Sound systems are available in a range of prices; here are general guidelines. For HDTVs, see Choosing the Right TV. Manufacturers continually add features while keeping prices fairly steady, so careful shopping can often net you bargains.
$200–$1,000: Home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems. A few deluxe models are priced much higher. HTIB systems usually have small speaker systems.
$250–$2,000: Sound bars offer an alternative when you simply don’t have the space for a surround sound system. Many include a separate subwoofer.
$1,000–$3,000: Component home theater systems, based on an A/V receiver.
$3,000 and up: Component home theater systems with top-of-the-line receivers or preamplifier/amplifier separates, and large speakers.
Essentially, for all equipment, more money can buy more features and higher maximum listening levels.
If you’re planning a component system, save about 50 percent of your budget for the speakers.
For more details on HTIB systems, sound bars, and components, see Surrounding Yourself with Sound.