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Newbie here trying ot build a set up on a tight budget (1 Viewer)

FIrst off, let me apologize up front if my questions are too basic or my budget is too small. It appears most folks here are way more advanced than what I am looking to do.

I am looking for a home theatre setup (tv, receiver, speakres etc...) for less than $1,000

As far as a tv, I am hoping to go with a 37in in 1080. RIght now I am leaning on a VIzio LCD.

Vizio 37" Class Eco 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV, VO370M
http://www.walmart.com/Vizio-37-LCD-TV/ip/10993795


It seems to have all the inputs/outputs I need.

I will be hooking up a cable box, PS3 and possibly a DVD player, each via HDMI, as well as a Nintendo Wii with just the standard audio/video wires.

For sound, I am at a total loss. WIth my budget, I am figuring I'm stuck with an alll in one box unit.

Not quite sure on the dimensions on the room, but my key problem is there is no rear wall. Well, there is, but it's quite far as it is one of those that opens to the kitchen/dining area.

The wife has stated that I can not have wires running all over (or even in the walls) so I am stuck with 3 options as far as I can tell:

Sound bar & Sub
2 speakers and sub
or wireless rear speakers.

I certainly don't expect the greastest quality, considering my budget and room layout, but I do want the best for my money.

I understand that I won't get true surround sound out of either of the first 2 options. My concern is that I won't even get the simulated effect with not having the rear wall.

So, I figured wireless rear would be he way to go, but now I am learning that wireless isn't so wireless.

Not really sure what to do now.

As far as connections, I think I can run all sources into the tv, and then send the audio out via the optical audio output, assuming the reciever has that input.

So, what do you reccomend? Am I way off base here?
Any suggestions welcome, but please keep in mind my budget and room layout are not flexible.
 

Al.Anderson

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Quote:
The wife has stated that I can not have wires running all over ...
What is it with wives and wires? Is there an anti-wire chromosome?
I got my 5.1 in before she could get her bearings - but I've been hearing muttering ever since.

Quote:
As far as connections, I think I can run all sources into the tv, and then send the audio out via the optical audio output, assuming the reciever has that input.

A common misconception, but no, the audio (at least) goes directly to the receiver. The video can go directly to the TV. Ideally you'd run everything to the receiver and then one connection to the TV, but given you're budget constrained that probably won't be possible. If you run the audio from the TV to the receiver you almost always get only stereo.

You should consider a 3.1 set-up. A center channel is very nice to have. Missing out on the surrounds is not nearly as bad in comparison.

I think you'll be able to come in close to $1000. I just saw a sale on a Denon system for about $400 at J&R. Key thing to do is make sure that even if you buy an all-in-one system, it still has separate and standard speakers and receiver. That way you can upgrade as you get the chance. Many low-end HTiBs are proprietary and you can't upgrade pieces. To say nothing of having limited connections.
 

Robert_J

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How is your wife going to know you are running wires in the walls? Make her leave the house when you cut through the drywall for your first wall plate. Mine nearly freaked but after many years of proving my handy-man skills, she doesn't even flinch anymore. I have more than a mile of various cables in my walls and attic and I still need to run more.

If you get vetoed, then a 3.1 system is better than nothing.

Also, if you can get a 720p TV in a 37" then go for it. You won't notice the difference until you get to 55". Remember that the TV will look much better in your room after it has been properly calibrated.
 

I'll have to look around for some 3.1 systems. Thanks for the tip on that.

As far as wires, believe me, she'd know.

Good to know about the 720 vs 1080, I'd heard that over 32 it's noticeable. I wouldn't mind saving some $ on the tv by going 720 and putting that towards the surround system.
 

Ok, I have been researching this more. Not sure what is meant by 3.1.
The only thing I can find is a sound bar that is 3.1. Is that what is being referred to here?
Or, is there a true 3.1 system, like 2 speakers, a center channel and a sub?
Couldn't I make my own 3.1 with a 5.1 receiver and the speakers, just not use rears? Then I could add rears later if the wife changes her mind or we move or whatever?
 

Adam Gregorich

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First off, let me apologize up front if my questions are too basic or my budget is too small. It appears most folks here are way more advanced than what I am looking to do.

Welcome to HTF Brian. No such things. Most of us started out with a basic system years ago too. A 3.1 system is one with a left, center, right speakers (the 3) and a subwoofer (the .1) You absolutely could make your own 3.1 system with a 5.1 (or even 7.1) receiver, a left, center and right speaker and a subwoofer, adding rear surrounds later. Assuming you had a standard flat ceiling in your house you could eventually go with in-ceiling surround speakers.

Getting a receiver gives you long term flexibility, but with only $400 for the receiver, sub and speakers, a sound bar, your budget may not allow for that and a sound bar may be your best bet. Al I looked for that Denon and couldn't find it. Any non-sound bar good options for under $400 with three HDMI connections (two if Brian uses the PS3 for a DVD player)?
 

Al.Anderson

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Al I looked for that Denon and couldn't find it.
Yeah, I couldn't find it again either. It was an email special, so maybe that has something to do with it. But my real point was it's possible.

How about this one: http://www.jr.com/yamaha/pe/YAM_YHT391BL/


Not sure what is meant by 3.1.
Sorry about that, I wasn't clear. If you buy separates, you'd get a standard 5.1 or 7.1 receiver and just configure it to 3.1. All systems that I've seen allow for this. The advantage is that when you buy speakers you only have to pay for the 3 speakers and a sub. Of course, you could also do this incrementally, first set up stereo, then add a center channel, then add a sub. (And when you get your wife in a week moment, add the surrounds).

Given that you'll probably be getting an all-in-one (I'm refraining from using the term HTiB, since that implies other bad things) you woun't be saving money on the speakers; but if you get a decent all-in-one it will let you turn off the other channels as mentioned above and you can just not install the surrounds as was your wish. (Speakers supplied in an all-in-one system aren't great, but they're better than you might think, and you'll be happy for at least a couple of years. Then you can upgrade.)
 

We do have an all in one right now, It's very cheap...by Coby, I payed $60 for it brand new, with a built in dvd player and tuner. But, it does work and it has definitely caused me to want a better one.

I like that Yamaha, I'll have to look into that one more. I ma really hoping for 3 HDMI inputs, but I may have to deal with 2.
 

Al.Anderson

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We do have an all in one right now, It's very cheap...by Coby, I payed $60 for it brand new, with a built in dvd player ...
I'm not doing very well - that kind of configuration was what I was specifically trying to *not* recommend. I meant getting a package that contained a receiver (that you could get separately) and a set of speakers in one box. You'll usually get a price benefit buying this way.

The combined receiver/DVD is usually referred to as a Home Theater in a Box (HTiB), and are usually (almost always) not worth getting.
 

Yeah, I wouldn't even bother with one for a few hundred, but for $60 i couldn't pass it up. We have had it a few years and it still works, I just want something better.
 

CB750

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Surprise you wife with new carpeting for your HT room. Then when the carpet installers come in ask them to run your surround speaker wires in the space between the carpet tack strips and your wall. Wife will never see the wires and will thank you later when your system will deliver better surround sound.
It's a shame that those on a budget but who want a true home theater experience are forced to buy a full feature stand alone TV when all you end up using the TV for is a monitor. I wonder why the manufacture don't offer models with high quality picture but with out all the other bells and whistles. Who needs the speakers and if you have a cable box you don't need a tuner either.
 

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