Televisions are known for having relatively lacklustre sound, especially smaller low-end HDTVs where the focus is on a nice picture and not a superb audio experience. Supercharge your sound system on the cheap by using a pair of 2.1 computer speakers.
If you're serious about your sound system you'll eventually invest in a nice 5.1 surround system. What if you just want better sound without all the surround sound magic? Over at the technology blog Unplggd they've got a cheap suggestion for an easy sound system upgrade:
We, unfortunately, didn't dream up this idea, but rather caught a glimpse of it in the living room above. Glinting on either side of that white Samsung LCD are a pair of Harmon Kardon SoundSticks II.
We actually had these about 6 years ago and were quite impressed with the audio quality — the kit includes a pair of satellites and a subwoofer. Each speaker puts out 10 watts of power, while the subwoofer can handle 20 watts. That would double the output of the Samsung's speakers, plus add some bass.
If you're lucky you've already got a pair or two of decent computer speakers laying around and you won't need to spend a dime. I have a pair of Boston Acoustic 2.1 channel speakers from 1999 that sound amazing for their size and have supplemented many of my DIY projects. Even if you end up buying speakers you'll get way more for your money than you would purchasing a traditional stereo system. A hundred bucks spent on "computer" speakers gets you pretty good speakers with a nice thumping subwoofer. A hundred bucks spent on a traditional "theatre in a box" wouldn't even purchase half of the — much inferior! — setup.
If you've used computer speakers for non-computer applications, sound off about your franken-speaker projects in the comments below.