Today’s thin, lightweight televisions deliver breathtaking, high-definition picture quality. But modern TVs are getting so slim that it’s becoming harder to equip them with built-in speakers that produce sound that’s as amazing as the picture. The good news is that great audio-enhancing products, ranging in price from $90 to $400, can surround you with deep, rich, immersive sound every time you watch a movie—and they don’t require professional installation or any technical know-how. Our expert picks…
• Samsung HW-MS650/ZA soundbar. If you don’t have a lot of space but want great sound, a soundbar is best. A soundbar is a long, slim device that is placed underneath the television. At only 42 inches long and three inches high, this soundbar provides the power of nine individual speakers, each with its own amplifier. Samsung’s proprietary audio technology helps deliver panoramic sound, which mimics the performance of surround sound. Built-in Bluetooth technology lets you stream music from your phone, tablet or any other Bluetooth-enabled device as well. The soundbar works with any brand, but if you have a Samsung TV, integration will be especially seamless. It can be found online for about $330.*
• Logitech Z623 400 Watt Home Speaker System. If you’re not quite ready to invest in a soundbar, a cheaper option is the Logitech Z623 400, which comes with two speakers and a powerful subwoofer. The result is studio-quality sound in a device that’s versatile and easy to use—the wired, plug-and-play system can be connected to up to three devices, so you can improve not just your TV sound but your computer and gaming console at the same time. The three-speaker system is available for $93.
• Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System. This pick is great for someone who wants a cinema experience. You can connect up to six separate devices to this six-piece surround sound set, which delivers truly immersive audio. With a full 1,000 watts of output, you’ll not only hear the difference, you’ll actually feel it. The system delivers thunderous bass and theater-quality sound, and independent volume control lets you adjust each satellite speaker and the subwoofer individually. The system retails for about $250.
• Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 wireless headphones. If you have a TV that’s only a few years old, it might be equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology. If so, another option is a good pair of wireless headphones that will give you, and only you, theater-quality sound while you watch TV. The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 is a good all-around set of noise-canceling headphones that offers immersive audio and a comfortable fit designed for long sessions. The bass is deep, and the high notes are crisp. A single charge will keep them going for a full 24 hours. You can get a pair for about $130.
*Prices are from online retailers and may be below manufacturers’ retail prices.