Well said Tom. I had the same reaction when I went to the movies for the first time after setting up my "budget" HT... the picture quality & sound at the [recently built] AMC I actually felt were worse than mine!!! I was very happy with what I had, but reading about all the fanatics on this board spending, tweaking, filtering, tweaking, spending, tweaking, HTPCing, tweaking, spending.... well I thought maybe my standards were too low. All it took was 2 hours of "A Beautiful Mind" to re-affirm just how nice a system you can put together for <$3000 (sound included).
(550hrs and climbing)....
cost of a case of Sam Adams: $24
cost of chips, cigars, and some Coors light for the ladies: $20
cost of a budget HT: $3,000
cost of watching Celebrity Boxing II on a 100" screen complete with crazy betting, rampant cursing, random yelling, cheering, jumping up and down and knocking over the bong, frequent high-fiving, and much moaning about the imminent demise of civilization: PRICELESS