Surround sound, home theaters and stereo systems are very intimidating to many and this could result in a tendancy to just forget about it. It isn't that complicated. In the last couple years, options have multiplied and become much more affordable as a result.
There are a couple considerations. Budget, room size and preference being the major ones.
An important restriction has to do with the size of the room in which you're planning to set up the audio system. The bigger the room, the more power you'll need. Receiver audio output can range from 50 watts (RMS) per channel, which is fine for a small room. For a larger room, you'll be looking at 100 watts or more. Remember that the speakers you buy should be built for this power. If you want more details RMS Power and choosing a receiver take a look here.
|Marantz AV-7005 Back Plate (Is this too much?)|
Of course, your budget will narrow down your options. To avoid overspending, set your budget for yourself before you go shopping. The upside to getting a simpler surround sound model (Home Theater in a Box-HTIB) is that it can be easier to set up than a higher-end option. Now if you're looking at the back plate on this receiver on the left here(Marantz SR-7005) and you want no part of it, consider the HTIB option to simplify matters.
If you want to take a look at this option take a look here first Building an affordable home theater system - Part 1
So what do you do if you don't know much about the technology and don't have too much money to spend but are impatient to get a surround sound system? This may seem like a crippling combination, but experts maintain that it's still possible to achieve movielike sound quality at home. The secret is to start simple and learn how the receiver functions before moving up to high end tech. Simple doesn't mean buy some crap. If you look in the receivers section under ONKYO, Pioneer or even Sony, you'll see you can get some mid-ranged products for reasonable prices. Same goes for Home Theaters in a Box(which includes speakers and the receiver). You can find Home Theater in a Box in the menu above as well.
You'll find what you need to know most importantly. How to save yourself some cash and get solid hardware.
Building an affordable home theater system - Part 1
Building an affordable home theater system - Part 2