Originally Posted by gewbert
Thank you BiggAW for the very helpful post.
Right now I have a 32 inch TV I bought for about $500. I'll probably upgrade at some point (once I find a good deal, probably Black Friday) to a bigger TV, but probably somewhere in the $1000 ballpark (have to justify it to the wife :-)). And no worries, I quickly noticed that getting better speaker wire is a must.
I noticed that the Onkyo had a passive sub and was concerned about that. Would that affect me being able to upgrade the speakers in the future? I was leaning more towards the Yamaha because of the powered sub...but if it's not a problem then I could lean back the other way.
This one has a powered sub:
The others ones will limit you unpowered subs, as they don't have sub pre-outs. However, at the point that you're paying $300 for an HTIB, consider it basically as a paired set, just with the ability to use normal speaker wire. The AVR in a set like that isn't going to be good enough for adding your own speakers. The thing is, in order to peice a set together on your own, you're probably going to end up in the $1000 range, in which case you're looking at a totally different product. I got the S9400THX because while it's not an amazing HT setup, it's the equivalent of a $1k+ HTIB for ~$700, and provides a great value with minimal research and configuration.
I'm a little leery of Monoprice stuff speakers and switches and stuff like that. They just seem super cheap. Onkyo is a better known brand... What you also need to look at is speaker size. At the <$400 price point with Onkyo, you're getting much bigger speakers than that $100 Monoprice setup, which is going to give you much more full sound. I wouldn't recommend dipping below something like this:
since that will give you decent sized speakers, making it a decent match for a $1k TV. My parents have a very similar system with a $1700 Sony TV, but they watch TV almost exclusively, not movies. With that Monoprice system, you're spending a little over $300, and getting a lot less than getting the whole HITB with Onkyo, even if you lose the powered sub.
Once you go significantly above $1k on the TV, you should be looking up to something like the S9400THX, otherwise you'll be rather out of balance for sound vs. picture, at least if you watch movies.
You should also consider the size of the room. Bigger houses need more expensive audio gear to fill the room up with sound.