Soundbars have grown in popularity over the years peaking in 2014 and holding steady in popularity in 2016 according to google trends. They offer an easy to set up addition to your flat screen TV as a usually much needed sound upgrade.
Even the best TV sets have only mediocre sound quality. If you're going to watch a 55-60" TV you might as well get the big sound to go with it and a sound bar is a low effort way to get there.
One of the annoyances to me was the necessity of a second remote to control the soundbar in addition to the TV or cable box. One really easy way around this problem is to purchase the sound bar from your TV manufacturer. The good news is the top TV brands, Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG all have great sound bars to go with their TV's. Usually they seamlessly hook up to the TV in a way that allows relatively seamless connectivity between the soundbar and the TV or cable remote.
Below is a list of some favorite 3.1 soundbars found on Amazon with Prime shipping. All around $300 at this writing. Note, Sony does not make a 3.1 soundbar so we did not include one here.
The Vizio SB4031 D5 is a 40" soundbar with no subwoofer. I like that the TV sits on the base speaker so there is no need to locate a sub somewhere in your room.
Besides being a true 3.1 (has a center channel for voices) it works with Vizio's app for easy control
The Samsung HW-K550 3.1 Channel 340 Watt Wireless Audio Soundbar is another true 3.1 system. It does have a separate sub that can be placed in a corner or almost anywhere out of the way. The sub is wireless so all you'll need is a plug.
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