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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to surprise my husband with all new equipment. My budget is 4000 and has to include (I think) a receiver, blu-ray, surround sound speakers and TV. The TV should be in the 46-52" range. I have read and read forums and articles and reviews and get more and more confused. What I do know is that he had the house wired for a central hub (he says the wire is "composite") and has speaker wire into each room. He wants to watch movies in the room (a spare 13X13 bedroom) with the hub and I want to listen to music (Internet and CD's, loudly) in another room, hopefully simultaneously. We also want to watch movies in the living room. We don't watch much TV; in fact we quit DirectTV a year ago and just watch the network channels our little antenna picks up. He isn't extremely picky about sound, though he wants it to be rich to watch movies like The Dark Knight and Star Wars. I have gathered that HTiB is not the way to go, so I have to pick components that will work together. I'll do all I can to provide more information. Please help!


What do you recommend?
 

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First, you'll want to figure out your budge for each piece in the equation, no just the total. Next, you'll want to go into that specific area of the forum and solicit advice on that particular piece of equipment (i.e. display). Finally, while it's very nice for you to want to buy these things for your husband, I don't think it's a good idea. Receivers and speakers can be very subjective, both in performance and appearance. I would not want anyone buying those types of things for me.


Here's a general breakdown of what you're looking for:


TV: $2000

Receiver: $400

Sub: $400

Speakers: $1000

Blu Ray: $200


Don't forget you'll also need a universal remote and all the cabling.



PS. If you want to watch movies in the 13X13 room and the living room and listen to music in another room, then won't you need two TV's and three sets of speakers?
 

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I agree with stew4msu...you are definitely a sweetheart for wanting to do this for your husband, but things such as this are extremely subjective. I've got a sweetheart for a wife as well, and she knows that since this is one of my hobbies, decisions on actual equipment are best left to me.


You can still let your husband have a great gift and know how much you love him by giving him a "gift certificate" for $4000, in essence telling him that you want to go ahead and get some gear. He'll love you for the gift of "permission" (I don't like that term, but you know what I mean), and he'll really love going and getting all of the stuff. You two can do it together, but have fun with it. If you have any particular desires (size of speakers, colors, ease of use, etc.), share it with him, but then let him go nuts.
 

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Here is a basic system for the new Movie room


5.1 speaker package from HSU (30 day return policy) $1149

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/enthusiast1.html


Refurbished Denon AVR 3310 From Amazon warehouse deals $463

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...condition=used


Sony Bravia 55 inch TV from Wallmart $1393 (also at best buy at the same price)

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sony/13422991


That leaves $1000 to pick out a Bluray player and figure something out for the kitchen. If you want separate programing you will need something separate otherwise you can run it off of the b zone on the receiver.
 

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If the application is mainly movies may I suggest that you consider a projector and screen for the display? A decent project and screen can be had for same dollars as a new tv and the difference in the viewing experience an't be compared - like a mouse in the room (TV) or an elephant (projector).


Our first projector setup was similar dimension to your room and with the projetor simply mounted on a wall shelf and screen on opposite wall will net you a lens-to-screen throw distance of 11 1/2 to 12 ft whichl should allow a screen image of at least 100in diagonal and, in a room that size, the visual effect will be similar or even more impressive than sitting in a commercial movie metroplex as most of those screens are relatively small and the viewer sits much farther away.


If you put seating along the wall under the projector you should achieve a "WOW, this is like being at the movies!" result which no television can deliver.


OKAY - beyond my passion for projectors I agree that a gift certificate might be best as the gift giver so the gift receiver can enjoy components of his choosing - or you can buy stuff from a local vendor that has a no penalty return policy - like CostCo or Walmart or Sam's Club - so you can enjoy his pleasure of opening big wrapped boxes and packages on Christmas morning.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by schroedk /forum/post/19599409


I agree with stew4msu...you are definitely a sweetheart for wanting to do this for your husband, but things such as this are extremely subjective. I've got a sweetheart for a wife as well, and she knows that since this is one of my hobbies, decisions on actual equipment are best left to me.

This.
 

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I think surprising your husband is a great idea. Big knows what he is talking about. I would go with his suggestions.


You might also consider imjay's suggestion of a projector. If you have a movie room with the ability to reduce the light coming into it with curtains, you'll have an amazing picture (and large) even on a white painted wall (that's what I have) for $1200 with an Epson 8350: http://www.projectorpeople.com/proje...me+Cinema+8350
 

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Kat,


Let me say that as a wife your topshelf for sure. Your husband is very lucky. He is even luckier that most as you have come to the best place for advise for HT stuff on the web and you came here first. Well done.


Bigmouth is highly regarded here on AVS and he indeed does know a thing or three about this stuff. His recommendations are solid and excellent use of your budget.


