What Is The Difference Between The Sound Bar And Home Theater

What Is The Difference Between The Sound Bar And Home Theater

Telling the difference between the soundbar and home theater’s listening experience is possibly the most challenging for many of us. And that’s because picking the right sound system for our homes despite being novices is just as important as purchasing the right tv or mobile phone,you want it to be the best you can get.

There is little to enjoy about having a great TV display especially if your movie soundtrack , Netflix tv series or your gaming sound setup is unflattering. 

And seeing as you are on this page you are probably looking to purchase a good sound system but cant decide which to purchase between a home theater and the sound bar. That’s because you don’t really understand the real difference between the two.

But, what is the difference between a soundbar and a home theater?

  •  Sound Depth And Thumping Bass: The main difference between a home theater and a sound bar is that home theaters come paired with a subwoofer capable of delivering a little more depth to the sound listening experience like thumping power and rich bass, with the help of subwoofers. Sound bars on the other hand lack sound depth and thumping bass.
  • Rich Surround Sound Experience: Soundbars provide a far more superior surround sound listening experience than home theaters and that’s because soundbars have multiple speakers in one cabinet. Home theaters in many cases come in a set of 2 to 7 speakers which can be easier to set up a surround sound listening atmosphere.

Let me break down into detail what the differences between the two.

 What Is A Home Theater Systems, And Do You Really Need It?

A home theater is an integrated home theater package that bundles together a mixture of dvd or a blu ray player, a radio tuner,an amplifier with multiple channels,a decoder and some more features such as a set of 4 or more speakers that are in different sizes,a remote control as well as some connection cables, it also includes a subwoofer.

Home theater systems also known as home theater in a box are manufactured by many makers of consumer electronics, some of them are household names such as samsung or LG and such come at high prices while there are other home theater systems with generic names that come at very low prices.

Home theater systems that are higher end come with a 7 in 1 system while the generic ones come with 2 in 1 systems or the 5 in 1 system if it’s a really good generic product.

The very popular manufacturers of home theater systems are Samsung,Yamaha,Phillips,Sony, LG,RCA and Panasonic.

 What Is A Soundbars, Is It Worth The Money?

A sound bar also known as a media bar is a type of loud speaker that projects the audio from a wide enclosure.Its appearance is very different from the loud speakers as it is wider than it is tall reasons for this being for acoustic and so that it can be perfectly mounted below or above a display device such as a computer monitor or a television set.

In a sound bar you will find multiple speakers placed in one cabinet,this in fact helps to create sound that is surround (though coming from one direction) as well as stereo effect.Usually you will also find that a separate subwoofer is also included within or may just be used to supplement the sound bar.

The most popular sound bar manufacturers are the following yamaha, Sonos arc, Vizio,Bose, Roku smart,Polk magnifi and Dolby atmos

What Is The Difference Between A Sound Bar And A Home Theater

Main Differences

The differences between these two are plenty, a sound bar is single and is a long rectangular device that is usually placed horizontally underneath the tv or the computer, this device can either come with a subwoofer or can be paired with it for a lot better bass.

A sound bar can contain anywhere from 2 to 7 speakers in one cabinet meanwhile a home theater comes in sets and these sets consist of a subwoofer, a receiver and at least five to seven speakers.Each of these speakers come in different sizes and they have got different sitting positions,one for the centre, two for each side on the front and then two for each side in the rear area of the room.

The systems of the home theater are highly configurable so you can start out with a receiver and two speakers and then expand as time goes on.


Both the sound bar and the home theater have got really good sound when connected to the tv set; this is because both of these systems allow for more space within which sound can bounce around.

Powerful speakers have got higher wattage ratings and also many sound bars that are entry level are capable of drawing at least 100w which should be more than powerful enough for any average viewer.

Home theaters are much more superior than sound bars because they offer a more realistic surround sound experience as the speakers can be strategically placed around the room.Separating the sources of sound between the speakers also means that the likelihood of distortion at high volume levels is decreased.

Home theaters tend to be a bit more pricey compared to sound bars as they have much more to offer ,the sound from home theater systems is much higher, more crispy, clear and has depth.


When it comes to the setup as well as space requirements sound bars are a much better option for anyone.Once you place your sound bar on a chosen spot, connect it to the power source,you can connect it to the tv via a bluetooth or a wireless and that’s it you can sit down and enjoy.Sound bars also take up less space so for anyone who has got little space in their home they are a much better option.

On the other hand its a different story with home theaters, they need a bit more room and they are much more complicated to set up and require more time in order to get them working.

You will need to manage the cables efficiently otherwise it may lead to clutter or may lead to people tripping over them and end up damaging the speakers or hurting themselves.Also with home theaters the cables will need to be run from the receiver to each speaker as well as the subwoofer and between the receiver and the tv which can be a daunting task to carry out if you are not patient.

Pros And Cons Of A Home Theater


  •  Great surround sound,home theaters offer a more clear dialogue play back
  • They have got a more powerful bass compared to sound bars
  • Home theaters offer different surround options based on the room size such is 5,1,7,1,9,1
  • Home theaters offer a customizable setup
  • With home theater speakers you are not bound by the manufacturer meaning you can mix and match as you like
  • Home theaters are very flexible as you can upgrade at any time you want,either the receiver or the speakers at a later date
  • Adding the surrounds or the height does not really mean you have to buy the whole new system.


  • The home theater requires a lot of wiring and the setup can be complicated
  • The home theaters are a bit costly so not everyone can afford to purchase a good home theater system
  • They take time to setup and it can be very daunting
  • Home theaters require a little more space than sound bars do

Pros And Cons Of A Sound bar


  • A sound bar is very easy to setup
  • There is a little wiring to be done and can be done just by anyone
  • It is compact
  • The sound bar is a little less costly compared to the home theater system
  • Sound bars require a lot less space in the house
  • Compared to tv speakers a soundbar offers better sound quality
  • Sound bars are self contained,so dont need a separate box to make it work


  • The sound bar does not give the best surround sound like that of a home theater system.
  • Sound bars are not as loud as the speakers of a home theater
  • A sound bar does not provide sound that has got depth
  • Sound bars usually cannot upgrade individual components or even add new surround formats
  • sound bars have got some limited features compared to the home theater system
  • Spending some more money will not necessarily improve the sound quality thus soundbars can only be so big without having to block the tv
  • In order for a soundbar to have more bass it needs to be connected to a subwoofer which adds more costs as the subwoofer sometimes needs to be purchased individually meanwhile a home theater system comes with a subwoofer.


At the end of the day, both these systems are very good, the differences between them are vast but they do the same job which is to provide a great sound quality, if you want something to just make your tv sound better then soundbars will do just fine but if you want top-quality sound, higher bass, for a bit big gatherings that need surround sound then you should go one way which is home theaters.

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