Just for kicks, take a peek at some of the entry level Onkyo HTIB (home theater in a box) systems on froogle.com. There should be something in your price range.
I am looking to purchase a new home audio system. It will be used only to listen to an iPod/laptop, as well as possibly audio from the TV. Audio is my main priority, as I would rarely use the system for movies or anything like that... occasionally using it with music channels on tv would be nice if its a possibility. I think I am looking for 2 speakers, a subwoofer, and a receiver. I am trying to spend $500 or less but if I have to go over by a little than I will save a little longer, as I am trying to get something nice. I am looking for sound quality, as well as a system that is capable of getting loud without losing quality. Any starting points would be great! Thanks!