3) Shelves or stands?
Many HTIBs come with speakers stands. You can get stands for those that don't. Whether you want stands, of course, is an entirely different question. Many people will place the small HTIB speakers on shelves near the TV, or in the days of CRTs and Rear-Projection TVs, along the top of the TV.
What should be remembered is that what's around the speakers can affect the sounds of the speakers. Placing speakers in a bookcase can give the speakers a shouty quality, like cupping your hands over your mouth. Placing the speakers close together along the top of a TV can reduce their capability for stereo imaging. Moving them closer to a wall can enhance their bass output, which may or may not be a good thing.
Experimenting with placement is likely worth the time, as you may find that putting the speakers in certain places, on stands or not, may sound better than others.
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