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Home theatre on a budget

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by canine10, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. canine10

    canine10 Member

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    I am not sure if this the right place to post this. I am looking for some advice.

    I am setting up a home theatre. The room is 13ft x 22ft, the chairs and couch will be about 16ft from the tv. My budget is $3,000. The only thing I know about hd tvs, blu ray, and audio is what I have been reading the last few months on the web. I have gone into various retail stores to ask questions and check prices as well. Right now I plan on buying everything online.

    Here is my list.

    1) TV-Samsung ln46a750, $1850.00. Still open to suggestions
    2) Blu-Ray-PS3, $400.00 to $500.00(unsure which one to buy, 40g 60g 80g? I am not a gamer.)
    3) Audio-Unsure. 5.1 or 7.1, too many choices.
    4) Wiring-Unsure what is best quality for my budget. I will not have to run wires more than 6ft except for the speakers.
    5) Sure protector?
    6) I think I will be put the tv on a stand with a mounting bracket, $200.00 to $400.00.

    Any ideas or suggestions will be most welcome. This won't be the best set up in the world, but I think I can put something together that will be nice.

    Thanks,
    Andy
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Well-Known Member

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    1) My first suggestion is to buy a projector. Is there any reason you can't use a projector in the room? A 46" TV is WAY TOO SMALL for a 16' seating distance.
    2) I don't know. Blu-ray players are still way overpriced for me.
    3) With a room that large, I'd go with 7.1
    4) Monoprice.com for all your wires/cables.
    5) Any surge protector other than Monster Cable(very overpriced). Buy the
    most joule protection you can afford. I bought mine at Home Depot.
     
  3. canine10

    canine10 Member

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    Thanks, Jim Mcc.

    I don't think I will be going projection. This room is not going to be a dedicated for viewing movies only. I plan on using it to watch football with friends. My niece and nephew will probably crash in here on their sleeping bags playing the PS3 and watching movies (when they are visiting). I also have a very small portable desk in here with a computer I use as a home office very rarely. I also plan on moving a couple years and don't want to be worried about the projection tv.

    I think I will move the chairs and sofa to about 12' to 14' as well.

    As far as audio, any recommendations on a receiver and speaker combo that would fit in my budget?
     
  4. canine10

    canine10 Member

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    I need to edit a spelling mistake and can't find the edit button.

    5) should be surge not sure
     
  5. hodedofome

    hodedofome Well-Known Member

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    I'd go bigger on the tv for your seating distance, and I wouldn't go with LCD. For movies a plasma is going to be sooo much better. The black levels for a Panasonic or Pioneer plasma are so much better than any lcd save for the high-end samsungs. For what you are going to spend on the 46" lcd, you could have this:

    Panasonic 50 in. Class Plasma Full HD (1080p) Television, VIERA - Model TH-50PZ85U at Sears.com

    if you wanted to have better audio you could go with this one

    Panasonic 50 in. Class Plasma Integrated HDTV (720p), VIERA - Model TH-50PX80U at Sears.com

    You don't have much of an audio budget, this one is the best you'll get for the price

    Onkyo | HT-S5100B 7.1-Channel Home Theater System | HT-S5100B
     
  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    I'm using a Pioneer VSX-1014. The newer 1018 has a lot of nice bells and whistles. Speakers are another story. I build all of my own speakers and subs so I can't recommend anything.

    -Robert
     
  7. canine10

    canine10 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I am not sure which kind of tv I am will be buying. I was almost 100% set on the Samsung, but that Panasonic plamsa looks nice and costs about the same. I always heard plasmas have more problems, but picture quality was better. As far as projection tvs, I really know nothing about them. I need to do some research.

    I would be willing to spend a couple hundred more on the audio if would make a big difference. I read in other posts the Onkyo HTS5100 7.1 has an issue with HD sound, but to be honest I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

    Thanks again for the suggestions. They are a lot of help, please keep them coming.

    Andy
     
  8. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Well-Known Member

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    canine10, I'm not talking about a projection TV. I'm talking about a front projector. The room doesn't need to be for viewing movies only. Even with a seating distance of 12' to 14' a 46" TV is still too small. You should view a front projector before you rule it out. You will get a much larger image for less money.
     
