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First timer looking for budget set up help

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Ka Tet, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. Ka Tet

    Ka Tet Auditioning

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    My wife and I are buying our first home and it I was thinking I would like to get a new tv setup with surround sound.

    Basically the new house has a recessed shelf over the gas fireplace designed for the tv that I would like to use. It's 47"W X 28.5"H X31" D. I've found a few LCD's that will fit in there, mostly in the 37" range, but a few in the 42" range, although it gets a little tighter on the height then.

    The room is really bright and open, with high vaulted ceilings (sloping from about 8'-9' to probably about 12'). It's also not enclosed at all and is really the front half of the house with the kitchen and a wide hallway leading to the bedrooms. Our seating will be between 6'-8' from the TV. The wall behind will be about 15' from the TV. (These are estimates as I've only been in the house a few times so far & I keep finding more things to measure everytime I leave, I'm not even sure how relevant it all would be)

    I've been reading these forums as well as a lot of comparisons, reviews, etc, online for both TV's and Audio setups and I'm starting to find it exhausting. I'm realizing how little I know about these things.

    Let me start off by saying that I'm not looking for the best of anything, but something I can expand on would be a bonus. (but not necessary)

    This is essentially what I'm looking for:
    • A TV that is good quality and will fit in the recessed shelf
    • A Decent sound for movies, Video Games, & Direct TV
    • Within a budget of $2000 - $2500 (Less is better, but not sacrificing too much in quality)
    • Simplicity is a bonus as I'm new to all of this

    This is what we will be using:
    • Direct TV DVR
    • DVD Player
    • Wii
    • Playstation 2/upgraded to a PS3 in the near future
    • Ipod (possibly?)
    • Probably going to need room to add something in the future as well. I like stuff

    So now what I'm really asking. Please help me to help myself. I'm simply overwhelmed with everything to consider. So far I'm thinking a Samsung, Sharp, or Sony LCD in the 37-42" range. I think LCD from what I've read because the room is bright and I won't have any real control of the light during the day.

    ONKYO HTS9100THX 7.1 Channel Home Theater System (Black)
    I know this is a box setup, but it seems to fit my simplicity needs. Of course another thing I've been looking for is something wireless, but I haven't found a lot of information yet there. It's possible that it may be outside my budget to do that as well.

    So if anyone can help me narrow my search/research parameters down a bit, maybe I can focus and learn a bit more before I buy. Already a lot that I've read on this forum has been very helpful, so thanks for that, and I appreciate any help from someone more knowledgeable.

    -Brian (apologies for being longwinded and inexperienced)
     
  2. Kevin Stewart

    Kevin Stewart Second Unit

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    Is there anywhere else you can put the TV and use that niche for plants or pictures?

    Sit 6 feet away from a wall and then tilt your head up to look at something above a fireplace. Now, do it for 3 or 4 hours. Feel that neck strain?

    Builders put those niches there because they look like something you might see in a magazine. Unfortunately, it's a terrible place to actually put a TV.
     
  3. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Plus, at 8 feet away you should have a lot bigger screen. Search the net for HDTV distance calculators.
     
  4. Ka Tet

    Ka Tet Auditioning

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm not worried about the height above the fireplace since it's only going to be sitting slightly higher than our current set up (a CRT on an entertainment center), also we tend to be reclined watchers. As in we are either laying on the couch or reclined back, so there will be no neck strain to speak of. Either that, or we are already all screwed up and it no longer matters [​IMG]

    Now in my current house I would never mount something above the fireplace because that would be too high, but this is a low slung gas fireplace, taking up nowhere near as much room as a wood fireplace. Thank you for the concern though.

    As for the distance, I did look at some charts and a calculator and I seem to be within range for a 37"-42" for 6'-8' away.

    Maybe you could tell me what I'm missing? Also be aware I'm not looking for an optimal set up, it's less of a home theater than it is I just want a good TV and sound experience for movies, games, and tv. - But this site has by far the most helpful and knowledgeable people that I've found so far. And believe me, the sales people have been only marginally helpful at this point.

    Also I'm thinking of our current set up. An old 28" CRT viewed from 6-8' away with a cheapie DVD/HtiB that has given me a taste to get something better.

