I'm not sure you'll find anything outside of multimedia speakers for that cheap. I know Creative and Altec Lansing have some 5.1 setups that can be purchased for right around that price, but I believe they are all powered.
Sherwood has a small system available via Newegg... after shipping it would be about $250 or so. It only has two reviews... one excellent and the other poor. The rated poor was because the guy said he didn't realize he needed a receiver... :dud:
You won't find much worth owning for $250.00. I've listened to a few of those box systems that cost $400 and they sounded like tin cans. You could build your front left and right speakers for that and have something that would be pretty decent.
I'd wait until my budget grows otherwise you'll have $250 less to build something worth listenting to.
I might also suggest just getting two speakers. If your bedroom is like my bedroom, I think it'd be nigh-impossible to get the setup right to make the surround sound effective. Spending the extra $$ on better left/rights might be more pleasing in the end.
One inexpensive pair of speakers that are supposed to be REALLY good for the money are the Insignia's at Best Buy. Sold in pairs for $68, you could get six for $204. If you're the adventurous type, you could even modify them to get some extra performance. If you're interested, take a look here.
This of course doesn't include a sub. With these speakers in a bedroom setting, you probably don't even need a sub; however, if you must have one... I recently had a listen to an x-series sub from AV123. For $200, I think it's a total steal, and since it's small, it should fit into most rooms.
So, for $400 you could get a 6.1 surround sound system that I think would be amazing for the $$ -- but then it busts your budget by $150. If you want to stay within budget, and you stick with my suggestions above, you could go with a 2.1 system for $268. I'd think that'd be close enough not to be a deal breaker OR you can go with 3 pairs of the Insignia's for $204. OR (just to give you even more choices!) you can find the best pair of speakers for $250. This one obviously opens up a whole world of possibilities -- maybe a pair of Paradigm Mini-Monitors?
Alternatively, I've also heard some reviews regarding the Onkyo speaker systems. For example, this one might be pretty decent. I don't know how good they are now, but a friend of mine bought some several years ago and I was really surprised at how good they were for the $$.
Thanks for all the great suggestions and links! I've considered the Insignias but I don't really want anything too large. It will not be a critical listening area...just TV and a few DVDs....I've got my good system downstairs for important stuff. Any money over the $250 I'd rather sink in the main system. The x-sub is a great idea if I decide to piece something together. AV123 doesn't sell the Tykes anymore do they?
The Polk system looks promising - you've been happy with the sound Mike?
I am very happy with the system Chas, like you it is not my main system I just needed a compact system with good quality sound but not one that I would be shaking the walls with. For the money I do not think I could have found a more perfect solution to fit my needs.