AVS Forum Addicted Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: NW Houston, TX
Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
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You would be better off in the long run to start with an A/V Receiver (AVR) and a pair of decent L/R speakers. Then add a center channel, subwoofer and surround speakers over time as budget allows. The problem with HTiB systems is that they are not expandable, use proprietary connections and generally have crappy speakers. There are exceptions, and the "bundles" which include a normal AVR plus speakers can be a decent deal (but those are above your budget).
Picking up a used AVR or finding a good Internet "deal" one for around $100-150 would be a good start, and give you a few hundred to get a good pair of speakers. I bought a good entry-level Denon AVR a few months ago for $129, for example.
Good luck, hope that helps,
Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50
NOTE: I am fixing photo links in my theater thread - if you find dead photo links elsewhere, please PM me and I will fix it.