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Need Advice on this Budget Home Theater Package (1 Viewer)


May 25, 2003
Hello everyone. First, let me say thank you to everyone on this forum. You've all been incredibly helpful and patient with us newbies. I built my own PC with help from a similar forum; you are invaluable!

I am trying to put together a budget (around $600) home theater package that allows for some expandability in the future but doesn't break the bank today. I will be hooking it up to our DirectTV receiver, a Playstation2 and an old RCA TV (that we hope to upgrade soon). We want to be able to play video games and watch movies with the best sound possible. In addition, the system needs to be able to play CD-Rs and CD-RWs (I am getting married soon and we want to bring this set-up to the reception and use it as our DJ-less sound system).

Here are my thoughts after trolling the posts for a bit.

Possible Receiver (with Onkyo HT500 Spkr Packages):
Onkyo HT-S650 $350 (Onkyo refurb)
Onkyo TXSR600PKG $500 (Onkyo refurb)

Possible DVD Player:
Panasonic DVD-S35S $88
Panasonic DVD-RP56 $95 (used)
Toshiba SD4700 $139
Sony DVP-NS700P $203

Possible Spkr Package (if I went seperately from receivers above):
Onkyo HT500 $170
JBL NSP-1 $217

My understanding is that progressive scan DVD players don't do anything for you if you don't have HDTV, correct? Can we still use them with our old RCA until we upgrade? Also, I noticed that there is an Onkyo HTS-S660 ($380) mentioned in an earlier post but I can only find it on one website and nowhere else. Is this a better deal than the 650? Finally, just to show my true newbie roots, do most receivers these days tune in radio or do I need to worry about looking for that specifically?

Okay, that's what I got. I throw myself upon the mercy of this forum, please let me know your thoughts. And thanks again!

Ted Lee

Senior HTF Member
May 8, 2001
hi copil -

welcome to htf. :D

i wish i could give you specifics on your choices, but i'm not really up on the current gear. but i can tell you you've chosen solid brands: onkyo, sony, jbl are all great choices.

you get a lot of bang for your buck with htb's, and they're certainly not bad. however, i've rarely been impressed with the quality (and sound) of the speakers. if possible, go with separates. i think you'll be much happier with that in the long run.

i think an onkyo receiver, sony dvd player and jbl speakers will be a very decent setup.

if you want specifics on each component, do a search. if you don't find anything (doubtful), post your question in the appropriate forum - you're more likely to get a specific response.

Lew Crippen

Senior HTF Member
May 19, 2002
Check out the Acoustic Research HC6, 5.1 speaker package. It can be found for around $400 (your total above is $387). This is one of the best buys in budget speakers right now.


Mar 1, 2003
You might look at hometheaterdirect.com speakers. Their low-end set can be picked up for $150.

The Onkyo TX-SR500 receiver is an excellent choice for $300. The main thing I like about it are all five-way binding posts and two optical inputs, something you dont see in lower-end receivers.

The Panasonic S35K is a nice DVD player for the price. At $100, its hard to pass it up even if you aren't using the component source.

Good luck!

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