We’re living in a time where home entertainment has become a major part of our lives. With the rise in high production quality content, there is an understandable increase in the demand for products that help us experience that to the fullest.
If high-resolution TVs with big panels and HDR capabilities was the first step, then jumping to better audio is the next. While TVs do have inbuilt speakers, they are just of acceptable quality and output. They usually fall flat in areas such as sound stage, quality and immersion.
Hence, every high-end TV should be paired with a capable soundbar to complete the viewing experience, which you might not even know that you’re missing. Taking things such as sound quality, design, dimensions and price, we’ve compiled a lit of the best soundbars for your television, be it for watching movies or streaming music.
How do you pick the best soundbar?
Soundbars come in many shapes and sizes, and range in price from under Rs 5,000 to over Rs 50,000. While, cheaper models have basic connections, more expensive ones add superior HDMI inputs (including 4K/HDR passthrough), wireless audio streaming (e.g. Bluetooth and AirPlay), better power, more refined speaker drivers and decoding of Blu-ray sound formats.
Design is also important. While some models can sit in front of your TV on a stand, others may need a separate shelf, or may need to be mounted on the wall.
For the 2020 edition, we’ve also tried to include soundbars and speakers which are Dolby enabled. Following are the best soundbars one can buy in India, in 2020.
Xiaomi Mi Soundbar
Drivers: 8 | Confirguration: 2.0 channel | Bluetooth playback: Yes, BT 4.2 LE | Connections: Optical, S/PDIF, line-in, aux
No subwoofer for bass
Xiaomi’s foray as a tech-lifestyle brand has produced one of the best budget soundbars available, and is an easy recommendation for those still contemplating the need for a soundbar for their TV.
The Mi Soundbar is a rather likeable product owing to its use of easy and setup, minimalist design and loads of connectivity options. The ability to stream music and content over Bluetooth is a big addition. On the technical side, it sports eight drivers divided between two tweeters, two woofers and four passive radiators.
Sony HT-S20R 5.1
Surround sound or portable Bluetooth – the choice is yours
Output: 400W | Confirguration: 5.1 channel | Bluetooth playback: Yes, BT 5.0 | Connections: Optical, aux, USB, HDMI ARC
5.1 channel surround sound
High power output
The Sont HT-S20R is an affordable pair for true stereo speakers, consisting of a primary soundbar, followed by a pair of speakers and a subwoofer. They combine for 400W of output.
Music streamers will like the ability to stream audio over Bluetooth as well as over USB. Dolby Digital also makes an appearance for better surround sound experience. Multiple audio modes are also available to tune the audio for movies or songs.
Drivers: 6 | Confirguration: 5.1 | Output: 200W | Bluetooth playback: Yes, Bluetooth 4.1 | Connections: Optical, HDMI, aux
The Yamaha YAS-207 soundbar is a great value, packing in solid sound quality for the price. DTS Virtual:X is a nice addition at this price point but its performance is underwhelming with an artificial sounding soundstage. Niceties like Google Cast and AirPlay, available on the YAS-207’s competitors, are noticeably missing here.
For the money, the Yamaha YAS-207 is an excellent choice for users looking to upgrade their movie and TV watching experience on the cheap. The YAS-207 offers balanced sound, simple setup and DTS virtual surround processing which, while not for us, others may enjoy.
Philips Performance TAPB603
Drivers: 4 | Confirguration: 3.1 channel | Output: 320W | Bluetooth playback: Yes | Connections: Optical, HDMI x2, USB, aux
The Philips Performance TAPB603 is a small unassuming home theatre set which brings great sound separation and stereo along with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital. It also sports a pretty comprehensive I/O including two HDMI passthrough ports.
Confirguration: 3.1 channel | Output: 400W | Bluetooth playback: Yes, BT 4.2 | Connections: Optical, aux, USB, Ethernet
Supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
Up-mixes regular surround sound
Disappointing overhead sound
Although priced a good deal lower than Dolby Atmos bars with integrated up-firing speakers, clever post-processing creates an almost comparable listening experience. The HT-Z9F can slam with the best of them yet always manages to keep dialogue intelligible. It even does a nice job height-scaling music. The HT-Z9F should be a folly, but it’s actually pretty fab making it well worth an audition.
The compact Sony HT-ZF9 is the Penn and Teller of Dolby Atmos soundbars. It’s ability to create an expanded soundstage from just three drivers and a subwoofer is sonic magic.
Any suggestions for our list? Let us know in the comments below!