Please bear with me as I am just learning about soundbars having been using TV speakers for about 7 or 8 years.
Current situation/problem: When watching movies from PS3 (mostly Blu-Ray) on Samsung UN46B8000XF with just the TV speakers I have a very difficult time hearing voices/dialog. While I would like better/bigger sound than the TV speakers deliver, my primary goal is to improve hearing the voices from movies. Interestingly enough when movies only have a surround option in the audio setup I have a real hard time hearing voices, however when they do actually have a stereo option (seems rarer all the time) I am better able to hear the voices, though it isn't perfect. Also, gaining a surround feel (preferably 7.1) would be a plus, though that is in addition to primary goal of improved voices.
Setup: PS3 connected via HDMI to TV with Blu-Ray being the majority of movies I watch, though maybe 25% are DVD. Computer is connected to TV by HDMI but I rarely play from the computer to the TV. Also I have Comcast Clear QAM to TV and almost never even watch cable.
Desired price: $600 or less, but there is room for discussion.
Desired benefit: Better voices in movies (primary), bigger sound, bassier sound, better range than the TV speakers can deliver, surround feel, simpler cable management than Home Theater in a Box though I don't know a lot about this and am open to it. Though a bit hesitant to mount and such since I rent an apartment so I don't want to leave holes in the walls.
Room: First a concern, my small understanding of soundbars is they work best in a rectangle/square room with all sides closed. This is not my situation and there is no way to change it in this apartment. My TV is on a stand against the long wall that is offset from center of the back shorter wall. When facing the TV the left-side is a sliding glass door and the right side is open into the dining room and kitchen area. The floor is carpeted. I sit approximately 9 feet back from the TV but that could be adjusted one foot further back or maybe two feet closer. One other note, if you had a perpendicular line to the right edge of the TV it would come out past the sitting area into a hallway.
Any thoughts? Am I able to get a surround feeling and improved voices from a soundbar, or do I need to go with some other setup?
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Thank you so much in advance for any input, suggestions, or advice!