Q: What are my options with speaker types?
Speakers can go just about anywhere in a house as well as outside. Depending on the room and the application, you could be selecting traditional floor-standing speakers, bookshelf models, speakers installed in walls and ceilings, and on-wall models designed to complement your flat-panel display.
In general, figure out what the best answer is for a particular application, and you'll find the speaker that meets your needs. For a surround application, you might end up with a combination of types. For two-channel stereo music, the choice might depend more on whether you want your speakers to be showcases or subtleties in your room environment.
Bookshelf speakers were originally designed to offer a combination of performance and the ability to hide the speaker somewhat by putting it in a bookcase.
On-wall speakers parallel the popularity of flat-screen displays like LCDs and plasmas that hang on the wall. They are often a bit easier to install than in-wall speakers, and they are designed to complement the appearance of the display on the wall.
In-wall and in-ceiling speakers were originally designed for background music and announcement systems. They have evolved into more performance-oriented products. Today, the best in-wall speakers rival what you can accomplish with an excellent in-room product. Even in-ceiling speakers have improved greatly.
Some things never change, however: There has always been a huge variation in quality among the possibilities in any category. The difference between what most people have heard and what the best products out there offer remains enormous, whether the right solution for your situation is in-wall, on-wall or in-room.