Putting together first HT in the next few months: advice needed

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam_S, Mar 14, 2001.

  1. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Hi I've been lurking around the HTF boards for a while now though I haven't posted much.
    Anyway I'll be putting together my first home theatre int eh next few monthes. Now being a high school junior on a tight budget I figure the most I can spend will be about $1500 (god it's goign to be hell saving that...). My parents are completely out on helping me buy any of this (it'll all be in my room), as they have absolutely no clue about quality. My dad told me one day that he heard on the radio that there was absolutely no differnce between a hundred dollar dvd player and thousand dollar one, "they" are just tricking people into buying the name brand. I attempted to explain a basic differnece like inputs/outputs but it was beyond him, he was adament that there wasn't any significant difference.
    So I'm already dealing with my parents being eventually horrified that I'm spending all that money on something so silly (I fully expect my dad to forbid me at one point to waste all my money). So I figure best case scenario I can finagle them into buying some of my cabling. [​IMG]
    anyway with a fifteen hundred dollar cap I've tried to set up about like this:
    40% to speakers I'd like a 5.1 system, and klipsch's quintet microsystem is sorely tempting me, even though it's over budget.
    20% each to dvd player, new tv, and reciever
    I'm pretty sure I'll be getting a pioneer DV-C503 for my dvd player, for one it's under budget and has all the connections I need. I'm going with it rather than a 333 mainly because the 333 doesn't have a composite output which is the only input my bottom of the line 13" tv has (that and a five disc player is much more appealing to my lazy ass [​IMG]).
    as you can see from above I desperately need a new tv. I really don't know that much of the differences and any input would be appreciated, I mainly want an s video input and at least 19". I have a $300 cap on it.
    I don't know quite as much about recievers either, i've seen some nice one at sam's for good prices. but any suggestion would be a great relief, again a $300 cap is around what I'm looking at. it needs at least DD decoders, as my dvd player doesn't have them. several S-video inputs would be nice as well, b/c then I could plug my video game systems into it via svideo and just hav eth eone connection running to my tv.
    also if you have a good 5.1 speaker suggestion for near the $600 mark please mention it, speakers are the area I'm most flexible about. [​IMG] also they don't need to have overwhelming power, my room's just barely 10'x10', so anythign more than 50 watts would be excessive, and I'd hardly ever use it. [​IMG]
    And yes I do realize I've no budget for cabling, I'll work that out as it comes, as I'll probably be buying first my dvd player, then tv, then reciever and speakers, though I suppose I could wait and get the tv last (which i'm tempted to do), and like I said I can probalby mis-direct my parents into buying cables by suggesting that it's the cheapest parts; maybe that I forgot to budget for it; or perhaps the sympathy thing, "I've worked this hard to get all this couldn't you front the money for somethign as minor as cables?"
    AS for setting up the cabintry for my tv and center speaker, my dad and I can build that ourselves so no worry there, my dad will prolly pay for the lumber/plywood.
    Anyway thanks for taking the time to read this, any suggestions would be wonderful.
    Adam
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    Valar Morghalis
     
  2. Steve Tannehill

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    At that price point, I would forget about cables and look at an all-in-one unit (or all-in-a-box unit) with DVD player, speakers, and amplification. Ronbo talked about such a system around the holidays. I've seen boxed systems by Panasonic and (I believe) Sony at reasonable prices.
    Spend what's left on a larger computer monitor...which will serve your computer and your video playback needs.
    Just a thought...
    - Steve
     
  3. Vance V

    Vance V Extra

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    Adam,
    How about a 27" svga monitor for $319?
    http://www.compgeeks.com/details.asp?invtid=205-1027
    I have one just like it but with a Princeton Graphics name on it. It'll even display 1080i(HDTV).
    As for dvd, surely you have a computer that's at least 400mhz? And with the right components such as dvd drive, sound card with digital out, and WinDvd, you'll be able to watch your dvds at 800x600 on that 27" svga monitor rather than 480i, as with most stand alone dvd players.
    And as for your sound system, Steve is right, you're better off looking for a "Home Theater in a Box" sound system.
    Good luck,
    ------------------
    Vance
    My HT Pics
     
