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Soundbars to boost your home entertainment experience

The Vizio V21 soundbar features a wireless subwoofer.

The Vizio V21 soundbar features a wireless subwoofer. Credit: CBS Interactive

With a lot of folks still staying home, the living room, den or family room has become the main entertainment venue for most Americans. More than ever, people have been spending more time hunkered down watching television and listening to music.

Whether you're a movie maven or a music buff, you might be looking to take your home entertainment experience to the next level. That might mean purchasing a streaming device or something to crank the audio capabilities of your smart TV up to 11. These three soundbars offer an audio upgrade you can enjoy for years to come.

WHAT Vizio V21

THE COST $149.99

AVAILABLE FROM vizio.com

The Vizio V21 is a 2.1-channel soundbar which offers a host of connections including HDMI. The sound is amazing and it has a wireless subwoofer that is a roughly 8-inch black cube equipped with a down-firing driver and rear port. No more wires trailing across the room.

DTS Virtual:X compatibility enables humble soundbars like the V21 to emulate a surround system, and it performs very well.

If you want to buy a soundbar on a budget, it's tough to do better than this.

WHAT Creative Stage

THE COST $89.99

AVAILABLE FROM us.creative.com

The Creative Stage offers everything you need for sound on a smaller TV or gaming system: HDMI, a separate subwoofer and a clear display. It also helps that the sound is light years ahead of other systems at the $100 mark. It's perfectly suited to desktop listening and also performs well with rock or dance music. The onboard display makes it easy to tell which input you're on.

The sound bar and subwoofer combo sets the standard for a desktop gaming system on a budget that's also compatible with smaller TVs.

WHAT Roku Streambar

THE COST $109.99

AVAILABLE FROM roku.com

The Roku Streambar offers a no-brainer upgrade for people who want to improve the sound and streaming capabilities of their TVs on the cheap. It's an all-in-one entertainment system with a streamer and a speaker in one. It offers 4K video output and excellent dialogue reproduction in an easy-to-use unit. It lacks a subwoofer, but it can still beat your TV speakers. It's biggest weakness is a lack of bass.

If you want to upgrade an older TV, this is the best way to do it.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: senior associate editor Ty Pendlebury and copy editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.

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