We really encourage getting an external sound system - that'll provide much more satisfying sound experience than typical afterthought speakers built in the TV.
Sure, for quality there is sort of an entry level cost involved. We think it very worthwhile as well selected sound will give speakers you can pleasently here for many years. A basic power source, usually a receiver, is needed to drive the sound system. Speakers can be selected from good speaker specialist makers, starting with just two then adding on all the way up to 9.1 if desired.
My friend jostenmeat s personally concerned with state of the art codex abilities. Nice idea, yes, but not a startling difference for average users. His fine system is over ten grand, I think & he is now adding on/improving. Contemporary receivers are very much better than any of those 20 years ago & of great value. Getting just what is needed, $200-250 allows more budget for where the biggest & most personal difference is - speakers. Maximize budget for them.
We want you to commit to a bit of work - getting out there to audition speaker selection.
The big box stores, initials BB & CC have common brands you can start with. I suggest forgetting about component makers brand speakers such as Pioneer, Sony, Yamaha, etc. They do have specialist brands such as JBL, Klipsch, Polk, Boston Acoustics, etc. that are very worthwhile. Like JBL is so stable that one can add on within the same series of JBL, often for perhaps 20 years. Let me mention Bose, highly marketed brand as OK, but not best value.
Look beyond big boxes to experienced independents. I can't guarantee their perfection, but they have already survived invasin o the big box stores. Their staff is more consistently knowledgable. When not in mid rush, they are most always eager to serve as guidance for modest buyers - not just multi thousand system purchasers. They tend to not have a wide array of speaker brands, but a few good ones they can better know & represent.
Please seek out brands such a these to audition with your own CD which you are intimately familiar with. It must have significant vocal content. Rock music is rarely the best to use as sound engineers mix them strangely. So, maybe light classical or traditional pop standard bearers like Sinatra. Vocal is mid-range, but that is surprisingly difficult to reproduce well. Trust your instincts. If you think something may have been distortion - it was. Most common is sibilance which sounds sort of like a lisp or voice breaking up into distortion. If a speaker can't handle this well; forget about proceding to judging highs & lows.
One posted saying to listen in order from least expensive & when extra bucks don't bring better sound to your ears, you are done. Nice idea; tough to do.
More subtle than component progress, speakers nonetheless have improved capabilities over time without nearly so much obsolescence & replacement. Affordable ones can now have an enviable
sound. Look or brands such as Paradigm Atom Monitor @ $249/pr; PSB Alpha B1 @ $279/pr; Epos ELS3 @ $329/pr; Monitor Audio Bronze B@ @ $399/pr; Usher S520 @ $400/pr; or NHT Zero @ $500/pr.
Less specifically, seek out to hear Infinity, Wharfedale, KEF, Quad, & Definitive Technology as good targets. My list does not pretend to be perfect & certainly not complete. There are many brands. Well, this is a quickie version of my pitch.