  4. Gary Thomas

    Gary Thomas Second Unit

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    I just helped a friend set up a Kenwood HTB 503 (receiver, 5 speakers & subwoofer)in his basement with surprisingly good results. So...
    Kenwood HTB: $500
    Pioneer DVD: $275
    27" TV: $350
    & you've got some money left over to start your dvd library.
    Go easy on your dad...maybe once he sees & hears one of his favorite movies on your new system he'll hire you to upgrade his!
    ------------------
    DVD's
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  5. Brett Robert

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    .... I second the HT in a box. A friend has a Aiwa system and it sounds great. A 250 ft roll of 16 gauge zip cable is only about $35 so not much budget there, and I doubt you would hear a difference, But I am not going there. You don't even need a 400 MHz PC, a Hollywood video card and a DVD rom can be had for $159 online. You could run that in a 166mhz. Good luck.
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    ~~~~~~~Brett~~~~~~~~~
    Champagne tastes with a beer budget
    My HT
     
  6. Steve Tannehill

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    Heck, a 27-inch VGA monitor at that price is tempting to *me*. Has anyone dealt with this online vendor? A refurb worries me (as I've had more than my fair share of dead monitors to deal with). But that's less than half of what I paid for a 19-inch monitor two years ago. Wow!
    - Steve
     
  7. Vance V

    Vance V Extra

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    Steve,
    A few months ago, I purchased 4 removable HD trays from them without any problems. You might want to take a look at avsforum.com, I think there were a few posts concerning those same monitors in the HDTV or HTPC forum.
    Good luck,
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    Vance
    My HT Pics
     
  8. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    [​IMG] when i think of the looks i would get if i walked into the next LAN party with a 27 inch monitor... [​IMG] damn but that's sweet, the problem is that I don't have a personal computer, the computer I'm using is our familys computer, and i dont'want to bother with a dvd player there, b/c any movie i watch on here that's rated more than pg, i would have to be wearing headphones, or face my ultra conservative parents wrath. I must say that it is sorely tempting with my parents pair of 15 year old pioneer CS-F9001s [​IMG] (okay it's an old system, but still pretty much works, i wired them to be my comp speakers as it is. [​IMG]
    Anyway thanks for the suggestions, i have seriously considered a HT in a box, it would be much much easier, but considering that the only systems i ever see advertised are much more powerful than i would ever need, i think it would be wise to spend an equivalent amount for 50 watt speakers rahter than 100 watts and have that much higher of quality. I'll look into the Kenwood system and at some aiwa ones as well, thanks for the zip cable suggestion as well, it's something i've really never bothered to research at all, but i realize that it can affect your experience either somewhat or a great deal (depending on who i've talked to)
    Adam
     
  9. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Steve -
    That monitor is NOT comparable to a $600 19" computer display. Most of the 19" computer monitors currently selling in that price range (which has been stable for the last year or two) are capable of 1280x1024 non-interlaced, if not 1600x1200. They generally have a 0.28mm or smaller dot pitch. Such displays are almost good enough able to display 1920x1080i HDTV in its full glory (albeit on a screen too small for HT applications).
    That Gateway 27" monitor is like a better-than-average TV. Its maximum resolution is 800x600 non-interlaced. It doesn't have the fine dot pitch required to extract all the detail from the HDTV format. I have seen this monitor in retail stores, and its dot pitch is not fine enough to resolve 800x600 fully, let alone HDTV (1280x720p or 1920x1080i).
    The Gateway is good for someone planning on buying a $300 27" TV, because you get "free" computer input. The quality of display is still only slightly better than using TV-out on a video card. Since you've already bought a quality 19" computer monitor, hang on to your cash...
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    - - -- - -
    Colin Dunn
     
  10. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Yep ....consider a HTIB..
    HTIB 553(503 for a little less)- $450
    DVD player $300
    TV $400......Spend some money on a better TV.... NOW [​IMG]
    Total.....$1150
    Lots left for extras
    Brent L:
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    Mar 1st....Toronto members interested in a possible tour of the Paradigm facility in Woodbridge please check the MEETS page......early June!!
     
