Best HTiB Black Friday deal???

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by qcom100, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. qcom100

    qcom100 Extra

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    Hey everyone,


    I'm looking to find a cheap HTiB deal for Black Friday.


    I was trying to find a nice 7 channel deal, but all I really could find was 5.1 systems. Is there a significant difference between 5 and 7 channel packages? Does 7 really add that much more to the overall experience?


    Also, a Blu-Ray player is almost unwanted, because my PC is able to RW Blu-Ray's. Trying to avoid the redundant feature sets.


    A receiver would be nice.


    I saw these deals courtesy of Gizmodo:



    [FONT= 'Lucida Grande']★ Samsung 1000W 5.1-Ch. Blu-ray Home Theater System HT-C5500XAA (early bird) for $297.99 at BestBuy ([/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']currently $399.99[/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']; [/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']$285.00 at AVinDemand[/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande'])[/FONT]
    [FONT= 'Lucida Grande']★ Sony BRAVIA DAV-DZ170 Home Theater System (early bird) for $177.99 at BestBuy (currently $249.99; $194.99 at Amazon)[/FONT]
    [FONT= 'Lucida Grande']★ Hitachi Soundbar Home Theater System for $169.88 at Sam's Club (currently $169.98)[/FONT]

    [FONT= 'Lucida Grande']★★ Philips HTS3051B/F7 Blu-ray Home Theater System for $198.00 at Walmart ([/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']currently $288.00[/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']; [/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']$269.50 at Sears[/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande'])[/FONT]

    [FONT= 'Lucida Grande']★★ Pioneer 550W 5.1-Ch. 3D Pass Through A/V Home Theater Receiver VSX-820-K (early bird) for $199.99 at BestBuy ([/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']currently $299.99[/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']; [/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande']$229.00 at Abe's of Maine[/FONT][FONT= 'Lucida Grande'])[/FONT]

    The stars as you may probably guess, indicate a better deal (or so they think)
    What do you guys think?
     
  2. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Re: 5.1 vs. 7.1 - There is very little material out there that is specifically encoded as 7.1. The vast majority of movies are still encoded as 5.1 so listening to them in their native format means the extra speakers aren't used all that often.


    However, 7.1 receivers often have listening modes or decoding options that better utilize the back surround speakers. Generally, larger rooms benefit from this a bit more than smaller rooms because the added speakers help "fill" the room with sound.


    Finally, consider the recommended speaker placement for 5.1 vs. 7.1 systems (check out this Dolby guide). 5.1 systems have surrounds placed to the sides of the listening position, and the added speakers for 7.1 should be placed several feet behind the listener. If your room geometry favors one setup over another, then that should help you decide.


    Re: Home Theater Systems

    I apologize that I haven't taken the time to look closely or compare the specs of the systems you referenced, but a strong word of caution with many budget HTiB systems:

    You often get what you pay for. Keep in mind that in order to offer a complete system at a low price, compromises have to be made. Most often these compromises come in the form of:

    • crummy, low-impedance speakers with proprietary connections (so they can't be used with other receivers or equipment)
    • trimmed-down receivers that have little to no support for additional devices, and come without common features of "regular" receives such as the ability to upconvert analog video sources to HDMI.

    The most commonly recommended all-in-one systems around here are the systems from Onkyo (the 5300 in particular). The reason is simple: they are built around a regular, full-featured receiver that can expand as your system grows.


    When looking at budget HTiB systems, do yourself a favor and:

    1. Make sure it has enough audio AND video INPUTS for all your sources (Blu-Ray/PC, HD Cable/Satellite, game system, etc.)
    2. Make sure it uses regular spring-clip or binding post connections for the speakers. If there are specially shaped "plug" connectors, I would pass - the speakers will work ONLY with that receiver and should you decide to upgrade will have to start over.
    3. Make sure the speaker specs list a nominal impedance of 8 ohms (6 ohms would be OK, but pass on anything like 4 or 3 ohms - same problem as #2).
    4. If you have a mix of HDMI and analog video devices (the Wii is a common example of component only) make sure the system will convert analog video to HDMI or you will need to run mutliple video cables from receiver to TV (one of each type).
    5. Don't pay any attention to wattage ratings when comparing systems. Wattage is meaningless. A better indicator of a system's ability to play loud is the sensitivity rating of the speakers (measured in dB: 90dB and higher is good).
    6. Avoid systems that integrate a DVD or Blu-Ray player with the receiver. Generally, these models have even less support for external devices, and if the Blu-Ray breaks, you're out the whole system. Separates are better.

    Good luck.
     
  3. qcom100

    qcom100 Extra

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    @Jason


    Thanks a lot for the post!


    The clarification of the 5.1 v 7.1 helped a lot. I think I'm going to go with 7.1 as it fits my needs better.


    Thanks for the reference to Onkyo's systems, I checked out the 5300 and then fell in love with the 6300 xD


    On both Amazon and Newegg it goes for almost exactly $500.


    Only $100 more than the 5300, I think it's worth the money.


    Also, as far as I can tell, it complies with the list you gave.
     
  4. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    That Onkyo 6300 system is a nice one - and for $500 I don't know that you could do any better.


    The speakers are still the weak link in the system (they are to some extent with every HTiB), but the receiver should provide a solid hub for a long time, and you can always upgrade speakers piecemeal (perhaps a better sub first, then fronts + center, and finally surrounds and rears).


    The Onkyo's also include their Audyssey setup/calibration utility that uses a microphone to set speaker levels and fine tune the sound to your room. It's quite effective, however it has a tendency to set your main speakers to "full range" even when you have a subwoofer connected. In this case (particularly since the speakers aren't the best), you're better off setting them to "small" or adjusting the crossover (in the setup menu) to take some of the strain off the receiever and let the subwoofer handle the "grunt" work.


    If you opt for going with the 6300 be sure to chime back in once you have it all set up and running. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, and folks around here would be happy to help you wade through the setup options and menus to get the most out of it.
     
  5. qcom100

    qcom100 Extra

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    Thanks for the help!


    If I do pull the trigger, I'll gladly post what I think, and most likely, how frustrated I will be trying to get it all set up correctly!
     
  6. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    While I enjoy my 7.1 setup I agree about not much material out there. I wish they would put some more focus on that material for new movies. In the end it comes down to tuning to have the best experience for 5.1 or 7.1. So once you get it spend a little time getting speaker placement correct.
     
  7. Ning Wong

    Ning Wong Second Unit

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    i'm in the same market too....
     

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