TV speakers: Which are the best around?

Thin, flatscreen TVs tend to come with thin, flat sound, but a soundbar, home cinema system or wireless speakers can improve your viewing experience. We’ve selected sound options for all budgets.

Most TVs don't sound great on their own. To enjoy quality sound that matches the high-definition pictures of today's top TVs, you need an external speaker.

But how do you know which is right for you? We've broken down the best around by type and who they'll suit, so you can easily find your perfect speaker. Your films and TV shows are about to sound a whole lot better...

[Read more: Audio and Video connections explained]

Are you short of space? Consider a soundbar

One of the simpler, more elegant options for boosting TV audio is a soundbar: an elongated, narrow loudspeaker designed to be placed below the TV screen. Due to their one-piece design and easy connectivity - they generally require no more than two cables: one to the power socket and one to the TV - they’re an ideal choice when space is limited.

Dali Kubik One

Thankfully, they don't have to cost the earth. In fact, a decent one can be had for under £100. If you want to spend a little more, then you'll get even better sound - the Sonos Beam can stream to other speakers around the room and house. Money no object? Look no further than the Dali Kubik One, which has an eye-catching design and plenty of connectivity options.

Are you a movie fan? Consider a home cinema system

If full surround sound is what you’re after, a home cinema speaker package is the way to go. Usually consisting of five satellite speakers to provide sound effects from different locations, and a subwoofer to serve up low-frequency bass effects, they usually need to be connected to and driven by a receiver. They give great sound, but do tend to crowd your lounge, as they come in a lot more parts than a single simple soundbar.

Monitor Audio Silver 200 AV12

Because they have more elements, home cinema systems tend to be more expensive than soundbars. At the budget end of the scale is the Wharfedale DX-2, a stylish and compact system that ticks all the boxes. The Q Acoustics 3010i is a little pricier, but comes in more colours and finishes and its subwoofer is over twice as powerful, so should provide plenty of rumbling bass. If you want to spend big, you want the Monitor Audio Silver 200 AV12 - it was designed with the help of the National Physical Laboratory (the UK's leader in precision measurement) to ensure optimum sound.

[Read more: What is Dolby Atmos?]

Are you a minimalist? Consider wireless speakers

No speaker designed for TVs will be completely wireless – at minimum, it’ll need to connect to a power socket. But 'wireless' models require fewer wires and stop cable spaghetti spoiling your living room’s clean lines.

Naim Mu-so

 

The Naim Mu-so is really an audiophile-grade wireless speaker designed for audio, but it can be plugged into your TV too to work as a soundbar. And if you have a TV with Apple's AirPlay 2 technology (or an Apple TV streaming box), you can beam TV audio to it too. The Sonos PlayBar also has a soundbar design, but it too is wireless, plus it integrates seamlessly into Sonos' multi-room systems, so you can buy more speakers to place around the room/house and expand your system over months or years. The Harmon Kardon Aura connects to your telly wirelessly using Bluetooth, and like the others here, can also be used to play music wirelessly from a phone, tablet or PC.

Are you not all that mobile? Consider a smart speaker

Google Home Max

Smart speakers are very clever little devices. They each contain a digital assistant like Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri, to obey your every command. That means you can control it - and other smart home devices connected to it, like your smart TV - just by speaking. So you can turn the lights on and adjust the room temperature without getting up off the sofa. Not only are they great for showing off to guests, they're also a lifesaver if you're of limited mobility.

Google Home Max is Google's top-of-the-range model, offering oddles of bass and a rigid case to stop vibrations interfering with the sound quality. Apple's HomePod automatically adjusts depending on where you place it in order to optimise the sound quality. And the Amazon Echo Plus has thousands of 'skills' which are like apps made by other companies, to expand its abilities. Want to play games, track your activity or fall asleep to rain sounds? There's a skill for that.

[Read more: How to choose speakers for your tablet or smartphone]

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