Q It seems that the sound I get from my TVs is not very good, at least to my ears. We have two TVs, both flat panels. One is a smart TV while the other is not.

I have been told that the speakers on flat-screen TVs are often directed toward the rear of the TV. Is this correct? Should I invest in additional speakers that are front oriented?

-- A.D., Pittsburgh

A The speakers are either directed rearward behind the TV, or downward, from the bottom of the bezel. No matter how they point them, the sound from pretty much every flat-panel TV in existence is lousy. Some of the Sony 4K TVs have largish speakers mounted to either side of the screen and they sound better than most, but most people with an expensive 4K TV are probably going to have it hooked up to a separate sound system anyway.

I think better TV sound is always a good investment, especially if you like sports, movies, or TV talent shows with a lot of singing. Even talk shows will benefit. Though they may not be heavy on action, music or special effects, hard-to-understand dialogue from flat-panel TVs is probably the biggest, most common complaint I have coming in to the column.

There are lots of options, from soundbars to complete theater systems to adapting a pair of powered computer speakers to your TV. I recently received a ZVOX SoundBase 320 for testing and am anxious to put it through its paces. It's only $199 and your flat-panel TV (29-42 inches in size) sits directly on top of it, so placement is rarely going to be an issue. It works with your TV's remote control, no subwoofer is required and it has circuitry to enhance vocals. You can see it at www.zvoxaudio.com.


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Mediasonic DVR update: I have received emails expressing a lot of reader interest in the Mediasonic DVR. My review and recommendation is taking me a bit longer than I anticipated, but soon I will have more information about the product and my first-hand experience with it. Stay tuned (no pun intended!).

Wharfedale speaker giveaway: Two years ago I gave away a home theater for my column's 10th anniversary. Knowing this, the PR executive for Wharfedale speakers recently contacted me about facilitating another giveaway. Wharfedale wants to give away a pair of its excellent Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 bookshelf speakers ($450/pair) as a graduation/Father's Day season promotion. I love providing Sound Advice readers with news about great deals, and what could be better than free? Of course, I agreed and information about the giveaway will appear in the column next week as well as on my website soundadviceblog.com.

I explained that due to the timing of when columns are written and they actually appear in print, the giveaway would not take place before Father's Day, especially since we would want to give people time to get their name in the hat. So, if you are reading this after Father's Day, rest assured that you still have a chance to get the speakers.

You can see the Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 at www.wharfedaleusa.com . I will be reviewing a pair soon. Based on my experience with the smaller Diamond speakers, I am confident they will sound excellent.

Contact Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com and use the "submit question" link on that site.