4 of the best systems to improve your TV's sound

You have a shiny new 4K HDR TV and a growing collection of 4K Blu-ray discs decorating your living room. What next?

With the best picture performance sorted, you now need some dedicated audio kit to take your movie and TV watching to the next level.

With even the best TVs notoriously lacking in the sound department, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of ways to improve your TV's sound, from wireless speakers and slim soundbars to headphones or a full-on AV system.

To that end, we’ve put together four solutions - complete with 4K TV and 4K Blu-ray player suggestions - to show the different ways you can get better sound quality out of your TV. Each system is designed to suit different styles and budgets, and will get you even closer to enjoying an immersive, cinematic experience in your home.

MORE: All the 4K discs on sale and coming soon

Soundbase system

Philips 55POS9002 - £1800

Sony UBP-X800 - £330

Q Acoustics M2 - £300

Total build = £2430

The excellent 4K TVs we've tested in recent months may vary somewhat in their audio performance, but pretty much every one of them – regardless of price and screen size – would be improved by the addition of the very affordable Q Acoustics M2 soundbase.

You can plonk a TV weighing up to 25kg on the sturdy M2, connect the two via HDMI, and be instantly rewarded with a full-bodied, dynamic sound from the 2.1 driver array. Upgrades don't get much more affordable or instant than this.

Our TV choice here is the Philips 55POS9002, the HDR performance of which is the best we’ve seen at this price and screen size. Ambilight is as lovely as ever, but we’re most impressed by how well this Philips OLED presents 4K and non-4K images.

This isn’t the last time you’ll see us mention the superb Sony UBP-X800 4K Blu-ray player. You’ll have to pay around double the amount if you want a significant step up from the way this Sony displays your 4K HDR discs. Its clarity, subtle detail and vibrant colours are terrific for the money. The Sony delivers a crisp and agile sound for the M2 to work with, too.

MORE: How to set up your TV and get the best picture

Soundbar system

LG OLED55B7V - £1800

Sony UBP-X800 - £330

Sony HT-ST5000 - £1500

Total build = £3630

If you want next-level audio in the neatest package possible, the HT-ST5000 is the device for you. This unassuming combination of a smart, sharp-edged soundbar and chunky wireless subwoofer is not only a punchy, musical performer, it also supports Dolby Atmos soundtracks.

It delivers a convincing, cinematic sound that envelops you from side-to-side and top-to-bottom. Perfect for 4K Blu-ray movies or even Netflix and Sky Q content that now comes with Atmos soundtracks.

It's expensive for a soundbar, but this Sony is really special - and it's the best movie sound solution that doesn't involve a surround amp and loads of speakers dotted around your room.

Pair it with this gorgeous 55in LG OLED – whose original £3000 price has been slashed almost in half, making it one of the best bargains we’ve ever come across – and the trusty Sony 4K Blu-ray player for a sleek but potent system.

MORE: Best 4K TV deals

Affordable 5.1 system

Samsung UE65MU7000 - £1500

Sony UBP-X800 - £330

Sony STR-DN1080 - £460

Dali Zensor 1 5.1 - £980

Total build = £3270

If you're serious about movie and TV-show enjoyment, only a full surround system will do. The all-bells-included Sony STR-DN1080 is the obvious amp choice, offering a sound that's subtle and controlled as well as punchy and bold.

Combine it with the fantastic, multi What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Dali Zensor 1 speaker package and you've got a surround sound system of extraordinary ability that no soundbar or soundbase can match.

Since this is our affordable 5.1 set up, we’ve stuck with the uber-capable Sony 4K spinner - it’s the perfect partner for the Sony receiver.

For the TV, we’ve gone up a screen size to really make the most of this 5.1 system. This Award-winning and affordable (especially for a 65in screen) Samsung is sure to dazzle you with its stunningly clear, brightly and richly coloured 4K picture.

MORE: 11 of the best 4K Blu-rays to test your system

Premium 5.1 system

Sony KD-65A1 - £3800

Cambridge CXUHD - £700

Denon AVR-X6400H - £1700

Monitor Audio Silver 200 AV12 - £2865

Total build = £9065

If you want the whole hog (i.e. you've set your sights on the premium Sony KD-65A1 screen), this top-of-the-range Denon home cinema amp and superb, sexy Monitor Audio speakers are the way to go.

The Denon will drive up to 11 speakers and two subwoofers and, should you be inclined, Monitor Audio will sell you extra speakers to get you to that level. But even in standard 5.1 form, this is a system of stunning sonic ability.

Cambridge’s premium CXUHD 4K player is out top choice for its audio and picture talents, delivering stunning 4K HDR pictures to one of the best TVs we’ve laid our eyes on.

And while Sony’s captivating 65in OLED TV does sound decent on its own thanks to its unique panel-vibrating sound system, it really doesn’t compare to a full-fledged AV set up.Endlessly detailed, dynamic and rhythmic, this surround experience is more than a match for most cinema trips.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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