The five-plus speakers and requisite wires of a surround-sound system have what's known in the electronics trade as low "spousal acceptance factor."
Thus the advent of surround bars, essentially tiny speakers built into a long case that slides unobtrusively under the TV.
The sound from these is not necessarily as spacious, but they do send audio all over the room.
"They're pretty effective in most living rooms," says Julie Govan of Crutchfield.com.
This Yamaha, which comes with a subwoofer you can hide behind the couch, is reasonably priced and a top performer.