As the title sates, I have a narrow, long room in the basement that I am currently setting up for a HT. It'll be used 50/50 for games/movies. Originally I was looking into HTiBs, but I've been persuaded that I will get much better performance per dollar picking up separates. Plus I need to make this a full-blown hobby because I just have WAAAAY too much free time (there should be a sarcasm font).
I have a very basic knowledge of audio equipment. I've installed a few car stereo systems but nothing in the house, so take it easy on the technical stuff. My budget to start out is $500, but I have a few more months to save up and I am willing to buy one piece at a time to start with. Ideally beginning with a good Sub and a center speaker and moving on from there would be fine. Total cost of the system should be under $1000 though, otherwise my wife will divorce me and take the HT out of spite.
I'm looking for recommendations on speakers, but recommendations for subwoofers and AVRs would be useful as well. I have no brand preference for any of these components. I'm totally at the mercy of you, the professionals, so be gentle!