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Ever notice how the vast majority of speakers you see are big and, you know, three-dimensional? Think about that, then think about that super-skinny HDTV of yours. With so little depth, how can it possibly squeeze in decent-sounding speakers?
It can't, which is why even top-end TVs tend to sound terrible. Fortunately, there's an easy (and inexpensive) fix: add a sound bar. In my experience, even a low-end model will provide a great improvement to your TV audio, if for no other reason than it points the sound toward you rather than down into the table or back into the wall.
And here's a seriously cheap option: Best Buy has the Dynex Soundbar DX-SB114 for $39.99. Shipping is free, but you're on the hook for sales tax. (You can also find it on Best Buy's Ebay page if you'd rather go that route for some reason.)
The Soundbar sits in front of your TV or mounts on a wall. It connects via RCA or optical input and includes a subwoofer output in case you decide to add some aftermarket bass to the equation. (That's an excellent option, one you don't always see with inexpensive sound bars.) There's also a 3.5mm audio input jack (cable included) in case you want to plug in, say, a phone or tablet.
You can toggle between three digital sound modes: standard, home theater and news. And that's about all there is to tell!
Oh, right: how does it sound? Based on the 4.2-star average rating from around 120 buyers, I'd say pretty good. Don't expect Bose-level quality; do expect louder, clearer sound than you were getting before. I suspect that if you're accustomed to your TV's built-in speakers, you're in for a pretty nice "wow" once you plug in the Dynex.
And for $39.99, this is really hard to beat. I have no idea how long it'll be available at this price, or what kind of inventory is available. My advice: grab one before they're gone!
Bonus deal: Music lovers! Google Play is at it again, this time with two seriously impressive freebies. First up: Kelly Clarkson's latest album, "Piece by Piece." Price at Amazon: $12.99. Also available gratis: "21 Classic Rock Favorites," which includes nothing but awesome tunes from the '70s and '80s. Heart, Kansas, Boston, The Romantics -- every track's a winner. As always, you need to have a credit card or gift card on file with Google.
Bonus deal No. 2: Gamers! Before you drop another $60 for a year of Xbox Gold Live, check this out: CDkeys has a 12-month Xbox Gold Live subscription for $42.99. It's delivered instantly via download. That's just about the best deal I've found, though if you know of a cheaper option, by all means share it! By the way, Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut is currently free for Gold subscribers.
Bonus deal No. 3: Gadget lovers! Is there anything more "gadgety" than a Bluetooth-controlled LED light bulb with built-in speaker? (Answer: no.) Today only, over at Meh, you can score one of two Awox StriimLight LED Bluetooth speaker-bulbs for $14 or $20, depending on which version you choose. Either way, shipping adds $5. These sell for $43 and $80 elsewhere.