I'm new around here. I've been a home theater enthusiast for years, but the finances have never supported the hobby until recently. Now, I'm finally building a decent system for my living room. (Some of you, I'm sure, will laugh at what I consider decent.)
A recent failure of my Blu-Ray player has prompted a long string of upgrades. Read on for more. Display
My TV is a Panasonic Viera 42" plasma (P42S2). 1080p, 2D only, 600Hz. Before that I had an HD CRT and I just can't give up those amazing black levels. I got it a couple years ago at a Black Friday sale, for well under what one would pay for a comparable full-array LED. Right now it sits on a small rolling TV stand which doubles as the home for the receiver and source devices.Receiver
I just upgraded from an Onkyo HT-S590 HTiB (5.1, rated 100w per channel, plus a 110w channel for the passive sub) that I bought used for $150. It worked fine for my purposes, but the sub is passive (and weak), and the receiver doesn't have any HDMI connectivity. I was using all component video connections, and digital (one coax and one optical) from the HD sources.
On Friday I took delivery of a Denon AVR-2313ci (7.2, 105w per channel, two sub preouts, two zones) which I bought new from Paul's TV at a decent discount from MSRP (thanks to Amazon for the bargaining chip!).Speakers
For now I still have the mains, center, and surround from the Onkyo HTiB. I hope to upgrade these, and I'm seriously considering a full set from Ascend Accoustics -- CBM-170 mains and surrounds, CMT-340 center.
I've added a pair of Polk Atrium 4 outdoor speakers, which I've wired up to the zone 2 outputs on the Denon and mounted on my deck with great personal effort
. Outdoor music is awesome! Subwoofer
I'm using a BIC V1020 subwoofer -- 10" ported, down-firing, 160w (350w peak). At first I was using this with the Onkyo receiver and the speaker-level inputs, but there's an unfortunate hum from the sub when the receiver is off, so I had to turn the sub on and off manually, which was annoying. This problem went away when I got the Denon and started using the preout. I tested the sub with a couple of movies and a car audio bass test CD, and I'm thoroughly impressed with the level of bass that's available in the $150 price range. I occasionally regret not going with a sealed enclosure sub, but generally only when watching non-HD television where they don't put a lot of effort into the sound track. It sounds great on music and movies to my ears.Source - Blu-Ray
This is where all of the upgrades started. I had an LG BD-570 that started refusing to play some newer BluRay discs. I called LG tech support and determined it would cost $80 plus shipping to Indiana just to have someone look at it, and then I'd have to pay for parts and labor if it was repairable. Instead, I bought a Panasonic BDT220 for not much more, but that introduced a problem: it only has HDMI out. I didn't want to go back to the dark ages of switching inputs in multiple places, so I convinced my wife to let me buy the Denon, which in turn required the purchase of the sub.
I'm an Amazon Prime member, so I get free streaming movies via the Amazon Instant Video app that's built into the player.Source - uVerse DVR
Not much to say here. 720p/1080i video and 5.1 digital sound.Remote
Pre-Denon, I was using the uVerse remote with much success. Along with the Denon, I picked up a URC R50 for a decent price. So far I'm fairly disappointed with the URC. The build quality is great and I like a lot of things about it, but it just doesn't offer enough advantages to justify not continuing to use the uVerse remote. I'm considering my options going forward, and right now the frontrunner is iRule.Total System Cost
TV: $690 (late 2011)
Speakers: $150 (for the whole Onkyo HTiB, private-party used)
5x 3' HDMI cables: $20 (two cables still unused)
Speaker wire: $42
15' RCA subwoofer cable: $15
18 pairs of gold-plated dual-screw banana plugs: $42
Banana-plug wall plates (2x two-channel, 1x 7.1 channel): $44
Remote: $60Total: $2191
I got the TV from Best Buy on a Black Friday sale. The receiver came from Paul's TV with a bit of haggling. The HDMI cables came from Monoprice. Everything else came from Amazon or an Amazon Seller.Future plans:
- AppleTV. I'm waiting for a model that supports third-party apps, which has been rumored for quite some time.
- Get rid of the URC R50 and find something I like better
- Sell the Onkyo w/ passive sub
- Give away the LG Blu-Ray player (still plays DVDs and streams Netflix reliably, also plays some Blu-Rays)
- Ascend Accoustics speakers -- CBM-170 mains and surrounds, CMT-340 center.
- Wall mounts for the speakers and the TV
- Upgrade the sub (Ascend D15SE? I'm open to suggestions here, and I have no idea what price range I'll be looking at when the time comes.)