Not sure how a sound bar can sound worse that the tiny speakers included in most tv sets these days.
Because if the sound reaches the intended destination (your ears) at a different time, it will be muffled. This is the same reason that home theater owners use treatments in their rooms to eliminate (or at least reduce) sound reflections. Sound reflections are not good, but that's the principle behind sound bars. Let say the same sound is coming from the "right" and "left" front speakers. The soundbar will "reflect" those sounds off of a wall, to simulate surround sound (sound comes from the sides). Your soundbar bounces the right sound off of a sheetrock wall 5' away from you. The soundbar bounces the left sound off of a windowed wall 15' away from you. What do you think will happen? The two sounds will reach your ears at different times, creating an echo. During that echo, other sounds (i.e. center channel dialogue) will be harder to understand.
I have had a Yamaha YSP-1000 in my master bedroom for a long time now. The Yamaha sound bars differ from the cheezy knock offs in that they have a multitude of speakers each with their own digital amplifier.
And that's a $1500 - $2000 sound bar, so I would hope it would be decent.
But, for that much money you could have had a much better "real system" than a soundbar. I recently put together a complete system for a neighbor (receiver, 5.1 speakers) for under $1K that would blow that soundbar out of the water (and you'd actually have true surround).