What is a soundbar? A soundbar is the simplest way to improve your TV sound without adding a full 5.1 surround sound cinema system. Here we review the best soundbars to buy in 2015, from budget soundbars to more premium options.
If you don't have the space or inclination for a home cinema system, then the good news is a soundbar provides an excellent alternative, is easy to set-up and can work with pretty much any TV on the market. With wireless subwoofers, wireless Bluetooth streaming and HDMI connections all on board, there's something for everyone.
We've rounded-up the best TV soundbars in 2015 from our most recent reviews, and we'll be keeping this page updated as and when we review new products.
Interested in a soundbase? Take a look at our round-up of the best soundbases...
There aren't too many good soundbars under £200 - a soundbase might be a better bet. But the Q-Acoustics Q-TV2 is not a conventional soundbar. Rather than be a physical bar that sits beneath your TV, this connects to the back of it. An ultra-slim, 38mm 100W subwoofer sits behind the TV, while two satellite speakers can be seen on either side.
It's designed for use with 32-42in TVs due to the subwoofer connecting to the wall-mounting holes already found on the back of the TV. It can also be used with ultra-slim LED TVs and can be mounted on a table stand or wall bracket behind the TV - either of these are supplied free of charge.
And as we noted when we first reviewed it, "the improvement over your flatscreen's own audio performance is huge".
Now that the Q-TV2 has had such a huge price reduction, and while it's still available in a few stores, it's definitely worth considering.
MORE: Q-Acoustics Q-TV2 review
If we had one criticism of Philips’s brilliant debut soundbar - the HTL5120 - it was its slightly screen-blocking height.
There’s no such problem with its successor, the HTL5140. At only 5cm tall (a third less than its predecessor), it’s one of the least obtrusive soundbar designs we’ve laid eyes on. And it has a subwoofer boosting its efforts.
This is a wonderfully slimline soundbar that will suit almost any set-up, with an unobtrusive design and a precise, wide-open soundfield, and there's Bluetooth inside for wireless streaming. No wonder it was a 2014 Award-winner...
MORE: Philips HTL5140 review
Q Acoustics was quick to carry its speaker expertise in to the soundbar category. And the results have been an almost unqualified success.
The ‘QM4’ should be a good fit for 40in TVs and larger – it looks reasonably compact from the front, but the trapezoidal cabinet actually extends back around 14cm. A large elliptical subwoofer sits in the back of the cabinet and a couple of 65mm BMR drivers (Balanced Mode Radiators) complete this 2.1 soundbar.
It’s a huge step up from conventional flatscreen sound, bringing the full-bodied, nicely rounded character we’ve come to expect from the company’s stereo speakers into a soundbar setting. It’s sensibly priced and sounds fantastic.
The JBL Cinema SB400 has fought off the competition with a combination of big, beefy dynamics and impresive attention to sonic detail. Three HDMI inputs is handy, too, as is Bluetooth streaming.
You need a little more room with this soundbar and sub combo, the wireless subwoofer is pretty hefty and the bar itself is a little thicker than rivals. The trade-off is a spacious sound, especially with Harman's Display Surround technology (though we prefer the music mode for a more solid sound).
We're not sure about the remote control and it's a shame there's no lip-sync adjustment but for connectivity and sound quality, the JBL Cinema SB400 is a winner.
The YSP-2500 takes over from the Award-winning YSP-2200, and remains one of the best solutions for those who don’t want the clutter of a traditional 5.1 speaker package and AV receiver.
It’s a sleek, slim bar and the impeccable build and finish quality is worth every penny of its £800 asking price. Its 16 speakers are hidden under a grille, each driver powered by 2 watts of amplification.
The YSP-2500’s expansive soundfield, punch and scale are impressive, and it’s the most appealing solution for those that want plug'n'play cinema-style sound.MORE: Yamaha YSP-2500 review / compare prices
See all our soundbar reviews