The 2014 World Cup is upon us. Not just a feast of football but a good reason to reassess your AV system (even if many of us will be keeping up-to-date on mobile this year).
But don't just focus on your picture. Even the best World Cup TVs around will deliver fairly average sound, sadly, so it's best to add some external speakers for everyday viewing, let alone movies and sport.
A home cinema speaker system is the best way to really immerse yourself in your TV viewing but if your budget or floorspace is a little tight, or your other half isn't as keen on the idea, then soundbars provide a fine alternative.
We've rounded-up four of the best around at the moment, with a range of cost and size options, to help you boost your TV's sound for the big match and beyond.
Monitor Audio ASB-2
Monitor Audio, a British hi-fi specialist, has nailed the soundbar premise at its first attempt. Sensational sound quality is the crucial box to tick on the check-list but the ASB-2 follows up with plenty of features, too.
Three HDMI inputs ensure you can connect the likes of a digital TV box, Blu-ray player and games console, while AirPlay and DLNA connectivity means you can play music from a compatible phone, tablet or computer – ideal for getting the party started when it's time to celebrate (or commiserate) come the end of June...
More after the break
Yamaha was one of the original soundbar manufacturers and still delivers class-leading products. The company prefers the term 'sound projector', and Yamaha's USP remains that the company's products aim to deliver something approaching surround sound.
Low on connections but ideal if you only want to connect your TV, the surround sound effect is excellent, and there's integrated Bluetooth for wireless streaming. A fine budget soundbar option.
MORE: Yamaha YSP-1400 review
Philips won the Product of the Year Award from us with its HTL9100, so we had high hopes for this, its cheaper sibling – and we weren't disappointed.
If you're on a strict budget, this soundbar is a treat. For not a lot of cash you get a solid, stylish design, a thorough selection of connections, including wireless streaming via Bluetooth, and fine sound quality.
MORE: Philips HTL5120 review
Cambridge Audio Minx TV
The soundbar market has exploded in recent years but there is now an alternative: the soundbase.
Also known as sound plates or sound plinths, these speakers sit directly beneath your TV, saving you some space and giving your TV a mini pedestal stand.
If this type of design works for you, then the Minx TV might just be the best option on the market. There are no HDMI inputs, so you'll need to connect via your TV's optical connection, but there is integrated Bluetooth. If space is at a premium, this is a great solution.
by Joe Cox