Having said the above let me say this. I am not very particular about very many things Mrs RTROSE purchases for me, she is very much in tune with my likes and dislikes, and as far as that goes has much more of a fashion sense than I do. However when in come to electronics and other gizmos and gadgets I really enjoy researching and shopping for TV's, receivers, speakers, etc. It is fun for me. You obviously know your hubby better than we do. If he is the gadget type then give him the money, give him your blessing and just try to wipe the smile off of his face. If he is not the gadget type and more into the thought of the gift or would be happy coming home and seeing every setup and ready to go then more power to ya. I personally don't think you can go wrong either way. He will be happy that your good to go with a nice media center setup.


Good luck and keep us posted.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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As an alternative you can print out some information about each product you select, it's price and where to buy it. Put that information in a bunch of different sized boxes, wrap and put under the tree.


Your husband can agree with your decisions and pull the trigger or select something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE /forum/post/19606054


Bigmouth is highly regarded here on AVS and he indeed does know a thing or three about this stuff. His recommendations are solid and excellent use of your budget.

Thanks but keep in mind that I am probably right only 80% (or more) of the time. I have an opinion on just about everything, aka BIGmouth.


I don't happen to own any of the three items I selected.


Hsu speakers, I've read about for years and if I ever had a small room to equip That is the budget system I would get


Denon receiver, That is last years model open box/returned and certified by Amazon so it is a good "value"


TV, you said you wanted up to 55 so knowing guys, I picked the largest name brand from a discount vendor. Personally I buy my flat panels at Costco/Sam's club and I look at what ever is the best "value" on the floor. The last Two TVs I bought were Vizio. My wifes opinion is you can never go wrong with a Sony.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Fortunately, my husband is the real sweetheart. He works lots of extra hours just so I don't have to, so his time is just so limited. And funny, he's come to rely on my researching for everything! Just finished my grad degree in library science and finding answers is my passion!


Coming onto forums like this to seek the advice of experts (go ahead, admit it!) such as yourselves has been invaluable in other major projects too (you should have seen our acid stained and stenciled concrete patio!), so I really do appreciate you giving your time to offer advice to someone like me who can barely conceive of how electricity makes things work.


I am surprised that I wouldn't need to spend more on a receiver so that it would handle multiple jobs and components, but if I don't have to go crazy there it's good.


I think what I may do is go ahead and buy locally, then he can just return anything that doesn't meet our needs. He will really enjoy figuring out how to hook everything up. You mention Sams, Costco and Wal-Mart, but what about Best Buy? We also have Fry's and a place he goes for wires called All Tex.

Thank you!
 

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Beware of the salesman at Best Buy who will "strong arm" you into purchasing the extended warranties and WAY OVER PRICED cables and surge protectors. If you know what TV you want and get in and out without succumbing to their tactics fine.


Be sure to check their return policy.


You can get cables at Monoprice.com often at 1/10 the price of what the salesman will show you at BB.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC /forum/post/19608274


Beware of the salesman at Best Buy who will "strong arm" you into purchasing the extended warranties and WAY OVER PRICED cables and surge protectors. If you know what TV you want and get in and out without succumbing to their tactics fine.


Be sure to check their return policy.


You can get cables at Monoprice.com often at 1/10 the price of what the salesman will show you at BB.

What he said.


BB sales staff tends to be undereducated on their products and are told what to push. Their space is not set up for listening. or viewing. BB and most others have their TVs set to max brightness and contrast so that they "pop". However, this means that you get little feel for how they are going to work in your home. The same for audio. The ones near me don't have most of the amplifiers connected and those that are, tend to be on the open floor where there is a high background noise level.


You really need to go to a higher end AV shop if there is one nearby if you want to hear this stuff. Fortunately, most of the reasonable brands are fairly close in performance (EXCEPT SPEAKERS).


What follows is the prevailing folk wisdom around here:


TVs: $1k-1500. Look at the Panasonic plasmas, particularly the 50-56" S2 models. Also look at the Samsung LED sets in that size range. They are very thin and have good pictures.


Receivers: Look around $500. Make sure you have at least 4 HDMI inputs. Audessey built-in calibration is a nice feature. Receivers from Denon, Yamaha and Onkyo are popular in this price range.


BluRay Player: Buy the entry level player. It will do the job with a reasonable receiver. Don't pay more than $200 under any conditions. If you pay over $140, make sure you have a player that is WiFi enabled and has netflix/pandora/amazon/etc connectivity for downloading movies. For $100 you can still get a connected player, but it will have a wired internet connection and not wireless. Decision is yours and should be made based on how easy it is to get a lan cable to the player. The Panasonic, Sony, LG and Samsung players are generally well regarded.


Speakers: Here you really need to go listen. Be prepared to spend at least $1200 for a good 5.1. system. You will need a center speaker, 2 main speakers, 2 surround speakers and a subwoofer. I like Klipsch as they are efficient and are good for dialog and special effects. Others complain they are too harsh for music and softer scenes. Energy, Polk, Mirage, etc are also popular in this price range. If you have extra budget, put it into better speakers, especially a step up subwoofer. The cheaper ones just give you a bit of bass. The good ones give you that thumping in the chest feel you get in a theater.


