9 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Soundbar - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 9 Old 12-20-2016, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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9 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Soundbar

Here's a handy guide to help you choose the right soundbar: http://www.avsforum.com/9-things-to-...or-a-soundbar/

Mark Henninger, Senior Editor at AVS Forum
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-21-2016, 04:52 PM
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imagic. Thanks. Nice read.
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-22-2016, 06:53 AM
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Nice summary....I do think in this day and age all sound bars should have an HDMI connection for best sound...I'm not sure why some of the more expensive ones (Sonos) don't have HDMI....wireless is nice and all, but HDMI has been around for what, over 10 years now? I would not pay over $1K for a sound bar that did not have HD sound...period...
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-22-2016, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizban19 View Post
Nice summary....I do think in this day and age all sound bars should have an HDMI connection for best sound...I'm not sure why some of the more expensive ones (Sonos) don't have HDMI....wireless is nice and all, but HDMI has been around for what, over 10 years now? I would not pay over $1K for a sound bar that did not have HD sound...period...
Disagree. A lot of people route all of their connections through their TV and then run optical out to the soundbar. No need for HDMI with that set up.
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-22-2016, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDan666 View Post
Disagree. A lot of people route all of their connections through their TV and then run optical out to the soundbar. No need for HDMI with that set up.
This is true..but then there is no Dolby True HD or DTS HD Master audio. When I'm watching a blu ray movie, not only do I want a nice HD picture, I want the HD sound as well...I want the full experience. Some people don't care...but I for one do...
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post #6 of 9 Old 12-22-2016, 03:33 PM
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The problem with HDMI is it comes out with a new version on average every 10 months. A new version is already in the works. So if you want the latest and greatest features of HDMI you have to upgrade your whole chain of components. Not everybody want to upgrade their sound bar if they get a new component.

For the lossless formats they are converted to DD and DTS with the least amount of compression. The difference is not great and you would get a bigger improvement from better speakers or sound bar. Manufacturers know this and don't want to come out with a new sound bar every time HDMI changes and they can put more money into making a better sounding unit than be focused on HDMI changes and the tech support HDMI requires. So while it would be nice if sound bars had the latest version of HDMI, because they don't does not mean they sound worse than the ones that do. In fact the opposite is often true. I know as enthusiasts we want it all for features and feel like we are missing something but some times we have to sit back and see which one actually performs better.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-22-2016, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellebob View Post
The problem with HDMI is it comes out with a new version on average every 10 months. A new version is already in the works. So if you want the latest and greatest features of HDMI you have to upgrade your whole chain of components. Not everybody want to upgrade their sound bar if they get a new component.

For the lossless formats they are converted to DD and DTS with the least amount of compression. The difference is not great and you would get a bigger improvement from better speakers or sound bar. Manufacturers know this and don't want to come out with a new sound bar every time HDMI changes and they can put more money into making a better sounding unit than be focused on HDMI changes and the tech support HDMI requires. So while it would be nice if sound bars had the latest version of HDMI, because they don't does not mean they sound worse than the ones that do. In fact the opposite is often true. I know as enthusiasts we want it all for features and feel like we are missing something but some times we have to sit back and see which one actually performs better.
There's definitely a lot of truth to that. But, what I hope to see is a continuation of the trend where HDMI devices (specifically Ultra HD Blu-ray players) offer dual HDMI outputs, because all the new HDMI revisions are related to video. To make an audio connection you don't need the latest and greatest HDMI spec.

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post #8 of 9 Old 12-22-2016, 08:01 PM
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Two connections on a device is nice to have but I doubt a lot of streaming boxes will have it. Luckily, at the moment there aren't many services doing 4K with lossless audio. Plus it defeats the one HDMI cable to everything approach.

Here is an HDMI rant for fun. IMHO I think HDMI from the start was a very poor standard pushed on consumers. First it was never designed for expandability or practicality. Practicality first. Who would design a non-locking connector for a device. A cable that can't be cut and a new connector attached, none of these engineers that designed this must not have ever ran cables through a wall. And limited cable length before you lose signal. And even shorter lengths as bandwidth increases. A computer guy whos monitor is 3 feet above his computer must have designed HDMI. Oh wait it did get built off DVI

HDCP are they kidding! When was the last time people connected two VCRs together to copy something. That didn't even happen with component cables. HDCP should have realized in the digital age, people hack the disc or the hard drive. They don't copy between devices anymore. HDCP is totally unnecessary and only added problems to HDMI

Now the expandability. When HDMI was designed 1080P/60 used about 4.5gbs so they made HDMI to go up to 4.95gbs. They couldn't predict that greater bandwidth would be needed in the future I knew it back then, but who am I. But people like Joe Kane knew it and talked about things like higher frame rates, greater resolution, greater colors, 3D, better bit depth, etc. If I were making a standard for cabling I would want to have a lot extra in the pipeline for future expansion, probably at least 5 times the bandwidth needed in the current day, preferably 10 times the current highest bandwidth format.

Some might say that the technology didn't exist about 15 years ago to do the things that might happen in the future. In reality it did. Fifteen years ago we already had technology that could handle more than the 18gbs used today and it didn't have the practical problems of HDMI. That technology is called fiber optics. It has been around for a long time.

Now if HDMI could have handled say 20gbs or 100gbs from the start there would be no problems with sound bars taking off the audio and sending the video to the display. You wouldn't have to upgrade the sound bar if you got a new TV and 4K device. Or have to use two HDMI cables from a device to get the best audio and video. Unfortunately, we are stuck with it.

Hope you enjoyed the rant
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-28-2017, 11:21 AM
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I auditioned a lot of soundbars and came home with a Zvox 770. Plenty of bass, everything in one box, exceptional clarity. Great for TV. My two cents.
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