By Don Lindich

Q. I have been reading your recent columns featuring TV speakers but still have not bought anything.

Though I want clear voices I am primarily interested in watching movies and sports with room-filling theater sound. The speaker or soundbar will be used with a 55-inch TCL 5-series Roku TV in a room that is 12 by 15 feet.

What can you recommend for under $200, and is Atmos something I should look for? I will play 4K Blu-ray, cable TV and Roku streaming (from the TV.)

— P.C., Sound Bend, Ind.

A. It sounds like a soundbar is the best fit for you. While both products improve voices, TV speakers have an emphasis on dialogue while soundbars deliver more of a home theater experience.

I do recommend an Atmos soundbar. Dolby Atmos is at the forefront of surround sound technology and many streaming channels now feature Atmos soundtracks, as do most UltraHD 4K Blu-rays. Sophisticated audio processing can now take an Atmos soundtrack and provide an immersive effect without having speakers all around the room.

Soundbars from TCL would be a good match for your TCL TV (or any TV, really) if you are looking for an affordable, yet high-quality soundbar with advanced technology. I have tested several models of TCL soundbars and headphones and have always been impressed by the natural sound, which is a perfect complement to TCL televisions and their natural picture quality.

The $149 TCL Alto 8i soundbar fits your needs and budget. It is incorporates two internal subwoofers and Dolby Atmos processing to create an expansive sound field, and built-in Bluetooth allows you to play room-filling music from your phone or tablet. I have tested it in my own home and you can’t do better for the money, especially if you want Atmos capability. If you can stretch to $299 consider the TCL 8+ 3.1.2, which adds a wireless subwoofer and incorporates a separate center channel driver and upward-firing Atmos speakers into the soundbar for an even more impressive home theater experience.

Deals and gift ideas

With the gift-giving season upon us, through the end of the year I will be featuring more capsule reviews and deals in the second part of the column.

ZVOX AV52 AccuVoice Noise Canceling headphones: The AV52 is the recently introduced update of the popular AV50 headphones, which I praised saying “there are no better headphones for flying.” While supplies last you can use the code SALE52 to save $130 on the AV52 headphones, reducing the $199.99 price to just $69.99.

Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch earphones: These earphones use extra-large drivers to create their uncommonly good sound and deep bass. Normally $119.99, they are now $89.95 and represent a top buy under $100, from a revered high-end brand.

Hanasco Sonic Electric Toothbrush: The Hanasco Sonic Electric Toothbrush I praised recently is now reduced to $27.99 on Amazon. The black and white appear to be sold out but pink was still available as of my deadline.

ZVOX AV157 AccuVoice TV Speaker: Anyone who missed the ZVOX AV357 deal or needs another TV speaker should pay attention to this one: Regularly $249, the code SALE157 brings the cost of the top-rated AV157 TV speaker down to only $129.

Contact Don Lindich via the “submit question” link at