Originally Posted by William
You might be better off spending less now and buying a sound bar. An HTiB (or any $750 complete system) is not really upgradeable without totally replacing. Then read/learn while you save up for a real audio upgrade.
I can't think of anything that is less upgradable than a sound bar!
Some of the cheaper HTIB systems do indeed have limited to non-existent upgradability.
The better ones are more like a collection of separate components that happen to be sold together. YMMV! For $750 you should be able to get a HTIB package that offers you flexible options for upgrading.
Things to look out for in HTIB offerings are speakers and electronics that have non-standard connectors. These can put a big damper on upgradability.
You have other options. You could break your $750 budget down into a entry level but very flexible $250 5.1 AVR and a $500 speaker package by a major manufacturer like Boston Acoustics, Polk, Klipsch, Inifinty etc.
You can save money and sometimes get better sound by getting just a 2.1 speaker system and leaving off the surround speakers. You can configure the AVR to work very effectively with just 2 channels and the sound can be very good.
Since they are sold separately and to the general market, separately sold receivers and speakers are pretty much guaranteed to have standard connectors and interface well to a variety of competitive offerings in both the AVR and speaker markets. In general speakers will work with any AVR so brand matching, etc, in this area makes no sense.
A good starting rule of thumb. Spend 50% to 75% of the total HT audio budget on speakers. Addition speakers to "learn" what you like and don't like. Speakers have the greatest impact on your SQ and each speaker system/line has a unique timbre.