  9. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Well-Known Member

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    Blu-Ray is great, but given your budget I'd recommend going with a decent standard DVD for now and increasing the allocation to the receiver/speakers. A better target would be about 1-1.3K. And that's not for high-end equipment, just solid stuff that will carry you for a while. A BR is easy enough to add in at a later date. Get a good sub-woofer, you don't want a soggy booming low-end.

    I also agree that 47 will probably not be ideal for you. I have a 47 and I'm about 10 ft away.

    The kind of TV is too open to opinions. I have a rear projection which was very cost effective and has a great picture, but takes up a lot of space and is decidedly uncool these days. LCDs are slightly more economical and good for brightly lit areas; but don't have quite the picture quality of the plasmas. Plasmas use a bit more power and run hot. The front projections are neat; but involve a little more planning to install.
     
  10. Brian D H

    Brian D H Well-Known Member

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    I have a solution for your TV.

    As you can see from the following chart you can't even see 1080P resolution at 12 feet distance until you get above 60" screen size.

    Screen Size

    You might as well get the biggest TV you can at 720P and save your money. You can buy a similar 720P Samsung at 55" (or more), spend around $1,000.00, and it will look EXACTLY the same at a 12 foot distance. Try it yourself - go into a store and stand 12 feet away from a 720P and a 1080P set and I guarantee that the resolution will be identical to your eyes unless the screen size is bigger than 60".

    BTW: I bought a 50" 720P Samsung and I sit 9 feet away. When I went shopping last year they had the 720P and 1080P sets right next to each other. I had to get in the next aisle to get 9 feet away, but when I did I couldn't see any difference. I spent less than half what I'd planned.
     
  11. hodedofome

    hodedofome Well-Known Member

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    It's not that the Onkyo has an issue with HD sound, it's that it can't play it at all[​IMG]

    The receiver in the Onkyo HTS5100 doesn't accept the HD audio from the PS3 but still accepts normal Dolby Digital and DTS just like receivers have for years. The deal is on your budget, any comparable system in the price range is going to have crappy speakers, like the Sony/Panasonic/Pioneer HTiB's. The Onkyo is the only one with decent speakers and subwoofer, and that makes wayyy more of a difference in sound than by using the HD audio formats with crappy speakers. Better speakers will always sound better with Dolby Digital and DTS vs bad speakers using Dolby TrueHD or DTS-Master Audio.

    As far as whether or not it's worth it to spend more on audio vs getting a lesser tv, that's up to you. I would personally choose a Panasonic/Pioneer plasma over any lcd, because the picture is better and it's cheaper for the size. It's true that you probably won't be able to tell the difference between 720P and 1080P at your seating distance and screen size, however the more expensive Panasonic I linked to not only has 1080p resolution but has better contrast - better for movie watching. So it's up to you.

    Don't forget to keep some money in your budget for a Logitech Harmony universal remote, you'll want one after messing with 4 remotes even for a day.
     
  12. mrhtguy

    mrhtguy Active Member

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    personal opinion, sound is much more important than your tv. as stated, your visual quality goes down as viewing distance increases.

    for the speakers, have you considered getting them used? depending on age, you can easily get a good speaker system for less than 1/2 of retail.

    alot of the higher end speaker systems are built to LAST too. you can easily find a 5 year old system that worked just as it did when the previous owner purchased them.

    i would only suggest pickup for delivery method, that way you can demo the system before you buy them.

    if you have an american express card, there are a couple nice universal remotes in their membership rewards section. i got the sony av commander from AMEX as well as a MONSTER HTS1000 for $0.

    surge protection is a necessity!

    again on the surge protector, you can get high end stuff used for cheap. i wouldn't buy a used UPS though.

    if you end up getting a projection tv and even a projector, they recommend you run a UPS with them. When you turn them off, there is a cooling fan that continues to blow inside them for a period of time to properly cool down everything. When you have a power outage the fan will not come on and internal damage may occur.

