Ok, newbie-lurker type here chiming in, so bear with me.... I intend to gore no man's oxen.
After reading the various threads here until my eyes actually ached, I've come to three conclusions:
(1) Buy decent speakers. Start there.
(2) Your receiver should be about 1/3rd the cost of your speakers.
(3) Wait for a decent DVI DVD player (*availablity TBD
I've also learned that the sony "dream" systems are garbage, at least for music, and that Bose systems are mostly just hype.
So where does that leave me?
I'm buying (in the next 10 days or so) a 50'' Sammy DLP (might get a sony kf50we610, but that's a different thread) and I want a decent surround sound system to go with it. 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, Dolby EX, Dolby IIx, THX-certified, are the buzzwords, but since the content is almost all in 5.1, I'm not sure if it matters. What I (and I'm guessing many other first-time RPTV buyers) need to know ifs what to look for and what to avoid.
Here's what I've learned....
1. For HTIBs -- that is, all-in-one systems that include speakers, reciever, and a DVD player -- the systems to look at include the onkyo 760 and the Yamaha YHT-740. There are new and improved all-in-ones coming from sammy and panny, but not sure they're out yet.
2. It *might* be better to start with a speaker system, like the Hsu Ventriloquist vt-12 + Hsu sub, or Infinity TSS-750, or Polk RM6700 (or others) and *then* buy a decent receiver (Yama RX-v1400?) and just WAIT for a proper DVD player, such as a Bravo d2, or the upcoming sammy, or others that will have DVI out.
Look, I'm not an audiophile; the last time I bough audio gear was in college, and I got taken for one of those "Home Theatre Research" scam sets (white van sale). I suspect there are others like me, who just want to get a decent base system we can work off of. Help me obi-wan kenobi(s), you are my only hope! I promise, I'll upgrade my centers and buy monster cables later.