Some weeks ago R mentioned that he wasn't hearing the tv sound terribly well. I finally said what needed to be said and told him he was going deaf. He asked me to investigate a sound bar for the tv on the information super highway. His tablet is connected to the information superhighway but apparently only does Face Book and solitaire. I ignored him for a bit and then he mentioned it again. I took a look online. Ok, sound bar with a sub woofer. Good discount at Gerry Harvey's shop but the Monday post Christmas on the way to Gerry Harvey is The Good Guys. We have had some bargains from there in the past, like our brill Sony tv that does the dishwashing as well. I had a good idea of watts and dollars but I was a little reluctant.
A Sony sound bar was heavily discounted at The Good Guys and it was one of the more attractive units. It had sub woofer. I kind of knew what that was, but R did not and had already decided where it should be placed to be aesthetically pleasing. Err, good sound is so often not aesthetically pleasing.
The sales person offered the opinion that although we could buy any brand, buying the Sony model would be a better match for our tv. We bit the bullet.
Once home we made a temporary connection using an odd supplied wire I have never come across before. We fiddled and fiddled and eventually had it set up. R could not understand why we could not hear the sub woofer. It was about eight metres away from the tv, four metres from where we sit and not pointing at us. It was like a dull echo. If you are unsure what a sub woofer does, my opinion is that it is a bass sound enhancer. I convinced R that it needed to sit near to the tv, so it went next to the Christmas tree. It sounded ok, but a sub woofer really comes into its own with special effect movies and music, none of which we watch or listen to much. The sub woofer stayed in that position for a couple of days and then went back to the other end of the room, with the words "I am not having a speaker control my life". I agreed to the relocation where it will be pretty well unnoticed unless you are sitting at the head of the dining table.....my seat, and it booms into your left ear.
That was the Monday after Christmas. On Tuesday we went into town to buy an HDMI cable to properly connect it to the tv. R was convinced the HDMI needed to cost us a lot of dollars. I stymied him with some research from credible sources like CNET. If you are an audio perfectionist you may want to pay $60 for a 3 metre cable, but a $5 HDMI cable will do the job. We visited DSE and theirs were expensive and I was just not going to pay huge amounts. I never told R, but I think one of our machines is connected by an HDMI cable I bought in a $2 shop kind of place. We were on our way to check Officeworks when I suggested we looked in Big W at QV. Sure enough, a 3 metre cable for $20. That is fine. And then the fun started.
Our cables between units and the tv are concealed within the wall. I have dabbled in that area before when I ripped out old style dvd connections and as I pulled the wires out, with wire I twitched on, I pulled through the new HDMI cable for our new dvd player.
R imagined he could just drop the HDMI cable in the top hole in the wall and pick it up at the bottom hole. I knew that wouldn't work. The space is tight. There are obstructions.
My plan was the only way. Pull an existing cable out of the wall with a wire attached and then pull through with the wire two cables. I might add at this point, I am getting to old for these shenanigans of getting down on the floor in a confined space and doing stuff. That is what I did and mucked it up badly by pulling the wrong end and just pulled the cable out without pulling the wire through. I did call myself some terrible names. OK, there are two more cables and two more chances but could two HDMI cables with their big plugs be pulled through? No, I judged. This is our second last chance. I am a little confused now as there were three cables to pull through. Ah yes, I need to pull through another wire and will use another cable to so. I was now very focused and tied three lengths of wire, after some unravelling to one cable and pulled them through. Then with some difficulty we pulled through three HDMI cables. The first was hard, but the second two not so bad. Do you believe that I was sweating big time and ready to punch R on the nose for his idea of a sound bar? Had R's nose not cost so much to make perfect, I may well have.
In total I suspect about four hours was spent on connecting the sound bar, working out settings and hiding the HDMI cable. Never mind, we have a great sound system for our tv. I learnt from research, well I already knew but I had to show R in writing, that $20 is enough to pay for an HDMI cable. The Big W model for $20 is fine as it has high speed on the package and is ARC compliant. I did not know about ARC and nor did I know that only some HDMI sockets are ARC compliant. Fortunately our tv has one. Audio Return Cable?
But, at some point in the process I remembered the words of the tv salesman who sold us our tv. He said, this in the only tv that you will be able to properly hear without an extra sound system. And you know what?
The sound bar is not really that much better. It is a marginal and a barely noticeable improvement.
So there concludes the post about two old gay men who clearly have money to waste, about $450. As R said, kick me when I have the next bright idea.
The full conclusion is, why do we need sound bars? Why buy a tv that does not give good sound? Sound bars are a total rip off if you are not into those big block buster movies, yet they were selling like hotcakes.
I stood up after finishing this post and thought, well, the sound is really a bit better. I looked at the sound bar and it had not auto turned on as it is supposed to and was off. God, are we fools or what. There is now a distracting low booming noise coming at times from somewhere in the room, but at least the sub woofer hidden away in a corner is aesthetically pleasing.
You ain't staying there, my friend. To the corner with you.
Looks like the sound bar grew there.