I know it has taken me a while to get back to this, but I wanted to close this thread out properly.
First off, a huge THANK YOU to AVSforum generally and to the many individuals here who helped me out with this project.
Though I’ve still got some wires to neaten up and some settings to play with, I am considering my budget home theater installed and complete. The sound is excellent to my ears, and I’ve hosted several movie nights and the reviews have been great. I am incredibly glad I did not end up compromising with a sound bar or other corner-cutting and instead went with proper 5.1. I realize now how critical good sound is to the home theater experience.
All that said, my entire theater was very low budget. Here’s the final breakdown (including taxes and shipping, to the best of my records / recollection):
Front right and left: Pioneer SP-FS52 Andrew Jones Towers ($125 each): $266.00 [Best Buy]
Center: Pioneer SP-C22 Andrew Jones Center: $107.00 [Best Buy]
Sub: SVS PB-1000 10" 300w Powered Sub: $499.00 [Direct from SVS]
Surrounds: Polk OWM3 Surrounds: $112.00 (for the pair) [Amazon]
Marantz NR1403 Slim Line AV Receiver: $409.00 [Amazon]
Panasonic VIERA TC-L55ET5 55-Inch: $1148.00 [Amazon]
Sony PS3 320GB: $304.00 [Amazon]
Power Strip and Miscellaneous Cables and Hardware: Approximately $95.00 [Various]
IKEA Hemnes TV Stand: $210.00 [IKEA]
Total: $3150.00 (that’s EVERYTHING, including the TV stand and cables!)
Ok, ok, don’t laugh. It is pretty much all entry-level stuff. I know that lots of people here spend my total budget (or lots more) on an individual speaker. But that’s about as much as I had to work with, and I’ve got to say, with a lot of help from the great folks on this forum, I am confident that I got about as good a set-up as possible for about $3000.
And as far as I am concerned, it kicks ass. I am not an audiophile. I’m in my mid-forties and my eyes and ears are far from what they were 20 years ago. But the screen is big, bright, and sharp. Blu-ray looks incredible. And the sound is loud and clear. The sub is awesome. Dialog is clear and distinct. And man oh man do I LOVE the surround. I get a little thrill every time I hear stuff going all over the place. Bottom line is that I am veeeeery satisfied with the results.
Thanks again to everyone for helping me through the process!