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Need help - Basic, decent Home Theater Setup for Newbie

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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Stan



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Posted February 02 2012 - 11:31 AM

Believe it or not, but I was one of the early adopters of widescreen DVD. Had worked for years as a projectionist so knew how much was being cut off the sides of a standard TV showing. Anyhow, mid 90s I hopefully contributed to the demise of DIVX and Circuit City, also showed as many people as possible how terrible pan & scan was and how much picture they were losing. In 1998, purchased a fantastic Toshiba 36 inch 4:3 TV and great DVD player along with a so-so sound system. Worked fantastic. Out of several thousand DVDs, on 3 were unplayable. But Ive been reading that more and more is going BluRay only, maybe or maybe not throwing in a DVD version, so looks like I'm being forced to upgrade. Use Dish Network, and probably 90% of what I watch is letterboxed, so not losing picture. But want the flatness, HD capability and screen size of a 42" HDTV. Fiinally ready dive into a 42" or so HDTV, switch to BluRay and bump up the sound system. They main thing I've come across is make sure HDTV is at least 120Mhz and obviously 1080p. Beyond that I haven't done a lot of research, so why not ask the people who truly use the equipment. I don't need a super high-end home theatre setup, but something nice, reliable and affordable but not some cheap HDTV that will break down in two years. Any advice on where to start, what's good, bad, etc? Or is there a good resource that I don't have to spend two weeks reading through to compare models, etc. Thanks, Stan

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Frank A

Frank A

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Posted February 02 2012 - 03:30 PM

Hi, Stan. I don't know how much help I will be. I doubt you can go wrong with a Sony or Samsung (or any other major name brand tv, for that matter). I have a 2 or 3 year old 50 inch Sony (lcd, 1080p, etc.) and have had no problem with it at all. I mentioned Samsung, as my daughter/son-in-law have one, and they really like it, (no problems, a little newer than mine). Before this one, I had a 55 inch Mitsubishi dlp for several years (no problems). I think I would probably look at the newer thinner model led's(?). I think I would go to a big electronics store in your area, if possible, and compare them (Best Buy or Fry's Electronics or other). For a Blu Ray player, I have a Sony (no problems whatsoever). I think Samsung would also be fine. If I had my choice, though, I would strongly look at the Oppo (never owned or seen one, but really love the reviews). My son just recently bought a Samsung dvd/receiver combination and really likes it. I have chosen to go separates and not have a boxed setup. Get yourself a nice little AV receiver such as Denon,Onkyo, Pioneer, etc (I have a Harman Kardon). and some speakers and you are on your way to a nice little setup. There are lots of options this way. You really haven't mentioned exactly what you want budget wise or whether separates or htib, or ???? Good luck, and maybe someone will come along and give you some good advice.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Robert_J


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Posted February 02 2012 - 10:50 PM

For the TV, find one that has the appropriate inputs and features you want. I know this sounds odd, but don't pay as much attention to the picture quality as you might think. The display models aren't set up properly in the store anyway. Once you get it home and calibrated it will look completely different. I'm more than happy with my Samsung Blu-ray player. It has features like Netflix streaming and a built-in high def audio decoder since I needed that with my older receiver. Frank is correct about a budget. You have done the equivalent of going to a car forum to ask about a vehicle and giving the only requirement as "it must have at least 4 wheels". There's too many options and you didn't specify how much you want to spend or what you want out of the purchase.

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Stan



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Posted February 03 2012 - 05:45 AM

I just spent about an hour explaing things a little more and fine tuning my questions, onto be dumped when I hit the submit button. Lost all my text, comments, etc. Will remost later when things seem a little more stable. Thank you for your advice and pointing me in the right direction to learn more about how to handle this upgrade properly.

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Martino


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Posted February 03 2012 - 10:01 AM

For your list...here is what I go through... Come up with a budget for your project first. Especially if you are asking for advise here (makes it easier for our fourm members to tailor their recommendations if they have a budget to work with). Ask yourself what is important to you - what kind of movies and/or music to you like to listen too, and what are you expecting out of your system?. What is the dimensions of the space you are going to be using for your system? Is there an ability to have complete light control and go with a projector system, or is there a lot of windows in your space and you will have to try to get a good picture despite of this? You can save a lot of money by going with some of the direct buy companies for your speakers. They will cut out the middle man and pass the savings on to you. Of course, the downside of this is unless you have a friend that has already gone this rout, you will be relying on reviews and people here recommending systems. Do you like tower speakers, or is it more important to have 5 (or 7) identical speakers for a more even sound-stage?