Sounding Off: Improving TV Audio

FRESNO, Calif.

Ted Tenthoff loves the picture on his TV. But the sound quality - not so much.

"There's no depth to it. It was a dull, dull feature of the, of what was otherwise a really nice picture and a nice TV."

But a simple audio upgrade with a sound bar made a huge difference.

"A good sound bar will give you clear highs, full midrange, and satisfying bass," Elias Arias said.

Consumer reports tested ten sound bars, ranging in price from $250 to $500. The sound bars are easily connected to a TV. There's no receiver and very few wires.

"The main speakers are actually inside the sound bar. The sound bar can then be mounted on a wall above the TV or placed below the TV."

You can skip this one from sharp, model HTSB500. It delivered poor sound quality.

Testers recommend this top-rated Vizio, model VHT 510 for $330.

It rates "very good" for sound quality and is easy to use. And it even comes with a wireless subwoofer and provides surround sound with rear speakers.

For $80 less, consider this Vizio, model VHT210. While it doesn't have rear speakers, it scored "very good" for sound quality and is also easy to use.

Either can significantly improve your TV's audio.

Consumer reports says another option to improve your TV's audio is a home-theater-in-a-box system, which start in the same price range as sound bars.

You do have to deal with a lot more gear - five speakers, a receiver, and a subwoofer. But the payoff is even better audio quality. Consumer reports recommends the Onkyo HTS3300 for $325.

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