At the risk of being jumped on by the anti-Bose contingent, I just want to point out the myth that advertising raises a product's price. On the contrary. Advertising usually leads to lower prices because it usually increases sales volume. Low sales volume often keeps prices higher because there are fewer unit sales providing the margin to cover the costs of making and distributing the product.
If Bose products are overpriced, it's because that's where the company has set their price points based on perceived value. Like it or hate it, Bose has created a brand that people are willing to pay a premium price for.
And while this may be hard for audiophiles to understand, some people evaluate audio products on more criteria than just the quality of the sound. Bose's home theater system with the tiny speakers sold like crazy because lots and lots of people wanted their audio hardware to virtually disappear. They were willing to trade some sound quality for visual aesthetics. If you've put thousands of dollars into a making a living room look good, you really don't want a stack of speakers the size of a refrigerator detracting from the decor.
Bose was the first major manufacturer to understand this about the high-end audio market. They also understood that people wanted a better sounding clock radio, and they invented the Wave.
Because of Bose's success over the past decade, other audio manufacturers have since gotten on board the small-speaker bandwagon. I wonder how long it would have taken if Bose had not led the way.
If a Bose system sounds good to you, then buy it. If visual aesthetics are not important to you, then you can likely find another system that will sound as good or better than the Bose for less money, and will still have speakers of a size that you can live with.
Here's one final consideration. Because of the strength of the Bose brand name, the resale value of your used Bose equipment will be higher than if you purchased a brand with less cachet--at least, that's what I'm seeing on Craig's List.