I'm guessing that the HT is in another area of the house and the TV he's talking about is in a family room. In answer to some of the questions:
First, there are two types of soundbar - powered and unpowered (e.g. LCR soundbar). I believe what you are looking for is a powered one (doesn't require separate amp/receiver). These can connect to your setup in several ways depending on the model but the easiest is probably to use the optical audio out from the TV to the SB. I could give more specific advice if you listed the components that you will be connecting.
There is a wide range of models available starting with a simple 2 channel stereo model like the VSB200. Don't be fooled by the $89 pricetag - this unit is a huge step up from TV speakers. You can also add a separate powered sub for 2.1.
You could also get a 2.1 or 5.1 setup that uses a wireless sub. Again Vizio has a few good options that are excellent value for money. Some of the 5.1 setups have the capability to connect the rear speakers to the wireless sub so there are no wires running across the room. This can be a good option too.
For just an intro setup depending on the room, I would go with the VSB200 then add a separate wired, powered sub of your choice or get the VHT215 that has a wireless sub for $250.