I consider a soundbar as an improvement to the terrible audio from most flat screen TV's. I am one of the few old fashioned guys that still has a dedicated listening room with good old stereo playback. If you want to enjoy better sound, a soundbar is a good, usually inexpensive, investment. If you want all of the effects (or as many as your budget allows), then a decent 5.1, 7.1 (9.1) system can't be beat. Before I moved to a condo in 2006, my former home had a very expensive 5.1 system with dedicated pre-amp, power amp, big speakers, etc. It has been a little over six years since I moved at purchased my first soundbar (Yamaha Sound Projector plus sub - more than $ 1,400 at a very good discount) and I must say I haven't missed having all of the bells and whistles so far.