I've Got a Question: Flat-Screen TV Audio, Part I


I just got a new flat-screen TV over the Holidays. Should I consider some kind of sound system for it?

Answer Part I:

Boy, don’t ya just love the new TV sets? After all those years of Popular Science and Popular Mechanicsmagazine covers showing “The Future Flat Screen” hanging on the wall, they’re finally here. And they’re more affordable than seemed possible just a few short years ago. But there’s an undercurrent that says in order to get the most from watching that giant TV you’ll need to spend some money on an audio system too. So what’s the scoop?

As you’ve probably noticed, one of the major talking points about these TVs is how thin they are. Each generation seems to get even skinnier. And the new LCD sets with LED backlighting have the potential to be the thinnest yet. Why am I telling you this? Because in order to get sound out of these super thin sets the manufacturers have to use smaller and smaller speakers in teeny tiny internal housings. The result is, compared to those old CRT (tube type) TVs, most of these flat screens bring us spectacularly great pictures with spectacularly mediocre sound.

Perhaps you’ve already noticed that the soundtrack is an integral part of the TV/film/concert watching experience. Many experts claim it creates at least half the emotional connection and overall involvement while watching. One of my favorite examples of this is the sounds that emanate from those spaceship flyovers, laser weapon blasts, explosions, etc. in science fiction films. As you know, there’s no atmosphere in space, so in reality, there’d be no sound at all. Every one of those exciting movie events would happen in total silence!  (There’d be no fires when those ships exploded too, but that’s another story.) Yet the film makers add in all those sounds anyway for the added impact and involvement they bring to the experience. Can you imagine what those films would be like without the contribution made by those sounds? They simply wouldn’t be the same, would they? There’s no question that good sound can dramatically enhance your TV watching experience.

So what can you do to enhance your new flat screen experience? Tune in next time…