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 Australia’s most reliable TV sound systems

CHOICE members reveal their favourite home hi-fi brands in our reliability and satisfaction survey.

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Last updated: 31 July 2020
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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.

Brand-based results

There are many home audio brands, however our survey focuses on consumer products from major manufacturers.

Sound system performance by brand
Brand Reliability score (%) Satisfaction score (%)
 Panasonic (71)  88  81
 Yamaha (179)  88  84
 Sony (172)  87  79
 Bose (171)  85  84
 LG (168)  85  78
 Samsung (293)  85  81
 Other (303)  81  79
 Sonos (150)  79  89
 Average (1507)  84  81

Reliability scores are based on data from 2015–19, 5 years. For the reliability scores, differences of 4% or more between brands are significant. 

Most popular brands

Samsung is the most popular brand with 19% of respondents owning at least one of their audio products. Yamaha (12%), Sony (11%), Bose (11%) and LG (11%) are also popular.

Most reliable brands

Panasonic, Yamaha, Sony, Bose, LG and Samsung are equally reliable according to our members. These brands all scored similarly.

Highest owner satisfaction

Sonos owners are very happy with their purchase, particularly with regards to sound quality.

Common problems

The question of good vs bad sound quality is quite subjective. While some people like a lot of bass, others want their dialogue to be clear and crisp. Because of these personal preferences, audio quality doesn't factor into our survey.

Of those who participated in our survey, 72% of respondents had never experienced problems with their sound system. Only eight percent of respondents contacted the brand for service support, but of them, 49% did so because of a major failure. So, the odds of something going wrong aren't huge, but if you do face a problem then there's a chance it'll be a big one.

The most common complaints relate to issues with wireless connectivity. More specifically, while Sonos owners are happy with their purchases, many said that initial set-up is difficult and they were frustrated when the equipment couldn't be controlled with the TV remote. Sonos is also planning to end support for some older products which caused concern among respondents.

Surround sound satisfaction

We also asked members to tell us which type of hi-fi they owned and their level of satisfaction with the purchase. This focused on the particular set-up and whether it was a soundbar, two-channel stereo system or a full surround sound set-up.

Sound system performance by brand
 Type  Reliability score (%)  Satisfaction score (%)
 Hi-fi stereo (77)  91  82
 2.1 surround sound (103)  88  78
 Soundbar (789)  84  81
 Other (77)  84  83
 5.1 surround sound (222)  83  85
 7.1 surround sound (105)  81  88
 Average (1373)  84  81

For the reliability scores, differences of 6% or more are significant. No individual service satisfaction score to report on as all n<50.

Soundbars are by far the most popular item among our respondents, followed by a traditional 5.1 surround sound set-up. Interestingly, more complicated set-ups such as 5.1 and 7.1 surround are less reliable than other configurations in our survey.

Meanwhile, members with advanced set-ups, such as 5.1 and 7.1, report greater satisfaction with their purchases. Though soundbars are getting very good at replicating surround sound, you're not going to get the true experience unless you install front and rear speakers and a subwoofer. This may be why satisfaction scores are higher among those that built a genuine home cinema.

About the scores


Reliability figures are based on owner assessment, not test data. We use the data we collect from members to rate the most popular brands for reliability. We ask owners if their product has broken down in the past 12 months, taking into account the age of the products so we can compare brands in a fair way.

Owner satisfaction

We ask owners to tell us what they thought of the products they own, rating them from 'Excellent' to 'Terrible'. We've used this information to give each brand an owner satisfaction rating so you can see what people who use the brand, day in, day out, think of them.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.