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Easier Setup

If you don't want to bother with running cables from the front to the rear of your room, consider an HTiB system that funnels all the sound through a front speaker package. These virtual surround systems are easy to set up, since you don't have to run any cables to rear channel speakers. While you don't get true surround sound from this type of system, they trick your ears into thinking that you're hearing the rear channels, and are surprisingly effective.

For example, Denon's $799 D-M71DVSXP (PDF) is a three-speaker system, with front left and front right speakers (no center speaker), and a separate subwoofer. Dolby Virtual decoding simulates the surround sound effect through the two front speakers, as well as putting a "phantom" center channel between the speakers. Also popular is the $999 Bose 3-2-1 system, which uses also uses two front channel speakers (plus a subwoofer, of course) to produce front-channel stereo and simulate a rear-channel surround sound effect.

If you don't want to sacrifice true rear-channel sound, you can find HTiB systems that have wireless rear speakers. For example, Samsung's $599 HT-DS690 sends the surround signals via radio frequency (RF) technology to a digital wireless receiver tower (DWRT), so you don't have to run any cables from the front of the room to the rear. You still have to run wires from the rear receiver unit to the surround speakers, of course, but that's not a big deal.

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