Best soundbars 2014: Boost your TV audio with these one-box solutions
Looking for a soundbar to boost your TV audio and want a single-box solution without the fuss of a receiver and a million different wires? Then you've come to the right place in our soundbar and speaker base round-up.
Over the past weeks we've been bringing you the best options for preparing for the big game, in association with YouView, from choosing your YouView box, to picking the best TV and now we're tuning into audio. Simple, quick, and in many cases offering good value for money, there's plenty of choice when it comes to boosting your TV sounds.
Whatever your budget and goal, we've collated a selection of options to help boost your TV's audio.
Best on a budget
A stereo solution won't provide the "it's behind you" surround sound experience, but if you want bigger audio over a wider frequency range then a soundbar will enhance bass output and deliver a crisper output than your TV can.
Humax STA-1200 BSW
If budget is top of your list then you won't want to be spending the same on your soundbar as you did on your TV. For the sub-£200 market there's the Humax STA-1200 which also boasts being the "world's thinnest" soundbar.
Slim, wide and with audio assured to boost your TV's otherwise tinny output, this is a stereo solution that won't break the bank and should certainly make your shortlist.
Read more: Humax STA-1200 world's thinnest soundbar
Best TV speaker bases
For bass you need space - something flatscreen TVs inherently lack. We don't all have stacks of space available in our homes, so a speaker base, a device that your TV can sit on, is an ideal solution. Speaker bases are designed to be simple - the sort of device that you plug in and can then forget about while enjoying the enhancement. It's very much the flavour of 2014 too, with lots of manufacturers now in on the action.
Denon DHT-T100 review
The DHT-T100 is affordable, designed with simplicity in mind and also doubles as a good quality Bluetooth speaker. We've been using it for both TV audio output and to double as a stereo replacement for listening to tunes in the living room.
The design is attractive and the compact dimensions will appeal to those who like to keep things tidy, but that comes with the caveat that it will be too small for some of the older or bigger TVs out there, and it doesn't have the hugest of bass performance. It's the price point paired with the good all-round performance that makes the Denon DHT-T100 an attractive prospect.
Full article: Denon DHT-T100 review
Orbitsound SB60 Airsound Base review
For its price the SB60 delivers plenty of audio thump thanks to an adjustable equaliser and built-in down-firing sub. Unlike the Denon (above) the Orbitsound lacks Bluetooth, but it's an ideal solution for TV.
There's less bass than from a system with a separate subwoofer would offer, but for the price the Orbitsound is a darn good solution that won't eat into precious floor space.
Full article: Orbitsound SB60 review
Onkyo LS-T10 review
The Onkyo LS-T10 is one of the more premium speaker base solutions out there. It delivers an impressive performance, enhancing sound from your TV, or use the USB and Bluetooth connections as additional benefits for listening to music.
We're less impressed by the supplied remote which appears rather cheap, especially as it's the only option you have for changing the bass level. But once you have the sound setup as you want it, it's smooth sailing.
Full article: Onkyo LS-T10 review
Best for surround sound (no receiver required)
Breaking out of the stereo world, a 5.1 solution steps things up a gear. Here you get all-encompassing audio, including mid and rear channels to make you feel like you're in the action.
Philips Fidelio HTL9100 Soundbar
The Philips HTL9100 acts as a normal stereo soundbar, but has a cool twist: two detachable satellite speaker units that can be used as wireless rear left and right outputs. Pop them anywhere around your living room with the minimal of fuss.
It's hard to say a truly bad word about the Philips Fidelio Soundbar. At a stretch it's the lack of more advanced on-screen adjustments that we would like to see. But that's not a common feature in any product at this level.
Use it for TV, bring your Blu-ray experience into the 5.1 realm for that movie treat, Bluetooth connect to play your music - the Fidelio HTL9100 has a multitude of uses and succeeds across the board. It's got the visual and audio aesthetics covered and we love it for that.
Full article: Philips HTL9100 review
Although Sonos name might be a name synonymous with multi-room audio, the Playbar is one not to be overlooked for its TV-boosting capacity. Straight out of the box it's a stereo soundbar, but the Sonos mesh network system means you can buy additional Sonos products and wire them up as separates for a full 5.1 solution.
Add a Sonos Sub and two Play:3 speakers for a truly premium 5.1 Dolby Digital system. While that means it gets pricey, the results are brilliant and you needn't buy everything up front.
Full article: Sonos Playbar review
Best for bass (separate sub included)
The Yamaha is a soundbar and subwoofer solution, so while it's not as small, affordable or versatile as some of the alternatives above, it aces the full 5.1 surround sound category.
If you want the ultimate home cinema movie experience or big, booming audio for TV then this is one of the top sub-£1000 options out there. Its £800 asking price isn't small, but if you've got the ultimate TV and want the ultimate audio to go with it then here's a device worthy of your shortlist.
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