I am thinking of buying one to improve sound on DVD musicals. Is this a good idea?
We tried one when we updated our TV system a few years ago, but returned it after a week. Got a Bose system instead, and we liked it better immediately.
Soundbars vary greatly in price, performance, quality, remote control functions, and input options. Though, they are all basically an in-between option to setting up a proper surround sound system that can decode and present the audio as encoded on the DVD or digital audio feed.
They also provide an option to the thin sounding speakers that must be installed in today's extra thin flat panel televisions.
Some may improve sound quality for music and not dialog. Then some may improve the sound quality of dialog and not music. Most are attempting to simulate a sound field based on preconceived algorithms and have nothing to do with what you are watching and listening to.
You can always try a couple from retailers with a liberal return policy to see if they meet your expectations.
Any sound system should be listened to before buying. This is a problem in today's web driven retail environment, but there is no substitute for listening to audio equipment. There are good speakers and bad speakers in every category.
If you get your head around the fact that a soundbar with subwoofer will give better TV sound and that it is not a surround sound system, you will be happy. If your expectation that a sound bar and subwoofer is a subsititute for a surround sound system, you will be sadly disappointed. After going from a surround sound system to a sound bar, I wondered where all the space in my family room came from.