After multiple estimates from local media companies, describing ingenious and very expensive ways of hiding wiring and speakers using the state-of-the-art electronic devices combined with some destruction and reconstruction of walls and ceilings - it came down to better quality 2-channel sound or poorer quality surround sound, but they said we couldn't have both.
That's when I noted the Yamaha YSP series of sound processor/sound bars. I took a chance on the most recent model, the YSP-4300 (which isn't cheap, but can be purchased for more than 1/3 off retail price if you look hard enough) and the results have been fantastic. You get a wireless sub and a large, but trim and stylish soundbar that looks great under the TV. Actually the term soundbar doesn't do the 4300 justice. It's actually a 24 speaker array plus subwoofer, amplifiers and digital signal processing technology to generate up to 7.1 output. There are 4 HDMI inputs, optical inputs, USB, etc. It can process Dolby digital, DTS and various other audio formats to generate surround sound from two channel input. It even imports iPad video with the apple HDMI cable. All at a price less than 1/3 of what the stereo installer guys wanted to charge.
I've eliminated 2/3 of my previous wires, which helped make set-up actually fairly fast and easy. The manual is on CD, which is unfortunate, but is easier to navigate on-line from Yamaha on a tablet you can have with you where you need it. The instructions are a little minimalistic, and there are a few quirks, and some things needed to be done twice to work right, but in particular the sonic calibration is fast, easy and automatic -- an included microphone sets speaker distance, angles, volumes, etc. accurately in only several minutes Set-up of the entire unit takes a while, but only because of the many, many features and variations the system includes.
I was worried because the TV is in a room with a loft above, an irregular height tall ceiling, several open walls, a staircase and multiple other features that I thought would interfere with good surround sound - but the system calibrated 7.1 with the wireless subwoofer and the sound is GREAT. I get great surround sound as well as high-quality audio. It's not the audio quality I had with my tube amp and speakers, but I wasn't expecting or needing it to be.
There are available modes for everything including FM, iPhone/iPod/iPad, cable, sports, music, DVD's and Blu-ray's, and virtually every kind of audio/video input you can think of - including 4K pass-through for stuff that hasn't even been invented yet. The remote works well, and can control some of my other equipment. My Logitech Harmony universal remote recognizes the 4300, and controls the functions without a problem - except the 4300 has so many features and choices that they go on for pages and pages on the remote's little screen. Easier to use the Yamaha remote to do anything complex.
All in all, I'm ecstatic that the sound quality and available features are as well designed and implemented as they are, and that I don't have to worry about my wife complaining about the ugly speakers any more. For me, it's a "win-win" situation, and one of the best purchases I've ever made.