  11. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I've been seriously looking at home theaters in a box for a few days now and this philips one at best buy seems pretty damn good, i was wondering if any one could clue me into the inevitiable catch (and if it's b/c philips sucks please explain why i have portable cd player of their's that's been excellent). I'll definitly be looking at other HTIAB as well, including the ones mentioned on this forum, and looking for used stuff is ia great idea, i feel stupid for not having thought of it. :p
    Adam
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    "What sort of food would I eat if i could only eat one food in the world? Pez. Cherry Flavored Pez." - Vern -- Stand By Me
     
  12. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    I think the problem is that the Philips is unproen...whereas the Kenwood is..
    I also think one of the Kenwoods strong points is the sub, where the Philips 50watt sub looks pretty weak.
    Brent L
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    Mar 1st....Toronto members interested in a possible tour of the Paradigm facility in Woodbridge please check the MEETS page......early June!!
     
  13. PhilipW

    PhilipW Second Unit

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    I am in sortof the same boat as you except I have a wife that claims she can't tell the difference between digital sound and non digital, and digital display and non, and DVD's and VHS (I think she's lying) and is not too appreciative of some of my spending habits (New DVD's every week).
    I have the Sony HTB 820 hooked up with a Sony 360 DVD and a 31" GE TV and was quite pleased with it for years. DTS & DD both sound great through the digital optical inputs. Still using the stereo and DVD, however, the wife let me purchase a 53" Pioneer SD-532HD5 for my 30th birthday (3/20). Calibrated with Avia and I'm a happy camper....now if I can show her a progressive scan DVD and a HD Satelite receiver and ....
    You get the picture. If this is your first setup I wouldn't worry about trying to get the top of the line. Go to the stores and listen to the stereos and pick the one you like the most. Of course find the best deal you can. The display I think is not going to be that big of an issue using S-Video. I mean, I was using a 31" GE.
    Try to have enough money left over for movies though, because systems can be upgraded. However, some movies may become hard to find in the future that are out now and you can't just upgrade those.
    Good luck.
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  14. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    oh i'll definitly be buying movies, no fear of that, i've already built a datbase of a 100 or so dvds i want, ranked by how badly i want them, and with MSRP amazon buy.com prices and whether or not columbia house has them (this was made before i discoverd dvd price search [​IMG]). I already have one dvd (Lord of the Flies Criterion) because i found it mispriced at 800.com at 6.94 [​IMG]. I think i've decided on what i will be getting
    Pioneer DVC503 -- $220
    Philips MX980D -- $400 (home theatre in a box)
    Philips 27 inch -- $350 (i don't have the exact specs with me right now)
    what i'm tryign to find now are One Sheets to adorn my walls [​IMG] specifically i'm looking for Stand By Me, Empire of the Sun, Miller's Crossing, Grave of the Fireflies, Casablanca, and the return of the jedi one with the hand holding the lightsaber up in a field of stars. Ebay has some of these listed, but i was curious if anyone knew of any other sites (auction or otherwise) that sells posters. And also where I might get good frames for these as well, the show off display advertised here is rather expensive at 50 bucks each.
    Thanks again for allyour help so far
    Adam
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    "What sort of food would I eat if i could only eat one food in the world? Pez. Cherry Flavored Pez." - Vern -- Stand By Me
     
  15. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    ". I think i've decided on what i will be getting
    Pioneer DVC503 -- $220
    Philips MX980D -- $400 (home theatre in a box)
    Philips 27 inch -- $350 (i don't have the exact specs with me right now)"

