A Couple Newbie Questions (Sorry!)

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by AdamLiu, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. AdamLiu

    AdamLiu Auditioning

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    Hi guys, I stumbled upon this forum when looking for reviews on some hardware. I am a 18 year old college student looking to put a home theater system in my room. I was searching the forums all night yesterday but I am still confused about a lot of things. This is what I originally intended to put in my room:


    Samsung 30" Widescreen TubeTV HDTV
    Sony HTIB (999.00) or something similar
    Fairly good DVD player (playing DVDs are very important!)
    Futon for viewing


    I am also thinking about getting a HTPC setup around the fall. I want to get a TV and HT setup so I can intergrate a PC into it. Its not the most important component but if i am going to buy a PC for school, I guess I'll just get a PC capable of using PVR and other such programs!


    Any suggestions on hardware is greatly appreciated! Remember I am I college student. I am not a super tight budget and I do have a job but I am not making 50k a year and able to buy the good stuff!! [​IMG]

    Now I have read that HTIB are terrible. I am not looking to go nuts on audio but I would like a decent system with life like sound for DVDs. I am a looking for setup more for DVDs then anything else. TV tuning and music are secondary.

    Now my questions are...

    1. Would i need a reciever? the HTIB doesn't come with one (I dont think). What would I get out of a reciever if I bought one? Whats the difference between a reciever and a preamp?

    2. I am buying a HDTV afterall and I have learned the difference between 480i or 480p and 720p or 1080i. I know some DVD players can upconvert the signal. I have also been looking at ADSTech.com's upconverter which says it can upconvert almost anything (VCR, DVD, Game Systems ect.) would it be worth it to buy one of those since I do have a Xbox, PS2, Gamecube?

    3. I don't know how to put together good components for a HT audio system so I am opting for a HTIB solution. Does anyone have any fairly inexpensive alternatives, like have a list of components I can put together that have proven to work well?

    I think thats it for now. I know I have another question in the back of my mind but I cant think of it right now. I guess I'll just post it later. Hope to hear from you guys!
     
  2. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

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    You probably have a small space which puts constraints on what you could probably buy. On the other hand, a small space is also easier to fill with sound.

    Most HTIBs are HTIBs because ... they are a one-box solution that typically include all that you need for a quick 'n dirty HT. Box contents vary; some include, for instance, DVD players while others do not; others are merely a set of speakers.

    Teh receiver/preamp question was recently asked and answered. Look further down this forum group. Basically you connect speakers directly to a receiver, whereas you will need to add a power amplifier to any preamp before connecting to speakers.

    Personally I wouldn't bother with an external upconverter, especially given your budget. You can't make something from nothing; you will never get HD quality out of a DVD source. Likewise, you will never get HD quality out of PS2, GC and Xbox games. The only exception to this is Xbox software which specifically supports HD (720p games).

    You may be better off asking for specific recommendations in other forums, but $ 1000 USD is a small but fair amount which can get you a bit more than HTiB. Not being from the states I can't recommend.

    Good luck.
     
  3. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    1) any HTiB has it's own receiver, so you won't need your own. However, Speaker Pacakges, do not, and are usually like 5 speakers and a sub, with nothing else. An HTIB, though, will have a DVD player usually, and a receiver, sometimes in one unit.

    I recommend you get a cheap receiver, and a few decent speakers, and you'll do much better for the money. I strongly recommend you look at something like Paradigm Atoms, $189/pr, STUNNING sound quality for that price. I think if you find a dealer and listen, you will be surprised. A few of these and a decent receiver should be under 1K.

    2) dont bother with video processing, 480p looks STUNNINg on an HDTV, instead, purchase a calibration disc, such as AVia or DVE. I CANT stress this enough. BY FAR the most significant increase in performance that you can possibly get, and it's so cheap, and SO simple. If you want to do video processing, do it with an HTPC.

    3)see my answer to #1. And ill answer the other part of your #1 here: don't concern yourself with preamps/processors, as these are in high-end setups, and are basically a receiver, without the amplifiers. You would then need to purchas amplifiers separately, and as these are geared towards the high-end, they are quite pricey, and easily would blow your audio budget sky high into the thousands of dollars. Just get a receiver.
     
  4. AdamLiu

    AdamLiu Auditioning

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    would the upconverter give me any type of upgraded visuals?

    I just went to Best Buy, the HTIB I was looking at is a 4 standing speaker, 1 center speaker, reciever, and I believe DVD player for 999.00 no subwoofer. I guess thats not a big problem. If anyone has any suggestions to what I can do for 1000.00 please post.

    What do you guys think of the TV? Does Samsung make good stuff?
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    First, video "upconversion" is generally, to be unconfusing, is done in receiver to transcode between signal types. For instanace, you might have a bunch of things connected with S-video, and composite connections, and then you'd have to switch between each TYPE of connection. Some high end receivers can "upconvert" composite and s-vido into component video connections, WITHOUT improving the resolution, only to make connections, switching and use simpler.

