I just purchased a Panasonic 55vt50 and am looking for a sound upgrade. I am not an audiophile. I do want some good bass and sound without having to constantly adjust the volume between explosions and dialogue (which, I hear may be a problem if you don't have a dedicated don't lend themselves to a full 5.1 setup right now, so I was going to go with a soundbar.
I found two issues. One is that the soundbar will block the sensor. It seems that some soundbars have a pass-through IR thingy that can address this. The other is that the VT50 screen is so low off the stand, that a lot of soundbars actually are too high and infringe on the screen (I will not be mounting the TV). My original budget was around $300, which is very low end, I know. However, when I was at BB, I listened to an Energy soundbar - it was on sale for $499 (regular for $599 - even Amazon). I thought it sounded reall, really good for a soundbar. I was going to pull the trigger, but I found that the height actually ate into the TV screen. Not by much, but I want "full screenage." I brought measuring tape, so I checked a few times. This was a problem for a lot of the soundbars and found my choices to be limited (even more limiting since I was at BB).
I did find that Pansonic has the SCB-HT550 (approx $300), which is a soundbar that splits into two satellites. I realize that a company who makes displays probably isn't the best at making great audio, but it seems to have received decent reviews (and it would sync with the TV). I did read that the subwoofer is a bit weak. There is also the Bose Cinemate II (sorry to some if I mention Bose - it seems they are disliked by some (?). I'm not sure - I always thought they sounded nice). This is more than my original price range, but it sounded good and you can get stands. There just don't seem to be a lot of these 2.1 setups out there for TVs (as far as I've seen), which I think would be ideal.
Another option would be to get a stand that has a center shelf where I can put the soundbar. I'm not an expert on soundbar placement, but I would think that if it is on the shelf of a console, than it may be too low. I would think it would have to be much higher. I'd love to know if this is an option.
In short, I either need a low soundbar (much less than 4 inches?) that can allow a remote to work. Or, better, find a good 2.1 option, or find out if I can place a soundbar lower on a TV stand (perhaps aimed up), which is probably not ideal.
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I know there are a lot of audio experts here and I'd really appreciate some insight as far as options. I getting this bangin' TV that will have subpar sound that I immediately want to upgrade with a simple solution. I guess Panasonic expects this TV to be mounted in order to use a fairly sized soundbar.
I just want some good sound at a good value that doesn't have to be true 5.1. My original budge was $300, but I could go a bit higher if it was worth it