    STOP RIGHT THERE!! YOU'RE THROWING AWAY GOOD MONEY!!
    Adam,
    I can't believe you're listening to these posts. The 27" monitor is absurd. Vintage gear? no. Philips HTB? Are you insane!?! Kenwood HTB? We can do way better than that....
    Receiver: Onkyo TX-DS484 $250
    Speakers: JBL NSP1 $280
    DVD Player: Panasonic DVD-CV51 (available in April) $220
    Subwoofer: PSB SubSonic 5 or Klipsch KSW-12 $300 OR Sony SA-WM40 Sub: $130
    TV: Toshiba 27A50 $400
    Total w/ (reasonably assumed) shipping and tax figured in: $1,550, $1,370 w/ Sony Sub
    Note. All prices shown are wholesale except the TV.
    Receiver. Even at full retail, the 484 is a great buy. It has DD and DTS, 5-channel stereo, binding posts for all channels, 55x5 hi-current watts (that will shatter the VR-407 the HTB comes with), incredibly clean sound, and tank-like construction.
    Speakers. The NSP1 package is a handsome, quality arrangement. You'll receive 4 N24 bookshelf monitors (4" cones, ¾ tweeter) and the N-Center (dual 5" cones, ¾ tweeter). Combined with a subwoofer, you'll get spacial, clean sound.
    DVD Player. Ask around, and you'll discover why Panasonic DVD players are better than Sony, Pioneer, and Toshiba. The new CV51 has dual lasers for CD-R/W pickup.
    Subwoofer. The sub is crucial to bring the NSP1 to life. The Klipsch sub I suggested reatails for $499, but all Klipsch products have a serious markdown in the wholesale department. The Sony SA-WM40 is another appealing sub for far less than its competitors; perhaps with leftover cash, you can get two Sony subs.
    TV. I consider Toshiba TVs second only to Wegas. The 27A50 has component and s-video inputs. The color saturation and other picture qualities make these TVs a sweet buy.
    I know of at least 5 guys on this forum who have the Onkyo 575x/NSP1/Sony Sub bought for under $900. Like you, these folks listened to guys like me in their pursuit of the perfect budget Home theater.
    You say your parents are willing to help? Exchange your hard earned cash for their credit card so that you may order from online wholesalers. Get the TV at Best Buy (I wouldn't recommend having a delicate TV shipped from a company you've never seen ya know?)
    Don't rush it! You're a victim of "it looks good on paper" fever.
    The guys at cheaphometheater.com would have a field day with the previous responses.
    ******edited 1:10 EST 3/25**********
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    Chuck
    Chuckster's HT Equipment List
     
  16. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

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    I hope you read my post. Print it out if you have to. Here are some helpful links...
    http://www.geocities.com/chuckster04...l?979534329940
    http://www.geocities.com/chuckster04...l?979804779010
    http://www.cheaphometheater.com/onkyo-tx-ds484.htm
    www.pricescan.com
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/...ML/036548.html
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/...ML/035769.html
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/...ML/036756.html
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/...ML/036631.html
    Be mindful of 2001 products...companies are releasing them all over the place. The 484 will be replaced by the 494 durning the second quarter of this year. It will have Dolby Pro Logic II
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...c2-3-2001.html
    By the way, The Pioneer 503 5-disc you originally posted is pretty good.
    As far as a cables, all you'll need is an optical digital cable ($20), 16 gauge speaker wire ($20...check out home depot, I hear it's like 30 cents a foot!), subwoofer cable ($30.....Monster cable subwoofer cable is nothing more than a long audio cable) and if you get the toshiba, 3 identical video cables for component video (radio shack gold series, ultralink, maybe monster, bettercables.com....$35-$80). A note on s-video vs. component, you're better off buying a nice $25 s-video cable because picture quality differences are negligble between the too. The differences become more clear on display devices above 40" or so.
    ------------------
    Chuck
    Chuckster's HT Equipment List
     
  17. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Thanks so very much Chuck, that's exactly what i was looking for in the first place, i was sure i wouldn't have to go with a HTIAB, but everyone else seemed to think it was impossible. I've not yet gotten a chance to look at all the threads you posted, but your website was very helpful, as were soem of the links from there. Thanks.
    Adam
     
  18. Tim Kline

    Tim Kline Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm a HT newbie, but my whole system, without including the Monster cables I got, cost me around $1200-$1300, $1500 tops if you include the TV table/entertainment center thingy that I bought too
    I bought a Sony HT package deal, it was just under $500 at best buy at the time (about a year ago), I've seen it for below $400 now at some places now.. here's a link to it: http://www.sel.sony.com/SEL/consumer/ss5/home/homeentertainment/hometheaterpackages/htd-dw820.shtml The reciever has 2 optical plugs in the back and one coax, so you can get the digital sound out of your DVD player or Satelite system if you get that, and the reciever can do DD 5.1 and DTS, all in all I'm very glad I got it and I think it was a great purchase for me when I was just getting started. Now that my needs in a HT are growing, I may upgrade the reciever soon though
    The TV I also love.. it's so crisp and clear, looks better than any Wega I've seen, and it's got plugs in the back for composite, s-video and component video. I hooked the DVD up to the component video spot just using 3 normal video cables instead of 1 expensive component cable, and I think it looks really crisp and clear. I have a sega dreamcast hooked up to the svideo spot too, and it looks great [​IMG]
    So that's it, I think for the room I have everything in and the budget I had, I got myself a great HT setup. Someday when I buy a big house, maybe I can have a huge impressive HT, but for now I like what I have, it works great for what I need [​IMG]
     

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