Glossary

This page lists all the Tech Info and jargon associated with Soundbars so you can figure out what everything means!

Soundbar  (Also sometimes called a sound projector or TV Soundbar)
Is a special speaker enclosure which aims to give a good stereo or surround sound without the hassle of installing multiple speakers around a room.
Physically a Soundbar is wide and not very high, this helps make them convenient to mount below or above a TV screen.
They have grown in popularity since the rise of modern flat screen televisions since the flat screen format often gives relatively poor sound quality.
Some Soundbars can even configure automatically with a setup program that uses a test microphone to control sound
distribution.

High Definition
Video with a much higher resolution than older TV systems.

BluRay
Optical type of disc storage that supersedes DVD. They hold more data and typically hold high definition video.
Requires a system with HDMI connectors for best results.

HDMI (1080p comtible v1.4a)
High-definition Multimedia Interface is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data. Used to connect both video and sound devices. It also can transmit CEC  (Consumer Electronics Control) data to allow HDMI devices to control each other. (For instance where someone uses a single remote to control multiple devices).

HDMI – ARC

ARC is short for ‘Audio Return Channel’. This means a single HDMI cable can be used to send and recieve data. This reduces the number of cables needed.

Make sure what type of HDMI cable you need before buying one!

DVI
Digital Visual interface is an older video interface standard. Many pc graphics cards still output in this format.
Note that if your using a DVI to HDMI connection on a media center you may lose some screen size due to issues with overscan.

Watts
Are a measure of power. The higher the number the louder the system should be. Sound bars vary from a wimpy 50w right up to 400. The minimum you should consider would be 100w. Make sure the system you are looking at has its power expressed in RMS (Root Mean Square) which is how much power it can keep providing rather than a peak value. For example 300 Watts RMS.

Stereo
A way of encoding sound which is used to give sound some directional effects. Although it can be used in the same sentance as ‘Surround Sound’ it is now normally taken to mean a two channel sound system.

Sub (Subwoofer)
A speaker dedicated to low pitched (Bass) audio. Sometimes this is a physically separate speaker, with soundbars it is normally integrated to the bar. You are better off going for a system with a separate subwoofer. Sometimes these can be wireless.

SRS WOW
Sound Retrieval System is a 3D audio processing system to give a 3D soundfield with only two speakers.

Surround Sound
A way of enriching  sound so that the listener seems to be surrounded by the sound. One of the common ways of achieving this is by installing multiple speakers.
5.1 surround sound uses five full frequency speakers and one low frequency ‘sub’. (This is the .1!)
7.1 Channel sound adds two additional speakers and changes the physical layout.

THX
Born from Georage Lucas’s desire to make sure the sound for Return of the Jedi was as awesome as possible. Its princiapally  a technology to ensure that the sound you hear at the cinema (or on your Soundbar!) is as close to what the sound engineer intended as possible. THX Blu-Ray disks typically have a callibrator onboard to ensure the best possible setup.

Dolby Digital
A noise reduction and audio encoding technology. Provides independent multi-channel audio.

Dolby Digital Plus
Advanced version developed for hi-def media.

DSP
A chip for processing digital signals

Optical (S/PDIF)
Fibre optical connector, sometimes used to connect pc or tv to high end soundbars. It gives better performance than an analogue connector but is not as good as HDMI. HDMI can carry more data. For a soundbar (rather than a full fledged 7.1 suround sound setup) optical is fine.

Soundprojector – see Soundbar

Cables
Soundbars come with differerent connection options dependent on model and price:
Analogue – Copper, RCA or 3.5mm jack. Fine for most use.
Optical – Better signal for high end sound bars but can’t cope with TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio.
HDMI – Best quality, but more critical for surround sound systems.