A big TV without big speakers is just plain criminal. Alas, you can't just buy a pair and plug them directly into your LCD or plasma; you need a receiver to act as the hub and amplify the audio.
Of course, if you've ever shopped for one, you know that receivers can cost a small fortune. But not today.
Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the Pioneer VSX-521-K 5.1-channel A/V receiver for $134.99, plus $5 for shipping. Unlike many Woot products, this one's new, not refurbished.
The VSX-521-K is nicely equipped for an "entry-level" receiver, offering such high-end features as four HDMI v1.4a inputs and support for 3D signals (like from a 3D Blu-ray player--think: yesterday's deal). It delivers 110 watts of power over its five channels--suitable for rooms of all sizes.
The receiver also offers all manner of fancy-pants audio decoding, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD. An included microphone helps you calibrate your speakers based on where they're positioned, and an optional Bluetooth adapter lets you stream audio from the likes of your smartphone. (Alas, it's expensive, selling for around $90. Lame, Pioneer, lame.)
If you're interested in reviews, check out the couple dozen on Amazon. They're kind of all over the place, so do your homework before pulling the trigger on this.
That said, this looks like a definite winner for anyone seeking an inexpensive home-theater hub. You could easily pay twice or three times as much for a receiver with the same feature set. But why would you?
Indeed, it's pretty rare to find a receiver like this selling for less than $200, let alone for $135. If you're tired of the tinny sound coming from your HDTV's built-in speakers, grab this big box and pull your old speakers out of the attic. You'll be amazed at the difference good audio makes.
Bonus deal: No speakers in the attic? Newegg has the Polk Audio Monitor60C Series II floor-standing speaker for $99.99 shipped. That's after applying coupon code EMCNHNC28 at checkout (and signing up for Newegg's newsletter if you haven't already). You'll need two of them, of course, but check out the stellar user ratings. Normally, these sell for $150 apiece.
Bonus deal No. 2: Nice little freebie today (and only today) for Kindle owners and puzzle fans: "Puzzlebook: 102 Puzzle Quizzes," normally $4.99.