i think maybe your dollar would be best spent on putting together a 2.1 with the possibility of adding pieces to get a 5.1 ,6.1, or a 7.1 if that is what you want . start with buying a receiver that has the future capabilities you want. i agree that cheap sony's are probably best to avoid , onkyo isn't so hot lately either . amazon.com is a good place to look at some things , the reviews people write are relevant regardless of where you buy it .
i had for many years just a 2 speaker stereo setup and a good Forrester for movies and games proved to be an improvement over tv speakers . i also might add that a stereo does give the perception of direction and such to do with sounds , but Dolby pro-logic has a couple more dimensions naturally in sounds being directional.
if you would like to go for the box system , maybe yamaha is worth a look , their receivers are descent and you could upgrade to better speakers later and the speakers that yamaha would supply would be ok in the mean time .
i haven't heard any klipsch speakers yet , but it on my to-do list , i have heard lot of good about klipsch . if you don't care for klipsch i might recommend a look at jbl or infinity i think is now owned by harman , the parent company. polk might be a good one to check out as well .