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Discussion Starter #1
When I replace the TV with a flat screen, I'll probably need speakers. The built-in ones generally suck.

Can the TV directly drive small speakers, or must I use a separate amplifier?
 

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With most new TVs you'll need a receiver (or similar) to drive the speakers. I haven't seen speaker outputs on a TV in a while; that doesn't mean that they don't exist. You'll probably have to run a cable (RCA or digital) from the TV to a receiver, preamp and amp, etc. that will actually drive the speakers.

Another idea is a sound bar; it's a fairly inexpensive solution to add better sound to the TV. It's NOT the same as a 5.1 (or 7.1) surround set-up, but it's better than the stock speakers in most flat screens. Just make sure that you ask what kind of "audio outputs" the TV has while shopping. Some only offer Toslink (optical digital) outputs; some have RCA outputs AND digital outputs.


I hope this helps!!
 

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Another option, depending on your budget and the room available next to your tv, is a nice pair of bookshelf monitors. Likely get better performance and be more flexible for music monitors at a future date. There are lots of manufactures who make powered monitors, this is just an example of what I had in my Amazon wish list.
 

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Whoa! $400 for a speaker! (Focal CMS 40) I'd expect to pay $500-$600 for the TV, and under $100 for the audio.

Maybe I'll do what my son-in-law did ... take one of those all-in-one stereo packages (CD changer, AM/FM, speakers) and use that. I have three of those, left behind when my daughters grew up and moved out. So all I'd need is a TV with RCA line outputs.

My current and previous CRT TV sets had RCA audio outputs. I wonder ... is it common for flat panels to have them?
 

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Actually, what I pick up from reading the Forums is that a lot of TVs these days don’t have RCA outputs, only a coaxial digital. Especially the cheaper TVs. So make sure and do your homework before you buy if you need a TV with RCA outputs.

Regards,
Wayne
+1 on the "homework" remark; ask what kind of outputs it has. I've seen A LOT of new TVs that only have a Toslink (optical digital) output; speaker outputs are extremely rare, and RCA outputs are getting rare. There are inexpensive "converters" on the market that convert the coaxial/optical digital out to RCA, but it's best to know what you're getting.

Here's the converter; it's basically just an inexpensive DAC:

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=180-997
 

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A quick check of powered soundbars reveals that they include digital audio connections. If you don't want to spend the money on a real surround-sound audio system, they're probably the most economical way to go.

I suggest that you try to find some place where you can listen to some, though, so you'll know what to expect when you get it home.
 
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