Originally Posted by Benella
Is the only answer a sound bar, or can I hook up a couple of external speakers to improve the sound quality?
There are various ways to skin this particular cat but, in simple terms, few modern (LCD) TVs have the required outputs (red and black 'crocs', like on the back of amplifiers) to directly connect and power external speakers.
Tinny sound is an increasingly regular problem of modern (LCD) TVs, as these get ever-thinner (so with ever less internal volume to amplify/'resonate' sound output).
After that, the 'solution' will depend on your set's interfaces (HDMI, optical out, digital coax out, composite out (red/white RCA sockets), even headphone 3.5mm socket) and what you have to plug in (existing stereo, soundbar, full-out 5.1 or even 7.1 surround system, etc. - and their own interfaces).
For what it's worth, I went from an ageing Pioneer VSX 5.1 amp with KEFs KHT-2005 speakers to a Yamaha YSP900 soundbar with sub (as an experiment into soundbars). The Yam is a piece of s**t compared to my 'old' setup: an improvement on the TV sound itself, for sure, but still 'hollow' and 'tinny', and nowhere near the much vaunted-'pseudo' 5.1 a lot of people and reviews claim these have (even after careful calibrations), putting out sound without any 'body' or 'consistency'. The sub drowns the mid-range and no amount of setting-up/tinkering seems to sort this out.
My cheapo 'kitchen' Philips 2.0 DVD HiFi (MCD122) sounds miles better, in the same room.
So, soundbars...IMHO, essentially the same problem as with thin-flat TV, and I suppose it's simply physics/acoustics: if the resonating volume (or even dimensions for sufficient speaker cones 'throw') is not physically there, no amount of 'trickery' will make up for it.
So much so that I'll be going back to a multi-speaker solution by Xmas, most probably a 'decent' 2.1, with large-ish speakers.