Hmmm...I will assume you have a DVD player, so you need 5 speakers (front left, front right, center, and two surrounds), a receiver, and a subwoofer. If it were my $, I'd put maybe 500 of it towards a receiver. Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Onkyo, and Harmon Kardon all make great home theater receivers, I'm partial to Denon and Marantz, as the Denon receivers I've owned over the years have been very reliable - my folks still use a 2 channel Denon I purchased new in 1988. My other Denon home theater receiver was purchased new in 2001 and still works fine as well, though I've upgraded it to a Marantz receiver for increased functionality - it's been a great receiver so far. The other brands I mention are great as well, any one of them will serve you well.
So, for 500, I'd recommend these receivers:http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Produ...TXS605B&tp=179http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Produ...3AV1708&tp=179
The Onkyo seems to be a little richer feature wise. You don't necessarily need to buy from crutchfield, as you can probably get them locally for the same or less $. Crutchfield does have a pretty good site for browsing, and their learning center is pretty good also.
For a sub, I'd definitely go internet direct, you get a lot more bang for the buck. I'd suggest one of the following:http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-2-mk3.htmlhttp://www.svsound.com/products-sub-box-pb12nsd.cfm
Also check http://www.edesignaudio.com/index.php?cPath=2_41
- though they have a few months wait time from what I understand. Same for http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/Products.html
I'd say put 5-700 towards a sub. It'll be overkill for now, but it'll give you some 'growing room' down the road.
Now we're at say 1100 (500 for receiver, 600 for sub) add 100 or so for cables and you've got 800 or so left for speakers (yeah, I'm using all of your 2k budget
I'd audition as much as I could locally, some brands to consider are:
Paradigm (the Titans for fronts with the matching center and smaller surrounds would be a nice setup)
However, again buying via internet direct will give you more bang for the buck. For 600 you can get this setup: http://www.svsound.com/products-spks-sbs01.cfm
that would cover your front, center, and surrounds. The great thing about this setup (aside from the reviews, though I've not heard it personally), is that the fronts, center, and surrounds are all matched. For the most seamless theater experience, you want matched speakers (note: your sub does not need to match, and it's OK if your surrounds don't match the fronts either. It's important for the front L and R speakers to match the center however).
Hopefully this is enough info to get you started.