Question: I just got a new flat-screen TV over the Holidays. Should I consider some kind of sound system for it?
Answer Part IV:
This post continues to proved general information about several of the choices available to add better sound to your flat screen:
Choice 3 – Get a compact “home theater in a box” type system. As we mentioned in the first posting on this topic, the quality of these is generally pretty poor. They’re designed for convenience and do-it-yourself installation far more than they’re designed for performance. In a way, these have replaced the old time console and compact stereo from years past. Unfortunately, like so many other products today, they’re part of the “rush to the bottom” philosophy of cutting costs and performance in order to sell lots of stuff.
The truth is, you can put together (with our help, if you’d like) a good surround sound system from separate components that’s far better than these pre-packaged systems. And we can make it easy to operate with a single remote control, so every member of the family will get maximum use and enjoyment from it. Finally, you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to do this because performance has increased while prices have come down for entry-level surround sound and even stereo systems over the past several years.
There are now compact speakers and subwoofers available that deliver far better sound than you’d expect from their size and price. Of course, there’s also the option of in-wall or in-ceiling speakers as well, but this gets into a more complex installation process that may or may not appeal to you. The same performance increases have brought about surround sound receivers that can reliably deliver substantial power, excellent sound, flexible video switching, multiple zones of operation and even sophisticated acoustic room correction for amazingly affordable prices. Which leads us to the last option, installing a full high performance surround sound system. But that's for next time…