If you are going to purchase a soundbar in this day and age, you may as well purchase a soundbar with HDMI passthrough.
To simplify, soundbars with HDMI passthrough are just soundbars or speakers with HDMI input and output.
HDMI passes through HD audio and video from a source device such as a cable set-top box or a Blu-ray player to a home theatre system.
In other words, it just provides a means to play unaltered source audio and video through your home theatre.
The alternative would be to connect several cables which can get rather messy. Below, we have compiled a list of the best soundbars with HDMI passthrough for your home theatre needs:
5 Best Soundbars With HDMI Passthrough
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|Best Overall: |
|View on Amazon||Average|
|Best Construction :|
Samsung HW-MS650 ZA
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|Most Stylish: |
Bose SoundTouch 300
|View on Amazon||High|
|View on Amazon||Average|
|Best Subwoofer: |
Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR
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Top Three Picks
1. Best Overall: Sony CT800 Powerful Sound Bar
First on our list of the best soundbars with HDMI passthrough is the Sony CT800 Powerful Sound Bar.
The soundbar brings you a powerful cinematic sound with surround sound experience while expanding your entertainment system with Google Home.
With a slim, lay flat design, the Sony CT800 Sound Bar is ideal for placing or a TV-stand, beneath your flat-panel TV or mounting on a wall.
It’s easy to expand the home-theater setup, allowing you to connect all your equipment using three HDMI inputs, a USB input, and an HDMI Arc output.
You can also stream your playlist through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which also supports multi-room listening with other compatible Sony speakers. It’s a true soundbar with HDMI passthrough.
While the soundbar is ultra-slim, it delivers an impressive sound thanks to its built-in DSP processing and directional drivers.
Its wireless sub provides deep solid bass, making it easy for the stereo bar to cover other frequencies for clear vocals.
Even better, all its HDMI inputs and output are compatible with 4K HDR signal and HDCP 2.2 copy protection. That allows you to use the latest audio formats such as DTS-HD Master and Dolby TrueHD.
- Maintain 4K quality with HDCP2.2 and HDR support
- Google Home compatibility with voice control; Chromecast built-in makes a direct connection to the streaming...
- Easily add wireless surround sound speakers
Verdict: Sony is known for creating products with a sleek visual design, and the CT800 is no different. It’s a nice looking soundbar with an accompanying subwoofer that screams premium from the construction to the performance.
The overall sound performance is loud, clear and well-defined, with great control over the playback. That includes Google Home for voice control through ChromeCast.
2. Best Construction :Samsung HW-MS650 ZA
Samsung is arguably the biggest TV manufacturer aiming to offer great home entertainment.
The Samsung HW-MS650 ZA forms part of the company’s plan to become the leading audio brand.
Hailing from Samsung’s latest sound range, the HW-MS650 ZA is among the best single-body soundbars with rigid and robust construction.
Its high-quality bodywork and metal speaker grille give it a high-end look spiced with gentle curves, chamfered edges, and an elegant top panel.
It doesn’t go overboard with the connections, but the available options will suffice. That includes an ARC-ready output and HDMI input that supports 4K signals of the HDR, 60p and HDCP 2.2 variety.
With Multi-speaker control and noise cancellation features, the HW-MS650/ZA delivers powerful bass without using an external subwoofer. It comes with enough power to fill a large room with a remarkably loud sound.
Its tight and transient bass gives you a terrific sense of momentum and drama while watching a movie, making it the perfect antidote for weak TV speakers. Additionally, it offers plenty of high-frequency detail to give you a crisp and airy sound.
- HOME THEATER SOUND: 9 speakers with dedicated amps let you experience rich, room-filling home theater sound...
- WIDE-RANGE TWEETER: Hear consistently great sound anywhere in the room with tweeters that cover a much wider...
- ALEXA VOICE CONTROL: Enjoy your soundbar hands-free using Alexa voice control by simply saying the song title...
Verdict: The Samsung HW-MS650/ZA is an all-in-one soundbar that boasts of cutting-edge technology and a pleasing sound. It has an excellent array of features, including HDMI connections with 4K support and an array of unrivaled Wi-Fi features.
