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


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

Answer Part II:

Our last post was about why you’d dramatically step up your TV viewing experience by adding better sound to your high definition flat screen TV. So how can you do that? Well, there are lots of options available. Here are a few listed in order of simplest to most complex:

1. Connect the TV to your already existing stereo system. It might even be possible to use some of your existing equipment and expand it into a full surround sound system. But even in its simplest form, a good two-channel audio system can add a lot to the sound that comes from most flat screen TVs.

2. Add a “soundbar” to your TV. These are designed to be mounted directly under the TV if it’s mounted on a wall or sit below and in front of the TV if it’s placed on a cabinet or shelf. Soundbars negate the need for multiple speakers placed around your room, as many of them create a simulation of surround sound. Make no mistake; the simulation isn’t as involving as a true multi- channel system but it can be pretty good. Some sound bars include a separate subwoofer and/or a DVD/Blu-Ray player. If the one you choose doesn’t, you can always add them independently.

3. Get a compact “home theater in a box” type system. The quality of these is all over the map, and unfortunately, many are mediocre, at best. As always, you can count on us to guide you through the maze.

4. Install a full surround sound system. You can get 5.1 to 11.2 channel systems but adding more channels beyond 5.1 is really icing on the cake. The extra channels will enhance the experience and can add more realism to the soundtrack, but you can get a killer sound system with just 5.1 channels too. Today’s higher performance compact or flush mount speakers, digital processing surround sound receivers and compact subwoofers can deliver an amazing amount of sonic performance in an easy to accommodate package that won’t dominate the décor of your room.

More details in the next post…