Originally Posted by thirdmonkey
So, put together "HTIB solutions" for each given budget. Please include a DVD player.
Budget total: $300
Budget total: $500
Budget total $1000
i kicked around this idea at first, but didn't go that route b/c speakers are subjective, and good deals come and go all the time. so a good $500 solution might not be around two weeks from now. and there are just too many good options once you go north of $500, i wouldn't want to inadvertently box people in to a few solutions.
but i hear what you're saying...you need a jumping off point. that starts with a solid receiver. the 7.1 onkyo 504 for $169 refurbished is probably the best deal going in receivers.
the velodyne front row 5.0 system will get you to 5.0 with quality satellite speakers for another $200. some might opt to go for a pair of quality bookshelf speakers for about the same amount of $$, if he/she has the patience to build their system slowly. this is what i would do if starting over, as there are excellent budget speakers available from polk, athena, AV123, SVS, etc.
for the sub, there are a couple of decent performers for < $200, like the AV123 x-sub, and the athena P-4000. if you just want a sub that is a step above HTIB quality but not much else, the dayton 10" from partsexpress will do the job for $125. the king of the ~ $200 subs though, is the Bic H-100, which is significantly better than any comparable HTIB sub for about $230 from the authorized ebay seller.
a good sub is the heart of a budget HT. the taste for bass is quite addictive, once you've heard what an exceptional sub can do. these subs though, are more for the $500+ crowd.
as for the DVD players, they are basically a dime a dozen. you can even get a brand name upconverting player for ~ $70, so i'll leave those discussions to the experts in the DVD forum.
take time, learn, ask questions. you'll be glad you did in the end.