a poor speaker can make the whole thing unbearable. Televisions of yesteryear were giant boxes, capable of encasing a reasonably sized speaker. Enter the flat panel TV and all of a sudden we have tiny, full range speakers, squeezed into a thin chassis and usually firing down or out of the back of the TV.
Some manufacturers have put a bit more effort into their higher end sets - offering built in soundbars or acoustically driven screens - but what about the poor sounding TVs the majority of us have? You have options - and here they are in order of awesomeness:
1) Add a soundbar speaker. Soundbar speakers are self amplified speakers that sit either in front of the TV or are mounted above or below on the wall. Decent models start under $300 while high end models can get close to $3,000. Most soundbars get wired directly to the TVs optical (toslink/SPDIF) output though there are a few models that connect via HDMI.
Our current favourite soundbars:
- Sonos Playbar MSRP $899
- Yamaha BAR400 w/Sub MSRP $899
- Sonos Beam MSRP $499
2) Connect to a stereo system. If your stereo system has an optical audio input available chances are you can connect your TV just like a soundbar though some older TVs are not capable. If you stereo system only has an analog input then you'll most likely need a digital to analog converter ($60+) to convert the TV optical output to an analog RCA signal.
3) Get a surround sound system. There's still nothing better than a surround sound set up when it comes to faithfully reproducing movie and television show soundtracks. Most of the material you are watching is already encoded for surround and can dramatically improve your experience. In this kind of setup your playback sources connect to a surround receiver via HDMI and then a single HDMI cable is run to the TV/Projector. Speakers then hardwire to the receiver with speaker wire.