There's no reason why a small room can't accommodate a big HDTV - as long as that TV is flat. A flat-panel set on a stand will protrude only about 8 inches from the wall. But if you really want to optimize your living space, you can buy mounting hardware from the manufacturer and install the TV on the wall (see "How to Mount a Flat-Panel TV"). In a small room, you'll want compact and unobtrusive speakers, and many models can be wall-mounted along with your TV. A high-quality all-in-one speaker/receiver package should do the trick without lumping too much onto the total system cost.
SLS Q-line home theater speaker system
There are plenty of cheap home-theater-in-a-box systems, but few are worth the price of the carton the speakers are stuffed into. Here's one that is worthwhile: the SLS Q-line system. This $799 HTiB includes a Dolby Digital/DTS receiver, five satellite speakers with ribbon drivers, and a powered subwoofer. The styling is sleek, the satellites can be wall-mounted, and performance is really good for a rig this inexpensive. Best of all, it fits snugly into a small space. (See the review and see it in action.)
Sony Bravia 40-inch LCD HDTV
Since a small, multipurpose room is likely to see use during the day, you'll want a flat-panel LCD because they generally do a better job than competing plasma sets at retaining picture contrast in bright spaces. Sony's KDL-V40XBR1 ($3,500) looks good during daytime, but you'll also be impressed by its picture when you draw the drapes and watch DVDs. And on its sizable 40-inch screen, those movies will have cinematic impact when viewed from the relatively short throw of your couch. Adding to the fun: a side-panel USB port, for plugging in a digital camera or flash drive and for watching digital slide shows, and a component-video input, for connecting a game console. (reviewed in December 2005)
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