What system package

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by ChrisRand, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. ChrisRand

    ChrisRand Auditioning

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    Hey all I'm new here and I really want a home theater surround sound system and kind of blank when it comes to what the good ones are. I have about 300-400 bucks to spend and I want a best bang for your buck kind of thing. What system would you all suggest and where would I find it?

    Also why is it that dvds have letterbox or widescreen stuff. I hate that cause I have just a regular tv. Anyway to change it to a full screen?

    L8R
    Chris
     
  2. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    You can find good if not great systems in your price range. Check out the Sony systems. Some can be had for around that price. Check out Circuit City or Best Buy. Sears is also a good place to start. Wal-Mart carries inexpensive packages, that include major brand names such as Sony, Panasonic, etc. The systems I am talking about are known as Home Theaters in a Box and usually come with all the speakers and a DVD player and amplifier in one unit. They can be had in single disc versions and in 5+ disc carousels. If you do some juidicious shopping, you can get separates and still stay in your price range. As an example, my bedroom HT contains the following aside from the TV.

    Sherwood RD6108 500w 5.1 A/V receiver - $129.00
    Audio Source Speaker system with powered Subwoofer - $122.00
    Zenith Progressive scan DVD/VCR combo player - $169.00

    For slightly over 400 bucks, you can have a system that is superior to a HTIB and expandable to boot. I paid those prices about a year ago and some of the components can be had for less today. I have seen the combo players from other manufacturers for around $99.00 and cheaper speaker systems are out there too althouhg I wouldn't recommend going much cheaper.

    Most DVD titles can be found in both widescreen and full screen formats. With widescreen formats on a regular square 4:3 aspect ratio TVs, like yours, the widescreen DVDs will have the black bars on the top and bottom to preserve the way the movie was originally shot. A lot of DVD players (most) have a zoom feature that will eliminate the black bars, but.........the sides of the movie are cut off so you are not gonna see all the filmmaker wanted you to see if you zoom the picture. Full screen movies employ the Pan & Scan method of showing the picture. Usually these movies will show an informative message at the beginning warning "This film has been modified to fit your screen" which means that it has been recreated so that the black bars are gone and it will fill your entire screen on a TV like yours, although again, the sides will be cut off, like if you "zoomed" a widescreen DVD, but the picture will not appear "zoomed" and the image on the screen will look normal. Full screen DVDs do not present the film as it was shown in theaters or as the filmmaker intended to show it. There are some films that are shot in the 4:3 aspect ratio, but not as many as in the widescreen format. FWIW, even widescreen TVs will NOT eliminate the black bars entirely. Some movies will still have them top and bottom, although they will not appear as large as they do on a TV like yours (4:3 aspect ratio). Hope this helps.[​IMG]
     
  3. ChrisRand

    ChrisRand Auditioning

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    Thanks that ansered both my questions really good especially the dvd one. hmm now just to figure out if I should buy a widescreen tv or buy fullscreen dvds. [​IMG]

    But I think I'm gonna look at sears tomorrow and I have looked at best buy and circuit city but going to look again. I'm really set on a panasonic one from walmart for 300 bucks though. I'll try and get the specific model number and post it up here to see what you think.
    thanks
     
  4. Charlie Campisi

    Charlie Campisi Screenwriter

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    Xmas is coming... anyway you can get your girlfriend, sibling, parent or grandparent to kick in a little cash? For $500 you can get the Rocket Tyke bundle system including a Kenwood receiver. Go to AV123.com and look at the speaker packages for the Tykes. They are usually $400 for the speakers, including a powered sub. For $500, you also get a Kenwood receiver that retails at Best Buy or similar stores for $400. The deal really can't be beat and gives you a system that you can upgrade when you get the urge and more cash.
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    This is not a choice. The proper way to watch films that were originally widescreen is in widescreen. You have to change your thought process from "what are those black bars hiding?" to "I would be missing a lot of this movie if it was pan & scan." Remember, watch the movie, not the black bars. Besides, do you really want to buy "fullscreen" movies that will not show the whole picture and then have to stretch/crop/zoom to make them "fit" the new widescreen TV you'll buy in a few years because 4:3 TV's are being phased out?

    Just a note, as stated in the mission statement, this is a OAR (original aspect ratio) forum. We strive for the best theater experience replicated in the home. This means we do not support pan & scan or matted "fullscreen" DVD's.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Please pay attention to the message at the top of the Basics-area thread-listing page: No specific-model advice in the Basics area; post in the appropriate hardware area instead. Thanks.
     
