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Getting Better Sound

To get better sound in an HTiB system, you have to increase the power or use bigger speakers—or both. To do this, you have to spend a little more money than you do with a basic HTiB system.

For example, if you move into the $400–600 range, you can find quite a few systems with more power amplifiers and larger speakers. Some systems in this price range get up to 1,000 watts of total power, with front channel power at 100–150 watts/channel. You'll also find bigger and more powerful subwoofers for room-shaking bass. While many of these systems still feature satellite speakers, some offer larger, floor-standing speakers, or at least satellites on a stand. Two of the most popular systems in this price range include Panasonic's $499 SC-HT920 and JVC's $549 TH-M603.

Double your budget, and you'll get sound approaching that of separate components. For example, Yamaha's $999 YHT-F1500 is a 6.1-channel system with top-of-the-line specs; it also features slim-profile speakers that look great next to a plasma television display.

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