ElectronicHouse.com just finished up a series of articles covering top picks for LCDs, plasmas, receviers, and 5.1 surround systems. They asked the AVS forums for input and parlayed (ie copy/pasteed) the info into an article. From what I've gleaned of it, they take bang for your buck into consideration.
All of their prices are MSRP, and as we all know, we can do better on Amazon/Froogle.
Not that this is an end all be all list of the bests, but it should at least be a good guideline for people looking for this stuff.
5.1 speaker systems
note: these sets will run about $1,500+ (which I don't think is the erm, average price one spends on speakers). However, a really good set of speakers should never need to be replaced and should last long enough to be passed into another generation.Receivers under $1,000LCDs 42-52 inchesPlasmas
Checkout the Black Friday ads and pick up a nice Sharp LCD or Panasonic Plasma.
Same with the surround sound.
There's no need to put up so much money on a sound system unless you're an audiophile.
AVS Forums has gone from being a top consumer website to complete trash with the invasion of the AVS Nazis and corporate shills.
Bigger speakers > smaller. 6 to 8 inch woofers are your friends. You also want tweeters, avoid HTiB setups that have either single-driver satellites or mini-woofers.
Wattage is a pretty useless rating when comparing speaker systems.
Look for good materials in the cones and enclosure e.g.Kevlar and wood are good. Cardboard and plastic is bad.
Thick cheap wire > thin expensive wire
Anything Bose can choke on a dick and die.
Check out Buttkickers/Aura bass shakers for a seriously cool upgrade with huge bang for your buck.
I want to use it for PS3, possibly 360 in the near future and TV/Blu-ray viewing. Surround sound will be coming in the near future as well, so if the sound is a deal-breaker it's not a big deal.
I've heard nothing but good things about Samsung's 5 and 6-series panels in the AVS forums and from random reviews scattered over the net. I've also seen them in person, and they look as good as anything else in stores. I didn't know or think that some of it could be shilling from Samsung though...