    What you are talking about is scaling and video processing. Yes this CAN provide better video, but it really isn't that necessary for smaller HDTVs. Again, it's VERY expensive to do video processing well, it takes a LOT of computing power. That's why if you are interested in this, you should use your computer as a DVD player and video processor. It's MUCH MUCH better, and gives performance of video processors costing THOUSANDs of dollars more.

    I would stay out of best buy for audio gear in general.

    Again try paradigm.ca, use their dealer locator, and go audition some real speakers.
     
  6. AdamLiu

    AdamLiu Auditioning

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    Sounds good. Does anyone have any recommendations on a budget reciever?
     
  7. Adam.Heckman

    Adam.Heckman Second Unit

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    Recently I purchased an entry level Denon reciever from 6ave.com, and I love it. It was last years model (discontinued) so i got it at a wicked discount. 168 USD. A decent prog scan DVD isn't that expensive anymore. After that, all your money (700 USD) can go toward decent speakers (I'd really recommend at least a small sub). Personally I'm slowly building an Athena Audition series setup, as money permits. I absolutely LOVE the Athenas, they are not harsh at all, like many similarly priced drivers. Others will give you lines on great deals on great speakers. You've come to the right place, just as I did. These folks are amazing.

    BTW stay away from the Athena subs, as they suck.
     
  8. AdamLiu

    AdamLiu Auditioning

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    Ack I'm learning new things all the time. Now I have to junk the TV I was going to buy because it doesn't have a DVI input. I figure if I want a TV to be somewhat future proof id better get a TV with DVI which will put me back another 400-500. Oh well. Now I'm thinking maybe do a HTPC setup.

    Is it easy for me to use the PC speakers with my TV if I connect my TV with my Computer? Does upscaling from the computer really improve the picture quality? Are Computer DVD drives capable of progressive scan or does it even still apply????
     
  9. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Adam, careful using the local vernacular with these folks, they may not understand[​IMG]. To anyone outside the Boston area, "wicked" means "very" or "really good", not evil or satanic. If Jeremy had said he got a "wicked pissa" discount, that would have been under cost or free, but since he only got a "wicked" discount, we know he got it below retail. See "Good Will Hunting" for reference.

    "Yo, my boy is wicked smaht" - Casey Affleck, GWH
     
  10. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    sure, you can use PC speakers, however, most people with HTPCs feed the digital stream to a receiver for their HT audio system, as PC speakers are usually pretty bad. Again, upscaling usually refers to changing the signal type, NOT the image. Video processing/scaling changes the image resolution, etc. It can provide a significant improvement, as described, for larger displays which can benefit from higher resolutions (as in CRT projectors front and rear), or 1:1 pixel mapping as in digital displays. Again, this may be a little over the top for a direct-view CRT, IMO. If I were you I'd use an HTPC since you have a computer anyway, just to keep things cheaper. And focus instead on good audio.
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    does that apply to hd rptv as well?

    i have a samsung 931 connected via dvi to my mits tv. using the dvi was a significant improvement on pic quality. not sure how that would look with crt though, but i imagine any digital signal is better then one that has been converted to analog?

    anway, back to your questions. [​IMG]

    definitely stay away from a htb. while some of the components may not be bad (yamaha, kenwood), you'll take a serious performance hit with the speakers. i really have yet to find a decent htb with good quality speakers.

    you can get a decent receiver for probably under 300 dollars. that'll leave you around 700 for a decent speaker package. best buy sells a jbl sub/sat system for around 500 (160 something-or-other) that sounds very impressive. there's lots of other speakers in that price range that will *blow away* any htb speaker package.

    then, buy a decent dvd player. if you don't go dvi, you can get a great one for around 150 bucks. if you want inexpensive dvi, check out the Bravo V-1 (?) - it's pretty inexpensive and works well. but i hear it has reliability problems.
     
  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Ted:

    I'm assuming your mits is a CRT RPTV?

    They have digital ones now too, so it's hard to know, and since i dont follow RPTVs that much, I'm a little out of the loop.

    Anyway, CRTs are analog devices, so by connecting a CRT with DVI, you are just moving the D-A conversion to the set. This may provide improvements if the set has great electronics, and your DVD player is crappy, but this is sort unrelated to it being DVI connected. It's not "staying digital all the way" or anything, it is just shifting the conversion to a different location.

    DVI with digital displays, however, ELIMINATES a D-A, then A-D pair of conversions. This definitely CAN improve your picture quality.

    The only reason I'd worry about DVI for CRT displays, is future compatibility with like HDCP and such, IMO.
     
  13. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    yeah, i guess it's a crt rptv. it's the mits 65313, but it is a "traditional" rptv, but it is hi-def.

    that's a good point about where the conversion finally "falls" - i guess my tv must have some good stuff in it.

    btw, i'm reading that most people think HDMI is going to be the connection of choice. it would certainly make sense to combine video and audio into one cable. about freakin' time...
     
  14. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Well, they can have it.

    10 years from now I'll probably still be adjusting my Barco with a screwdriver and wingnuts. [​IMG]

    And I'll be in line waiting for when the high end ditches all their 9500LCs, and G90s for digitals.

    [​IMG]
     

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