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New HTS: Have HDTV, PS3. Need Receiver/Speaker advice (1 Viewer)

sblack

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Simon
Hello,

I'm new to Home Theater. Could use some advice on adding sound to my setup. This should replace my old stereo and provide HDMI powered sound from my PS3 and HD cablebox.

Pricing: Under $500.

Have:

- Panasonic 42 inch Plasma TV. 2 HDMI inputs.
- Playstation 3 80 GB Blueray player.
- Comcast cable box with HD.
- Tivo non-HD that could probably be left out of the picture.

Need (from what I understand this is what I need anyway):

- A/V Receiver
- Speakers

Features I Would Prefer to Have:

- Use HDMI whenever possible. Researching this I notice some Receivers use "HDMI pass through" which doesn't take advantage of newer "lossless" output formats. I would love to avoid this, and not need an extra cable, but if that breaks the bank I probably won't notice the difference anytime soon.

- Wireless rear speakers. I see a lot of people don't like wireless. But I really, really need it here. No reasonable way to run wires from our TV to behind our couch where surround sound would be. If the sound is a little poor in back I'm OK with that.

- An iPod dock. I could get the audio files played in other ways (rip CDs or copy files to PS3 Hard Drive, etc.) but just sticking my iPod into the receiver would be the most convenient.

Here is what I'm looking at, but none of them seem to have all the features I want at the same time :frowning: ...

Amazon.com: Home Theater Systems: DVD Home Theater, Mini Home Theater, Speaker Systems & More

Does this make sense? Am I missing anything conceptually in terms of what is needed? I understand I will need extra HDMI cables (which are pricey like $60).

I am really not that picky about sound quality. My wife is a bit more picky. But this is going to be a huge upgrade for us no matter what - just want high quality in terms of ease of use and functionality more than perfect audio quality.

Thanks for any advice,
Simon
 

David Willow

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Keeping it under $500, the only option you really have is the Home Theater in a Box like the ones you linked to. I suggest one of the Onkyos - get the best one your budget can handle.

I heard of a Panasonic that includes wireless surrounds. Not sure how it sounds or features, but that may be a place to look....

Do not pay $60 for HDMI cables. Go to monoprice or blue jeans cables.
 

gene c

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This one Onkyo HT-S7100-refurbished has everything but the wireless speakers. It's a refurb, but comes with an Onkyo warranty.

Wireless speakers are available, but generally they don't sound very good and are quite a bit more expensive.
 

sblack

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Simon
Thanks.

I've managed to classify my options here:


1) Pay more but be ready for the future.

This guy's wish list is perfect for that option. Already have the PS3:

Amazon.com: "Inexpensive Home Theater Setup for HD/Blu-Ray"

My price w/o wireless: $570.00 + cables. + $120 for Rocketfish wireless.

2) Cheap HTiB, has wireless, but inputs are very limited - no HDMI input.

Amazon.com: Panasonic SC-PT960 Deluxe 5 DVD Home Theater System: Audio & Video

Tempting for ease of use. Matches my Panasonic 42 Plasma TV. But I am having a hard time understanding how to hook my PS3 80GB and HD Cable Box to it. I don't think I can without loosing a lot of quality or ease of use. I guess I would need converters/switches.

Price: $360

3) Cheaper HTiB, no wireless, 5.1, 3 HDMI inputs, 1 output

Amazon.com: Sony HT-SS2300 Blu-ray Disc™ Matching Component Home Theater System: Audio & Video

This seems to have smart HDMI inputs, so I believe I can just plug my PS3 into the receiver HDMI input, then plug the receiver HDMI output to my HDTV and have the audio come directly out of the 5.1 speakers while the video plays on the TV. No having to reconnect the TV's audio out to my receiver to get sound like the next HDMI passthrough option. This gives me great sound quality, should work smoothly with the PS3 since it is Sony.

I think I can get the rocketfish to get wireless?

Price: $345 +$120.00 for wireless(?)

4) Cheaper HTiB, 7.1 ready, but HDMI pass through.

Amazon.com: Onkyo HT-S5100 7.1 Channel Home Entertainment System (Set of Nine, Black): Audio & Video

Quoting from a review:

"The reason is the HDMI Pass Through, which, ironically is touted as a feature. The only way to get 7.1 digital audio is over HDMI, and this Onkyo receiver cannot process HDMI audio of any format. It simply passes it through to the TV, acting like an HDMI switch. Your TV ultimately demuxes the audio: displaying the video, and sending the audio back to the Onkyo through an optical or coaxial audio cable. "

Well, I don't even think my TV has optical or coaxial audio output (just the regular red&white outputs) Only 2 HDMI inputs means if I add one more HDMI component I'm screwed. It doesn't really do 7.1 yet.

Price: $380.00 + $120.00 for wireless.

Conclusion:

Right now I'm leaning toward option 3). I'm pretty certain it will work well with my components. I don't really need 8 speakers over 6. I'm worried about the implications of the HDMI pass-through, ruling out 4). I want to have my PS3 Blue-ray player sound great and not sure how to do that with the limited inputs on 2). If I just came into a lot of money I'd be tempted by 1), but with the current economy and me not really caring too much about sound quality, and not likely to get a lot more electronics in the near future. I think 3) works best.


htf_images_smilies_blush.gif



Anyone still reading that can tell me if I'm off track anywhere?


Thanks Again,
Simon
 

sblack

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Simon

David Willow

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Try to avoid the Sony. Unless you get their high end stuff, it is not worth it. For a few $$$ more you can get the Onkyo mentioned by Simon which comes with a very good AVR. The speakers should be better too. Later when you have the money (at least $1000), you can get a great speaker package from SVS (or similar).

BTW - You do not have to use all 8 speakers. Even though it is listed as 7.1, you can use it as a 5.1 system.
 

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