It’s a brilliant choice if you want a soundbar that’s easy to hook up and stream music. Nonetheless, its price is on the higher end compared to rivals such as the Yamaha YAS-108.
3. Most Stylish: Bose SoundTouch 300 Soundbar
While Bose is no longer the driving force it once was in the soundbar market, it’s known to create spectacular audio equipment.
The SoundTouch 300 is a good example of their innovative products, offering an attractive design and a myriad of modern features.
Boasting of high-end design and sleek build quality, this Bose flagship soundbar comes with a tampered black glass on the top with aluminum grille.
It has non-slip rubber pads at the base and a decent amount of connection options. That includes HDMI with ARC, Ethernet, micro USB connection, and optical digital audio input. These HDMIs support 4K HDCP 2.2 sources with Dolby Digital and DTS audio formats.
The SoundTouch 300 soundbar sounds as good as it looks. It offers an exceptional bass performance with virtually zero distortion and compelling surround sound effects for a theater-like audio experience.
The ST300 is capable of a generously wide soundstage, reproducing both the dialog and incidental effects with utmost precision and clarity. It also offers easy music streaming through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
- Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately)
- HDMI connectivity with 4K pass through brings your music, movies and TV shows to life. Supported audio formats...
- Premium glass and metal grille make the soundbar look as good as it sounds. Video source compatibility: HDMI...
Verdict: If you’ve used the Bose SoundTouch Multi-room system, then connecting the ST300 with your HDMI ARC enabled TV will be a no brainer. The SoundTouch 300 is an impressive performer, capable of delivering loud and detailed audio.
The upper glass tampered plate is a fingerprint magnet, but the overall performance of the soundbar warrants two thumbs up. Nonetheless, the price may be a concern to some buyers.
4. Best Under a Budget: Samsung HW-N650 Panoramic Soundbar
The HW-N650 is one of Samsung’s latest soundbars from the state-of-the-art audio lab based in California.
This soundbar is created with gamers and movie fans in mind.
Its design is very similar to other Samsung models, with a durable all-metal construction and a rectangular shape.
Though its look is more functional than eye-catching, it has a solid build quality with a substantial weight and sturdy feel.
Its connections are available at the bottom of the soundbar, with the HDMI located in a recessed section on the right.
Using a 5.1-channel speaker configuration, the HW-N650 offers a strong audio power ranging at 360 watts.
It comes with an active wireless subwoofer using a 6.5-inch driver and a rear port to offer a decent bass extension.
The HW-N650 also features Samsung’s Acoustic Beam Technology that delivers a large and intense front soundstage for a cinematic experience with movies and games. Moreover, it has a decent set of connections, but only a sing HDMI Input is available.
- Samsung acoustic Beam technology
- Dedicated game mode; Operating Power Consumption (Main): 31 Watts
- Bluetooth music streaming
Verdict: The Samsung HW-N650 is a high-end soundbar that rocks a minimalist design and a robust build quality combined with several great features. The sound quality is brilliant, with a loud and immersive front soundstage for movies and music listening.
Its price tag is fairly hefty, but the addition of the Acoustic Beam technology and a wireless subwoofer justifies it. It’s a worthy recommendation for anyone who needs a superb all-round soundbar!
5. Best Subwoofer: Polk Audio MagniFi Max SR Surround Soundbar
When getting value from your money, Polk is one of the top American brands available on the market.
The MagniFi Max SR comes with a separate woofer and surrounds speakers, making it great for those who want a virtual surround sound effect without fitting in a full surround sound system.
The soundbar can be wall-mounted, and also thin enough to comfortably sit below your TV without messing the remote commands.
Sonically speaking, the MagniFi Max SR is a bit of a mixed bag. You can expect decent speech clarity through the soundbar, even without having to tinker with the Voice-Adjust settings.
The subwoofer design gives it enough power to fill a decent-sized room with thumping bass, though not the best quality. Nonetheless, the surround speakers hurl the effects behind you decently, offering a voice similar to the soundbar.
- BIGGER, MORE DYNAMIC SOUND - Packed inside this slim and sleek sound bar 7 powerful drivers and tweeters...
- INCLUDES PLUG AND PLAY WIRELESS SUBWOOFER & TWO WIRELESS SPEAKERS, which are instantly recognized by the sound...
