Help.About to buy a home theater system.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by chandler r, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. chandler r

    chandler r Auditioning

    Jan 6, 2003
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    Just joined, hope you all can help me out with few hopefully basic questions.
    First of all, I want a good home theater experience, but will not be hyper critical. If I can hear things like bullets shooting over my head in a war movie I'll be really happy.
    I'll be buying a Zenith 42" plasma monitor. The picture looks as good as any to my eye, and it's a lot cheaper.

    Question 1) Can I hook this up directly to a cable box provided by a tv cable company, without using a receiver? I assume the receiver wouldn't be necessary if I'm hooked up to cable tv. But then, there must be good reasons why a receiver is necessary. Will the Zenith Plasma monitor be compatible with anything I might buy for my home-theater?

    2) For around $500-$900 I need the entire home theater package. A dvd player, and surround sound with satellite type speakers. I like the idea of small speakers as I want to hear them but not see them. Any recommendations. I'm a little worried about how I'm going to hook all this stuff together, as I see ads for installation specialists, is it that hard? The 'home theater in a box' idea appeals to me, less decisions to make, and hopefully everything wire-wise to hook it all up. Any suggestions for the average guy. Or if I buy a make like PIONEER for about $800 will it have everything I need, or perhaps loads of functions I don't need. I've also heard rumors of no-wire systems, any thoughts?
    There is a hell of a lot of tech language out there in the ads. Means nothing to me. Is there certain things I really should make sure I have. As far as how many inputs/outputs for different things or phrases like - Dolby Digital, DTS-ES Discrete, and DTS NEO 6 technologies-DTS decoding-Twin-Wave Laser Pick-up and so on.

    Thanks a lot. Simon.
  2. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

    Nov 2, 1998
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    1. I'm not sure, but I would think that a cable box would easily hook up to most TVs. Again, not entirely sure, but it's one of those things where I wouldn't see why not. Maybe another forum member can be more help.

    2. These are just ideas from browsing a few websites:

    Idea 1: Pioneer 811 Reciever (299 @ Best Buy); Panasonic DVD Player (maybe the RP82 or XP50) (around 200-250); JBL Speaker Set (475 @ BB). This comes out to over your 900 at about 975.

    Idea 2: Panasonic SAHE100 reciever (249 @ amazon), Panasonic DVD player (200-250), Onkyo SKSHT-500 Speakers (269ish). This comes out to about 750.

    Idea 3: Same as 2, except for the Pioneer 811 instead of the Panasonic. Some report that most Best Buys seem to be out of the Pioneer after the recent sale.

    Idea 4: Onkyo HT-755 (reciever, speaker set & Onkyo DVD player). This retails for 1000, but I've heard of some finding it for 100-150 less).

    Idea 5: Onkyo HT-650 (reciever + speaker set (499) + Panasonic DVD player (200-250).

    Idea 6: Panasonic SAHE100 or Pioneer 811 (249-299), HK HKTS6 (Harmon Kardon speaker set - 399 @ Circuit City), Panasonic DVD player (200-250). This is just about 900.

    Idea 7: Panasonic SAHE200 reciever - a more powerful version of the SAHE100 w/better build quality ($499 @ Circuit City), Onkyo SKSHT-500 speaker set (269), Panasonic DVD player (200-250). Also just about 900.

    Idea 8: JBL Cinema ProPack Home Theater Audio System with 5-Disc DVD Player. About $800. 5.1 system.

    Notes: The Panasonic-SAHE100 does do DTS-ES (Matrix/Discrete), DTS NEO-6, Dolby Pro Logic II and unofficial Dolby Digital-EX. The Onkyo HT-650 is not an EX/ES system. If you buy the Onkyo SKSHT-500 speaker set (which comes with most - if not all, I believe - Onkyo Home Theaters in a Box, there is also a back surround speaker that can be purchased separately from Onkyo's website ( I believe that the HT-755 comes with a reciever capable of EX/ES and the back surround speaker that can be ordered from Onkyo's website, along with the DVD player and 5.1 speaker set (SKSHT-500)

    Although you stated that you would like smaller speakers, the speakers (SKSHT-500 set) that are with the Onkyo systems are well, kinda the opposite of small. Their build quality, however, is quite good. I also noticed a Harmon Kardon speaker set @ Circuit City for 399 which appears to have smaller speakers (see #6)

    The above are simply ideas/suggestions as to what you could do given the price range you suggested. Other members will likely be able to provide additional thoughts/suggestions. Personally, as someone who has a basic 6.1 system, I would strongly recommend that you consider a system capable of 6.1. EX does not make a difference with all titles, but it often adds an additional layer of enjoyment to movies. There are also several titles with discrete 6.1 DTS-ES, such as "Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition", "Haunting", "Austin Powers: Goldmember" and others. While the list is fairly small (there are also a small group of DTS-ES Matrix titles), more look to be coming in the future (New Line's "Knockaround Guys" and "Simone", coming in 2/03 & 1/03, both offer ES-6.1 discrete).

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