I want to keep my home theater simple, so I'm opting for a sound bar rather than surround sound. I thought I had all the questions answered, but I'm stumped on whether I want a sound bar with a built-in amp.
Most models have built-in amplification. As a result, they don't require a separate home theater receiver -- you just connect your audio components, and you're all set.
Some virtual surround and Left-Right-Center sound bars don't have built-in amplification. These are called passive sound bars and you need to connect them to a separate home theater receiver.
Passive sound bars are a good option if you already have a home theater receiver you'd like to use. Plus, a separate receiver can provide cleaner power and more sophisticated audio processing, so you might enjoy higher-quality sound.
So like every other question, the answer is it all depends.