Most go that route as not to clutter their space with audio gear
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If you must have a compact system, can you use something like the ZVOX Soundbase 770? It is a very low profile base that sits under your TV. However, it is 18" deep, so it has to sit on a relatively large shelf under your TV. They also make smaller units.
ZVOX has always gotten great reviews, so it might be a keeper for you, if it fits your physical space.
I do not own a ZVOX unit, but have keep my eye on them for several years.
I see the soundbar as just that, a soundbar. Recently, I replaced a Yamaha soundbar with a Samsung HW-MS650 soundbar and couldn't be happier. It's much more fuller sounding, more intelligible, has better sound staging, has better extension and everything else betters the Yamaha in comparison.
Granted, it pales in comparison to my stereo when playing Blu-Ray movies but that's what my stereo is for. The soundbar is for regular TV viewing and the Samsung does a great job of it. To each, their own, I guess. 🤔
All the best,