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New here, and new to this: quick advice picking out a home theatre system (1 Viewer)


Dec 19, 2010
Real Name
Hi, I came across this forum while looking for information online. I have recently decided to go out and purchase some sort of home theatre system for my tv (as you probably can tell by now, I am a complete noob). Unfortunately, my budget is pretty low (I am hoping to spend under $500 for the whole thing...$400 is even better..). The problem is, I don't understand all the lingo. I have been looking at "home theatre in a box" type home theatres (as they seem to be cheapest) and I have been on the sony site, looking at their lower end home theatres. I have even googled "best home theatre in a box 2010" and ended up getting confused by all the specifications they list, and what to be looking for.

Anyway I figured I would consult people who may actually know a thing or two.. and so I am wondering if anyone can recommend any good, reliable, cheap home theatre systems that are new and compatible with "up-and-coming technology" (3d, blu ray, etc). I have a ps3, so does that mean I don't need a blu ray player?

Also, if you have more time to answer my question, what sort of things should I be looking for in a home theatre? If you had my budget, what would you buy? Or should I wait a few years after I get out of college and save up for a bigger, better one?

I was looking at the sony 5.1 channel surround sound system HT-SF470..and other similar ones like the Sony 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray Home Theatre System (BDVE870) (this one comes with a blue ray). I'm open to getting other brands, I just looked at Sony first because my tv is a Sony. Any recommendations or advice would be really appreciated.

Thank you in advance! Sorry for all the very clueless questions


Senior HTF Member
Jul 2, 2002
Real Name
If you have a PS3 you don't need a Bluray player. And what's more, you don't want to get a HTiB with a DVD/BR player built in - if it breaks or you want to upgrade you will usually have problems.

The biggest issues with HTiBs are: quality, number/type of connections, speakers. For quality, (1) stay away from HTiBS that add a DVD/BR and (2) ask here first. BTW, Sony makes great TVs, but is not so high on the list of receivers and speakers. If you have a decent number of connections you can add things like DVDs, game systems, media players, etc. Usually 3 HDMIs and 2 components will be fine.

Speakers are the biggest problem. Even with the better HTIBs they save you money by not including great speakers; but they can be decent if you are careful. If you aren't using the system for music, you can get a satellite system. This save money and takes up less space in a dorm/apt to boot. Decent satellites sound fine for movies, but are not the best for music. Here's a good example (I didn't shop around for price): http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S3300-5-1-Channel-Theater-Receiver/dp/B003BEDQR6/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1292845553&sr=1-1

Ed Moxley

Senior HTF Member
May 25, 2003
Eastern NC
Real Name
I agree with Al, that you should go with an Onkyo system. But, instead of the HT-S3300, I'd suggest the HT-S5300 system: http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S5300-7-1-Channel-Theater-Receiver/dp/B003BEDQRG/ref=sr_1_cc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1292854339&sr=1-2-catcorr

Main reason being the 5300 system includes a powered subwoofer, and the 3300 does not. So, the 5300 system will be easier to upgrade in the future, to better speakers and subwoofer. Amazon's price on it right now is $419.43.

For speakers, the ones with this Onkyo are about as good as any you'll get with an HTIB system. No brand can give real good speakers with their system, at an HTIB price point. As said, the 5300 will be easier to upgrade, when funds allow.

We like the Onkyo systems because they include a real receiver, with plenty of features and digital inputs. They're also easy to setup and use. It will be a perfect match with your ps3, since it decodes the HD audio formats on blu ray movies.

Good luck!

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