Hi, I realize this could probably go into one of several AVS forums, but this seems to be among the most active. Hopefully a few of you can help me out.
My family room is approximately 12' wide by 20' long, with the TV facing the wall that's 20' away. The couch floats in roughly the middle of the room, about 8' from the TV. The TV sits in a built-in entertainment center with bookcases on either side and cabinets w/ doors below. Access above the ceiling is limited, but probably not impossible (would require some professional help).
The family room is our TV room and our house is small, with two young children--we don't watch TV or listen to music at very loud volumes. I have a 47" LG Smart TV w/ Nero integration, smart Blu-Ray player and Apple TV.
I currently rely on the TV's built-in speakers--adequate for volume, but not for quality. For music, I have a very old Pioneer component system with bookshelf speakers--I'm getting rid of this. I have a hard-wired ethernet connection to my router across the house, which I use for streaming media to the TV.
Here are my goals:
1. Stream music to the family room via a new audio source, which would also be the default audio for the TV.
2. Ideally, use the TV as my input switcher--not sure if I'll gravitate toward Apple TV, LG's built-in Nero app, or a WD My Book personal cloud external drive as the interface.
3. Make this as effortless as possible--ideally, my audio source would always be on for the TV and if I want to listen to music, I just hit the TV's "input" button and take it from there. Bluetooth would be nice, but not essential, since I don't keep much music on my iPhone or iPad.
4. Spend less than $500.
Here are my questions:
1. Do you agree my best bets are a soundbar or a pair of bookshelf speakers (which I already have room for)?
2. If I go the bookshelf speaker route, do I even need a receiver or sub? Can the speakers connect directly to optical audio-out?
3. Which direction would you suggest I take, and do you have specific recommendations?