High definition television sets are the wave of the future. They offer superior size, resolution and image over their non-HD brethren. Although manufacturers have increased the picture quality dramatically on TVs, they have done little to help their sound quality. Hooking up external speakers is the natural solution, but it requires a bit of planning and investment to achieve the aural results that can take your television experience to the next level.
External Receiver and Speakers
In most cases, the addition of speakers to a TV requires an external receiver. In simple terms, a receiver takes an audio signal, amplifies it and sends it to two or more larger speakers (which it also powers). A good receiver manages many types of audio and video signals and can switch between them with the push of a button. A trip to your local electronics or home theater store will reveal many receivers in many price ranges.
You will also need to purchase speakers. For normal TV viewing, two speakers will suffice. To take advantage of the 5.1 channel output from most DVDs, however, five speakers and a subwoofer are recommended to re-create a movie-like experience. Although this is the most expensive route to adding speakers to your TV, it is one of the best upgrades you can make to your home theater.
Home Theater In a Box
Another option is to buy what is known as a "home theater in a box." This budget solution usually includes a receiver, five speakers and a subwoofer. Sometimes, a DVD player is included. These are generally easy to set up, inexpensive and provide good, powerful surround sound. Although the speakers are small and the build quality of the components is inferior to more expensive equipment, the sound quality and bass output is usually more than adequate for the average listener.
Use What You Have
If you cannot afford to spend money on a new system, don't be afraid to use what stereo components you already have. Old speakers and receivers often sound just as good (if not better) than newer models, but may not have the digital bells and whistles of newer receivers. You can easily connect the audio output from your cable box or TV to the input on the back of an old receiver using a standard RCA cable. Quality, used stereo components can also be found for affordable prices at thrift shops, garage sales and eBay.