It is amazing when you think about all the sophisticated display technology that goes into a modern flat-screen TV. And then you get two tinny, 10-watt speakers to go with it. That’s fine for TV sitcoms, but it won’t cut it for movie effects and soundtracks.
That’s why you want a separate sound system. I’ll run through your best options from cheap to expensive. The good news: Even the least-expensive options will dramatically improve the sound of your new TV.
If you want improved sound for a TV in a spare bedroom or very small living room, a three-speaker system will be your best bet. You will also see these advertised as 2.1 systems. That’s because they have two (left and right) speakers and a subwoofer. Subwoofers are specialized speakers that produce low-frequency bass. It gives your music and movie soundtracks extra punch.
A good example system is the see-through Harman Kardon Soundsticks III ($170). This is intended for computers, but it works fine for TVs in smaller rooms. Just be sure your TV has a headphone jack. If you’re an audiophile and have the budget, the Bose CineMate Series II ($800) cranks out a more three-dimensional sound.
For a larger room, consider a sound bar. Sound bars are a huge a hit with HDTV owners because they look great and cut down on clutter. You don’t have to run speaker wires from one side of the room to the other!