- EXPERIENCE TRUE 5.1 WIRELESS SURROUND SOUND WITH POLK'S PATENTED SDA AUDIO TECHNOLOGY that creates an...
Verdict: If you’re looking for a surround sound system with maximum discretion and minimum fuss, the MagniFi Max SR is a solid option. Its price point is a little steep, but in the same price range with other top soundbars on the market. That means you’ll be paying for a premium soundbar that’s second to none when it comes to cinema immersion.
Advantages of Soundbars With HDMI Passthrough
- HDMI Pass-throughs provide a simple, single cable method of transferring HD audio formats from the source to your Home Theater. The only alternative method to send DTS Master Audio, Dolby True HD or 7.1 surround sound to your system requires about eight audio cables.
- It’s the only way to send HD audio signals in digital form. The eight audio connection only transmits analogue signals.
- It simplifies cable connections on your soundbar to give you a decent audio performance without complex audio connections.
- Soundbars with an HDMI pass-through are the ideal choice for your new 4K HDR TV or DTS:X/Dolby Atmos-enabled audio devices.
Soundbars with HDMI pass-through may not be compatible with all devices, so you need to ensure the HD audio source supports an HDMI Pass-through.
Nonetheless, the best soundbars offer multiple connection options including wireless methods such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.
If the TV doesn’t have an HDMI out, you can still configure the sound using an HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) port.
You can also use an optical cable and connect it to the TV’s digital audio out port going to the HTS digital audio input port. Don’t forget to set to external TV speakers once you’re connected.
What Features Do You Look For In a Soundbar?
Though there are lots of solid options out there, sorting through the available options to find a good soundbar with an HDMI Passthrough can be a dizzying process. Here are several features you may want to consider when shopping for your soundbar.
1. App Control
If you’re planning to control everything with your tablet or smartphone, you’ll want a manufacturer that offers an app compatible with your device’s operating system.
2. Dialogue enhancement
Not everybody likes to turn on closed captions when watching a movie. However, you may need to do that to clearly make out what the people are saying unless your soundbar has a dialogue enhancement feature.
The feature uses an algorithm designed to identify frequencies normally associated with speech, running them via a digital signal processor. That helps to distinguish the vocals from the music, background audio, and sound effects.
3. EQ (Equalization)
Some soundbars offer equalization to help you tune it to a particular placement like in a cabinet or on a wall.
This equalizer adjusts specific sonic characteristics that happen to your speaker in a specific scenario. However, EQ shouldn’t be confused with room correction since the latter uses more sophisticated technology.
4. Room Correction
The structure of a room is a key determinant of how a soundbar will sound. Top manufacturers like Paradigm have sophisticated and highly functional room-correction technology that offers multiple sonic benefits.
A good soundbar with an effective room correlation can give you a jaw-dropping audio experience, but the feature is normally expensive. It will cost you over $1000 to get a soundbar with a well-implemented room correlation feature.
5. DTS:X & Dolby Atmos
Most high-end soundbars on the market will allow you to enjoy the latest audio technologies like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. These soundbars feature object-oriented audio, but they’re typically limited to a 5.1.2 or 7.1.2 configuration.
A 5.1.2-channel sound system comes with a front right, front left, right surround, left surround, right height, left height and subwoofer. A 7.1.2-channel also has the same configuration, but with right and left rear surrounds.
6. Subwoofer Support
If you’re a bass lover, you’ll want to get a soundbar that you can connect with a subwoofer. Some soundbars like the Sony CT800 and Samsung HW-N650 come with a pre-packaged subwoofer, while others have a subwoofer output to allow you to connect the subwoofer model of your choice.
The prepackaged route is great if you’re not a bass junky, but that’s mainly because you can’t upgrade either component without getting rid of them both.
Soundbars with HDMI passthrough offers several advantages including a single cable method of passing HD audio formats and video formats. It’s a great way to set up a clean and modern audio system.
Even if you choose to purchase your soundbar at your local electronics store, ensure it has HDMI passthrough, Blu-ray player or Set-Top Box to the TV without altering the signal. You get top of the line video and audio formats, all in digital and high definition.