    Again, thanks for the comments. My current specific question now is learning about HDMI. Am I to assume that HDMI ports are used with HD only. So if I upgraded my DVR/DirecTV package to an HD package then I would utilize HDMI, or is it usable without that? I'm still confused from what I've read so far.

    I ask because I'm trying to figure out just how many inputs I should worry about for a TV or an A/V reciever. Currently I use all RCA A/V cables. I know I can use component cables for my Wii and the DirecTV as well. Beyond that I get a little lost.
     
  5. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Check this calculator out: Viewing Distance Calculator

    To get optimal size for your viewing distance you will need between 56 and 65 inches (depending what formula you use). Anything smaller and it won't matter weather you have 720p or 1080p. This is just an FYI - since this is not a big concern for you. Just keep in mind that all measurements are diagonal. A 37" 16x9 will be about the same size as your 28" 4x3 screen.

    HDMI is used for all video and audio, no matter if it is HD or not. HDMI makes it easy to connect since you need only one cable.
     
  6. Ka Tet

    Ka Tet Auditioning

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    Thanks for that. That's the calculator I was looking at. I guess in my noobishness I was rounding the numbers as I was looking at them. (I tend to guesstimate a lot as well)

    I have been reading that there's no real noticeable difference between 1080p & 720p at that screen size, & I'm taking that into consideration while I do my research. As in I see no reason to pay more for 1080p, although I've already had salespeople try to push it onto me even though I've done only comparison shopping so far.

    Many, many thanks for the HDMI explanation. Either I was over complicating it while I was reading up on it, or it's just something that is assumed to be known by now (that I didn't). Makes much more sense now.
     
  7. Kevin Stewart

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    Here's another chart that might be a bit easier to decipher:
    [​IMG]

    If you end up getting a 42" display, you'll should be able to notice some difference with 1080p over 720p from less than 8', so I would certainly get a 1080p if I were you.

    That Onkyo system is decent for a living room. When you get close to the $1000 mark, I think you're better off with seperate components.

    You can probably get the Onkyo 606 receiver for $350 or so and decent speaker systems can be found for less than $600.

    You can get a 10" Dayton sub for less than $150. Parts Express[​IMG]ayton SUB-100 HT Series 10" 125 Watt Powered Subwoofer

    And Klipsch Quintet III's for $400 - $500. Klipsch - Synergy Series Quintet III 5-Piece Home Theater Speaker System - QUINTET III

    That would put you at about $1000, but it would be much better than the Onkyo package.

    And that still leaves you $1500 for a display. I don't know much about smaller sets, but I'm sure you can get a nice Sony Bravia or Panny 1080p LCD for under that.
     
  8. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    For displays, check out the Samsung LN40A650 which can be had for $1220 or the Sony KDL-40XBR6 which can be found for about $1450. Both should fit in your space, although the Sony will be fairly tight on the height measurement.
     
  9. Bob_Chase

    Bob_Chase Stunt Coordinator

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    +1

    I just set up the 52" version of this set for my father and the picture was nothing short of amazing. I can see why Consumer Reports named it their best set.
     
  10. Ka Tet

    Ka Tet Auditioning

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    I've been looking as Samsungs, both the 37" 4&5 series as well as the 40" 6 series.

    I'm almost positive I will be going with one of those.

    As for the sound - thanks for those suggestions. I'm starting to get a slightly better handle on what is needed to go into all of this. (A part of my desire for simplicity with a HtiB was simply that I was unaware of exactly what I needed to buy to put one together)

    I do have a question though. I've been looking at Onkyo HtiB systems on newegg and reading reviews. I notice that the 606 receiver gets compared to the receiver in the 6100 HtiB (as opposed to the 9100 I was looking at before)

    My question is, for the price at $600 - would the Onkyo 6100 be an upgradable choice if I wanted to look at getting better speakers/sub down the road? It could save me some upfront money (making my wife happy) and still let me sneak in some purchases later.

    I'm going to read up and compare the 606 with the other systems right now, but I figure someone here would know right off the bat if that was a bad idea for whatever reason.

    Thanks again for the suggestions and info.
     
  11. Kevin Stewart

    Kevin Stewart Second Unit

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    Yes.
     

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