Help with Home Theater System

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by HWellsM, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. HWellsM

    HWellsM Auditioning

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    We bought a 42 inch Panasonic Plasma 1080 television recently and want to buy a home theater system. We don't want to spend more than $500 or so. We are trying to find a speaker system which has the input that makes it possible to use the rear speakers with television programs as well as the surround sound for DVDs. We know we can't get surround sound from the TV unless the program would be broadcast that way. Do any of you have any suggestions?
     
  2. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Helen, just a random thought that always eats at me when I see posts like this, and I see them a lot.

    Why spend so much on the TV and so little on the audio system? In most cases, the audio should be the majority of the investment, or at least, certainly not 20% of it.
     
  3. Buckethead78

    Buckethead78 Stunt Coordinator

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    While it's unfortunate that many people spend big money on TV's and want a bare bones HT system, its where many people start out... so welcome aboard!

    Before you get anything the questions you have to answer are about how many sources you are trying to get surround sound from? Dolby Digital is a common format that unlike older formats separates the rears into left and right channels, not just a single "rear channel." This is great for DVD's and requires an optical audio input. Determine how many inputs you will need and go from there.

    You can always go the HTiB route, which usually comes with everything you need for setup, including speaker wires. Stick to major brands for one of those (Sony, Onkyo, etc).

    Please take note though, that you can usually build yourself a much better setup for comparable prices by buying separates.
     
  4. Asahikasei

    Asahikasei Agent

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    For that much I would look at a HTIB or just use the built in speakers with the TV.
     
  5. HWellsM

    HWellsM Auditioning

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    We are interested in surround sound for TV and DVD player. We are new to all of this and want to be sure we can hear the TV from the rear speakers.
     
  6. HWellsM

    HWellsM Auditioning

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    Would the following make it possible to hear TV through rear speakers along with the surround sound on the DVD player:

    Technical Details
    input_channel_quantity: 6
    Output Wattage: 600
    Included Components: AV receiver, Speaker system
    DVD Type: None
    audio_output_mode: Surround Sound
    Audio Output Type: None
    Surround Sound Effects: Virtual CINEMA DSP, SILENT CINEMA DSP
    equalizer: Parametric, Yes
    equalizer_band_quantity: 5 bands
    component_type: Home theater system
    Built In Decoder: Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS-ES decoder, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS Neo:6, DTS-ES Matrix 6.1, DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, DTS 96/24, Dolby Digital, DTS decoder
    Remote Control Description: Universal remote control
    Optical Digital Input: Yes
    Coaxial Digital Input: Yes
    Audio Input: None
    Headphones Jack: Yes
    mini_disc_system: None
    Tuner Technology: Digital
    turntable_type: None
    radio_bands_supported: AM/FM
    cd_system_type: None
    cassette_system_type: None

    Thank you for helping a Newbie.
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    It all depends on what the TV source is. If it is analog from the TV or a cable/satellite box, then your surround will be limited to Dolby Pro-Logic and only on the TV programs that have Pro-Logic encoded. Pro-Logic (or "Dolby Surround") is an old format that is inferior to Dolby Digital. In order to hear Dolby Digital 5.1 from your TV, you would need:

    1) A Dolby Digital capable TV source. This is usually an HD cable box, an HD satellite box or an HDTV with a built-in ATSC/QAM HD tuner. Dolby Digital is also available on some SD satellite or digital cable channels, which would require a DD capable satellite or digital cable box.

    2) A coaxial or optical cable from your TV source to your HT system
     
  8. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    The short answer is Yes, looks like you pasted the description of a Yamaha receiver.

    This receiver has the capability of taking the audio portion from your TV source (cable, satelite, digital, antenna, etc...) and attempt to make it surround sound like (unless the signal is already encoded in which case it will find the best fit and play it).

    Worse case scenario, it can take a "mono" signal and output it as "6 speaker stereo" in which case the same sound will come out of all 6 speakers.

    JB
     
  9. John Brill

    John Brill Supporting Actor

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    Yep, classic first time HT experience. Got the big TV with the big image, skimp on the sound. Eventually they'll be back to get the full experience [​IMG]

    Helen, a decent Home Theater in a Box is probably the best way to start. Look at the Yamaha DTX-1100 series or Denon DHT-488XP or Onkyo HT-SR800.

    JB
     
  10. mckey

    mckey Auditioning

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    N
     
  11. HWellsM

    HWellsM Auditioning

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    We have a new 42 inch plasma Panasonic television with a DVR cable box.
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    They have now been combined.

    M.
     
  14. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    If the DVR box is HD, then you can connect the optical or coax audio out on the cable box to an optical or coax in on the receiver and receive DD 5.1 from most HD programs. If the box is only SD, it may or may not have an optical or coax audio out. If it does, you can still get DD 5.1, but only on select digital channels. If it is only SD, I would suggest upgrading to HD so you can use that new plasma to the fullest.
     
  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Jeff, I think you may be overlooking a basic thing. What sound does the OP want to get from the rear speakers?

    Any receiver will typically switch to DPL with 2 channel sources and you will get some degree (often minimal) of sound from the rear speakers, but no dialog. Just some ambient sound. If the program is mono, there will be little to no sound. That's just how it works. Some receivers other modes which produce great amounts of sound from the rears, but I find those modes annoying.
     
  16. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    That's what I said (look at my first post). And I don't count "7 speaker stereo" and other crappy DSP's as surround sound, so my advice was strictly for true surround sound, with DD being the optimum.
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Only the first line was directed at you Jeff.
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Gotcha! [​IMG]
     
  19. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    No problem. I knew it was unclear when I typed it, but I was in a hurry.
     
  20. jlefevre

    jlefevre Extra

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    I leave mine on straight mode. This lets it switch to whatever the original source is. Keep in mind that even when dolby digital is present the rear speakers and the LFE to the subwoofer, and the subwoofer itself if not being used for bass management, will not have much content. These are "effects" channels, not full time dialog and audio. When the sound stream is normal stereo only the front left and right are used. A few time I have change the receiver to a simulated sound mode like 7 channel enhancer or concert hall, but as someone else mentioned here, it usually sounds "funky" and other than a few vinyl albums that sound good in "club mode enhanced" I just let the decoder do what it wants to with the incoming data stream.
     

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