Cables: As mentioned, Monoprice.com all the way. Don't pay more than $10 for a 6' HDMI cable. If you go to BB, they will try to sell you a $150 Monster cable that doesn't work any better. Just buy 3 or 4 6' HDMI cables to get you started.


Misc: Get a reasonable surge protector, but you don't need a fancy power conditioner. With all this equipment, you will want a remote control that integrates everything. Most of us like the Logitek Harmony series. They are task oriented, and fairly easy to set up. You get buttons like "Watch a BluRay Movie" which turns everything on, selects the source and hits the play button. Harmony remotes come in several models from $50 to $200.


Don't buy Bose. Severly overpriced for what you get. And they don't hold up well in sound quality. Just say "no". Trust me.


Consider Amazon. If you buy a prime membership, it all ships for free. Prices are significantly lower than BB. They have a good return policy and their customer reviews tend to be honest and accurate. At least research there before you commit.


Be sure to buy a few BluRays as well, so you have something really good to watch.


That's what I can think of right now. Happy shopping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the useful info. I'm walking into Best Buy today, knowing exactly which models I want, based on what we need as well as the piles of info on AVS as well as the reviews on Amazon. I've decided on the Samsung LN55C630 and had decided on the Pioneer VSX-1020 till you didn't mention Pioneer for receivers...There's also the Denon AVR-1911 on my list but it's over 200 more and the Onkyo TX SR608 but it's 120 more. Worth it though?

Interesting that you say go cheap on the blu ray. I was thinking of doing exactly that till the new Oppo comes out next year since it seems like it might even go so far as to do my laundry for me. I have bought Inception and am considering Black Hawk Down too just for the great experience everyone is talking about (again, the reviews
.

Now I'm on to speakers.
 

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Pioneer receivers are great. I have it in both my theater room and my family room. You can't go wrong and they are very well built. The Pioneer in my theater is over 6yrs old now and still going strong.


Since your movie room is similar in size to my theater, you could see how different it would be to move up to projection instead of a flat screen. Have fun.


Victor
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katdixon58 /forum/post/19614319


I just went over to Monoprice.com to look at the cables. Yikes!!! Which ones do I get??? There are so many different ones...ferrite cores...what the heck is that?

These HDMI cables right HERE are the ones you need. Other poster are correct. BB salesmen will try to sell you a Monster HDMI cable or other overpriced brand that will not work any better than the Monoprice one. Tell them that you have all of the cables that you need. Lie if you have to (Well thanks for the suggestion, however I have all the cables I need at home). Get everything from Monoprice and you won't go wrong.


About ferrite cores. Well the definition is convoluted and wide ranging. Quite simply it helps in signal transmission and rejecting interference from other sources. That is the cliff note version. To further confuse you, I have used the HDMI cables with ferrite cores and those without the cores (often beside one another) and have experienced no difference at all in either cable. If it has them it can't hurt.


I hope this helps.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katdixon58 /forum/post/19614284


Thanks for all the useful info. I'm walking into Best Buy today, knowing exactly which models I want, based on what we need as well as the piles of info on AVS as well as the reviews on Amazon. I've decided on the Samsung LN55C630 and had decided on the Pioneer VSX-1020 till you didn't mention Pioneer for receivers...There's also the Denon AVR-1911 on my list but it's over 200 more and the Onkyo TX SR608 but it's 120 more. Worth it though?

Interesting that you say go cheap on the blu ray. I was thinking of doing exactly that till the new Oppo comes out next year since it seems like it might even go so far as to do my laundry for me. I have bought Inception and am considering Black Hawk Down too just for the great experience everyone is talking about (again, the reviews
.

Now I'm on to speakers.

Black Hawk down is an excellent movie as is Avatar, I, Robot, and Star Trek. If you like the Pixar stuff, the Toy Stories, Cars, etc are all excellent demo material as well as Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. I hear Inception is an excellent movie as well.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Not mentioning Pioneer receivers was an oversight on my part. Pioneer also makes a quality product.


The Oppo is a fine player and if you have need for the bells and whistles, then by all means go for it. Most people could care less about playback of marginal formats though and that plus build quality is what you are really getting. BluRay is still a maturing technology. I have gone through several (5 if you count failed format HD-DVD players) in three years because of the product evolving. This year it is wireless connectivity and 3-D capability. A bigger deal to me was decreases in load tiimes. I think the evolution may be slowing down, but it is not going to fully settle for a few more years. That is why I am considering a BluRay player as expendible and not spending too much on it. Basically, I don't want to be those guys that bought the Oppo 83 players who are now looking to unload them.
 

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If you don't have it already, add a one year subscription to netflix, including blu ray rentals ($1 more per disc per month). Limit your purchase to demo material and likely repeat viewing titles (in my house that's kids movies).


On Blu ray. The PS3 is a little quirky, but its kept up with the times with updates.
 
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