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Discussion Starter #1
I had posted this in the Home Theater in a Box section of avs, but I just realized that it may not be in the right place as what I am seeking does not include a dvd player. So, I'm hoping that this is the more appropriate spot.

I am currently in the market for a new home theater sound system. My maximum budget is $250. I was wondering what my best option is and am seeking recommendations.

Right now, I am considering the VIZIO S3851w-D4 38" 5.1 Channel Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer & Rear Satellite Speakers. Is this a good system? Are there any better options in my budget?

Thanks.
 

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And I thought my budget was low...

I buy mostly Craigslist and thrift store items because I can't afford what the big boys can. I would ask, like most here will, what your room size is, what you want to use it for? If you are going for htib for less then 250 I am guessing you are not expecting much.

I am sure someone can speak to the particular system you suggested, but most here are going to point out the weaknesses sound bars have and also htib. If you need to purchase now and you are willing to compromise then maybe a sound bar or htib will do. I would suggest taking your time and even looking into goodwill, salvation army, habitat stores and CL. I have put together a full system. Sony center ($5), polk monitor 50's($70), yamaha NS-636 ($7) for surrounds, denon avr-887 ($17) and a Harmon Kardon hkts 18 sub (already owned), panasonic bd-dp605 ($20). So for me its $119 plus lets say I purchased a low model sub for $125 from parts express or something or even bought a sub from somewhere else. I know I need to replace the center but my system pumps out some really good stuff. I am not trying to say its top shelf, but it will wake the neighbors.

This took some time and effort, but definitely worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice. I impressed with the system you built at that price point.

I am trying to purchase the HT system new though because this is a gift for a friend. The room size is maybe 20 x 15 ft. a regularly sized living room.
 

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That is quite a tall order for such a small budget and that size room

My GF's parents have a cheapo Vizio soundbar which came with their TV and it is not half bad. No where near compared the to budget surround system I built for $400 when I first got into this hobby but improved sound over the TV speakers.

Something like this might be of interest to you:
-DENON DHT-1312XP Home Theater System w/5.1 Speaker Package
 

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I've got a Vizio soundbar in the living room (part of my agreement with the wife is that if I have a theater then no surround in the living room), and while it is better then TV speakers it doesn't exactly blow me away. Is $250 a hard limit, or can you save up and try again in a few months.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i hate to say this, but the budget is pretty set. I may be able to up it to $300, which isn't much more though.
 

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i hate to say this, but the budget is pretty set. I may be able to up it to $300, which isn't much more though.
Since you need to get something new, and your budget is so low, get a decent soundbar. I've been looking at one of the mid range ZVOX sound bases, since they seem to have the ability to produce better bass than a sub-less soundbar. You can get one of these in this price range.
 

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$87.00 / pair Pioneer SP-BS22-LR (now on sale at Amazon): http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS...eywords=pioneer+bookshelf+speakers+-+spbs22lr

$145 Denon AVR-1513 (includes shipping) http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...3-5.1ch-home-theater-receiver-3d-ready/1.html

You will still need speaker stands, cabling and wiring. Later on, when funds become available you may want to augment this system with a subwoofer, such as the Dayton SUB-800, SUB-1000 or SUB-1200.
Great suggestion.
These Pioneer towers are also worth looking at.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882117403&nm_mc=AFC-dealnews&cm_mmc=AFC-dealnews-_-NA-_-NA-_-N82E16882117403

But honestly, this a really tough budget for that space.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the recommendations. I noticed two references for accessories4less. Are they a reputable vendor? These items are refurbished; are there any concerns with buying refurbished items from this vendor? Also, the recommendations so far (apart from the denon 5.1 HT system) is only for the front speaker system. The VIZIO S3851w-D4 that I was looking at includes a sub and rear speakers. Does this give the Vizio an edge?
 

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Thanks for the recommendations. I noticed two references for accessories4less. Are they a reputable vendor? These items are refurbished; are there any concerns with buying refurbished items from this vendor? Also, the recommendations so far (apart from the denon 5.1 HT system) is only for the front speaker system. The VIZIO S3851w-D4 that I was looking at includes a sub and rear speakers. Does this give the Vizio an edge?
AC4L is a good company - and have been in business a long time, many of us
buy from them

Compared to the recommendations - the Vizio would be last on my list.
 

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Thanks for the recommendations. I noticed two references for accessories4less. Are they a reputable vendor? These items are refurbished; are there any concerns with buying refurbished items from this vendor? Also, the recommendations so far (apart from the denon 5.1 HT system) is only for the front speaker system. The VIZIO S3851w-D4 that I was looking at includes a sub and rear speakers. Does this give the Vizio an edge?
Many people here buy from this company (I haven't, so I cannot give you my experiences -- good or bad). These are factory refurbished models and come with a one-year warranty, but one can purchase an extended warranty for a small amount of money.

If you are looking for a 5.1 system now, then the Vizio and Denon are not bad for the price and both received pretty decent reviews. Just don't expect miracles from either (speaker quality will be below the Pioneers and subwoofer capability well below the Dayton subs). That doesn't mean you won't like them, you very well could. At least the Denon comes with a real AVR (although somewhat limited) and the ability to add better speakers down the road. Instant gratification is what many seek, but building over time is usually the wiser choice, which is yours to make.
 

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That is a tall order. I wouldn't hesitate to go used to fulfill your needs.

Yamaha DD/DTS Receiver. $31 current bid.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yamaha-RX-V...500?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d2f00a254

Mirage Omnisat 6 5.1 set. Currently $200 on eBay. I had them and thought they were pretty damn good for home theater provided you positioned correctly. I believe I paid about $220 a speaker in 2005. I had a different sub.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mirage-Loud...?pt=Home_Theater_in_a_Box&hash=item2eded92208
 

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If I were you, and I really wanted to go with a full 5.1 system with what you have to spend, I would go with the Denon system that crazyrob425 showed ( DENON DHT-1312XP Home Theater System w/5.1 Speaker Package ) over the Vizio system.
I like some of the other suggestions, but for a HTIB option at that price point, the Denon is probably your best bet.
 

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$87.00 / pair Pioneer SP-BS22-LR (now on sale at Amazon): http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS...eywords=pioneer+bookshelf+speakers+-+spbs22lr

$145 Denon AVR-1513 (includes shipping) http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...3-5.1ch-home-theater-receiver-3d-ready/1.html

You will still need speaker stands, cabling and wiring. Later on, when funds become available you may want to augment this system with a subwoofer, such as the Dayton SUB-800, SUB-1000 or SUB-1200.
If you can manage the Denon receiver and a pair of these speakers, along with some kind of a center channel, it would be quite impressive for someone who has only had the speakers built into the TV. A subwoofer and a pair of rear speakers can be added later.

To me the center channel is pretty important.

You can get speaker stands on eBay for a bit less than $50.
 

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