    On the TV get whatever you can for the best deal you can. it is getting close to the end of the year and like car dealers, some TV retailers tend to try to liquidate current stock to make room for newer models.

    when i bought my tv almost 2 years ago, i got a brand new panasonic 56' LCD rear projection 1080i tv for $1200 shipped from amazon. most importantly, do not rule out the large stores on your tv search either. i liked the tv, only weakness i could cite was it was somewhat sensitive to high sun glare but i could turn up the brightness to compensate.

    check it out: Televisions at Circuit City

    and price vs size: http://www.amazon.com/Mitsubishi-Dia...165553&sr=1-26

    TV's are usually the most suspect items and if you have problems, you'd want to get it from somewhere that you can easily seek warranty service. if price is your concern, then go online.

    i say get a decent reciever and a used high end speaker system. Get a decent universal remote, get high end used surge protection, get a ups if you need it and get the TV last for the best deal you can.
     
  13. canine10

    canine10 Member

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    Thanks for the input guys. I have a lot to think about. From what I have read, sound > video. I also have noticed that people are not big on lcds and if you go lcd go cheaper to get bigger because beyond 10ft you can't tell the difference between a 1080p and 720p unless you have a high end 60'' plus lcd.

    I think understand that lcd technology is newer, so it is more expensive, less bang for the buck. Plus even with a 120hz refresh it still isn't as smooth as plasma or projection and the blacks still aren't there yet.

    Would people rate projection over plasma? Or is that just preference?

    Holding off on a blu-ray player to upgrade sound is a good idea?

    Thanks again,
    Andy
     
  14. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Well-Known Member

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    No offense, but who watches TV from 40 feet away?

    this calculator is reasonably good. It suggests that at 16 ft, you'd probably need a 120 inch screen to appreciate 1080p. At 12 ft, a 90 inch screen is needed.

    And since you have a budget, front projection is the only way to go.

    (This is all based on the observation that the eye's resolution is limited to 1 minute of arc. 1080i/p is composted of 1920 horizontal pixels, so the screen should occupy at least 32 degrees of arc. Similarly, 720p (1280 across) should occupy at least 21 degrees of arc, and 480p, 12 degrees of arc.)

    If you set your sights on 720p, you'll want about a 60 inch display at 12 ft, and a 80 inch display at 16 ft. (minimum)

    Again, projector territory.

    You don't have to use those standards, but they may help curb screen-envy a few months from now.
     
  15. IdontHaveAgoodUserName

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    ok dont know where we are in this section about the tv part(sorry olympics are on) but if you are set or do go with the samsung you do need to know this....the 750 model and 650 model viewing spec/quality wise are exactly the same so save 2-3 hundred with that, the bigger speakers that come with it dont doyou any good as you willhave a surround sound, as the 1gig of extras they are 3 slide shows(can't lie they do look pretty but hooking up your pc you can do this), recipes for cooking, and mini games which are knock off's of wii mini games. like i said dont know where your at but this is important to know if your on a budget.


    ahhh omg ok i finished reading the rest of the articles...ok yes there are standards for viewing distance and tv resolution but if someone/which they have came to me when i sold these tv's that there was no point at all i showed them the difference from a 720/1080 playing the same movie on a very similar/sometimes exact tv and they all agreed there was a difference which was prob. no more than 8-10ft away. how much a factor thats up to you but go look into some stores and ask if you can see the difference even if you are buying online. oh and most places match there own online/ competator(sp?) prices in their area.
     
  16. mrhtguy

    mrhtguy Active Member

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    i think so, blu ray players and their movies are still high. if you wait the prices will fall between 33-50% i predict.

    i think the projection over plasma may be a preference. from what i hear plasma is the best for picture quality but there are longevity issues with plasma whereas projection/projectors is a proven technology to say the least.

    oh in addition to my other post, a good dvd player is a must as well. i recently just went from a HTIB RCA dvd player to a pioneer elite dv-58 av. video difference was negligable but audio was night and day.

    to cut cost, a used/like new/mint reciever is a good option as well.

    did you look at the links i supplied? that mitsu tv on amazon was only $1100 and that samsung on circuit city was only $1300. personally id go with circuit city b/c if it doesn't work or fails within warranty you can take it back in and get it serviced or replaced with little problems.

    only thing i do not know is the quality on DLP's. i hate to hijack but to everyone else; HOW ARE DLP'S FOR PICTURE QUALITY?

    Lastly, if space isn't your problem go with a lcd/rear projection, rear projection or a projector setup(maybe DLP if it is good). i personally haven't tried projectors but they say they are good. i personally have not tried DLP either and do not know much about them other than they do not suffer from the flaws that LCD's have.
     

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