  7. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    Chris, I know the Panasonic HTIB you mentioned and I have seen a number of people carrying one out of our local WalMart her in So. Cal. The price is right and in Panasonic's favor, I have had 2 Panasonic DVD players, including one of their first models introduced way back in '97 and a newer 2002 model. I have also had 2 Panasonic TV's, a 32" and a 27". Believe it or not ALL those items are still in use by members of my family. As I upgraded my HT system I gave those away and they are still going strong. Jeff is exactly right, NO ONE on these forums is going to support full screen DVDs as it basically amounts to "butchery" of what I see as a legitimate art form. Imagine if you will going into an art gallery, or theater for that matter, with side blinders on, like they put on horses. You would only see the center of the object(s) you are viewing cutting off any view of the sides of the object being viewed. I hear the complaint about the "black bars" on widescreen DVDs from friends all the time and trust me, you get used to them to the point you will not even notice them after a while. Get the Panasonic HTIB if that is what "yore little 'Ol heart desires," but stick to widescreen DVDs, you'll be glad you did when you finally get that widescreen plasma in a couple of years!![​IMG]
     
  8. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    I'll tell ya. The best HTIB I've seen, bang for buck, is the Onkyo 770 or 777. Go snif around on that. You look a little bit, you might be surprised at the price you can get this at!

    I don't think there's a better value for your dollar HTIB out there.
     
  9. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    Got the new Radio Shack circular today and they are advertising an Onkyo 600w HTIB with NO DVD player for $270.00. Not a bad price and well within your price range. It has an AMFM tuner too as well as extra inputs for other components.
     
  10. John S

    John S Producer

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    A big thumbs up to the Onkyo 770 system, I also seen the RS now sells it.

    I have found nothing that even comes close for that sort of budget.
     
  11. ChrisRand

    ChrisRand Auditioning

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    sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=ELEC&pid=05798024000&subcat=Home+Theater+Systems
     
  12. ChrisRand

    ChrisRand Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone for their input and comments and helping me with this stuff. The above post is a website adress to the system I saw today and I was wondering if someone could look at it and see if its a decent system. I couldn't post the whole link because I'm a newb and it wouldn't let me.

    Also about the full screen dvd stuff I didn't mean to upset anyone but I understand. I have my own hobby and when someone says something about it that is wrong it drives me crazy also.

    Also since the above system has 6 speakers where do they all go.

    1 front center
    2 front corner
    2 back corner
    1 back center
    1 sub anywhere

    is that right?
     
  13. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    Yes, you are describing a 6.1 system. That is correct in the way you are placing the speakers. The sub can go anywhere, some prefer to place it near a corner. That's where mine is and it sounds great.
     
  14. ChrisRand

    ChrisRand Auditioning

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    Bump

    Could someone look at the link I posted on the home theater system I found at sears and tell me if it is a decent system.
     
  15. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

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    Chris: Not bad!
     
  16. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    Chris, I used the link and found a bunch of HTIB systems. Most of them look good, not a real, real cheapie in the bunch. As far as HTIBs go, I would stay away from the low end and go mid range to high range in the price. I would definately look for one WITHOUT a DVD player and focus on the expandability of the system and it's sound reproducton. Good progerssive scan players can be had for a song these days so get a good player separate. I don't like carousel systems either. Most of the carousel systems that my friends and family have, have had problems......but that's just me.[​IMG]
     
  17. ChrisRand

    ChrisRand Auditioning

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    Well I love to customize things especially trucks. That is my main hobby but right now I just want a complete package. No adding or tinkering with it. I just want to plug it up and it sound pretty good. I'm not looking for a killer system that will blow my eardrums. I just want a similar experiance of being at the movies. But thanks though.

    On another not I think I found the system. Its a Koss KS4192. So I was looking at the consumer reviews and on a scale of 1 to 5 it got 3.5 which is fine for me. There was a site that had some pros and cons and if someone could tell me what some of them mean.

    Pros:

    Easy setup
    Broad format compatibility
    Progressive-scan video capability
    Plays JPEG images with MP3 soundtrack from the same disc
    Convenient front-panel SD/MMC card slot
    Multidisc resume
    Alarm clock (wake to disc or radio)
    High power, low distortion
    Natural-sounding center speaker
    Deep bass when subwoofer is active

    Cons:

    Always-on fan in DVD/receiver is potentially distracting
    No DTS decoding
    Subwoofer active only for ".1" LFE sounds
    No MP3 ID3-tag recognition
    Front-speaker wires may be too short (6.5 feet x 3)
    What's in the Box

    On the subwoofer one and it not working if the sound is .1 LFE sounds. What does that mean and is that going to hurt me any? Also the DTS decoding. Whats that all about?

    Thanks for your replys and if this is a decent system let me know. Thanks.
     
  18. ChrisRand

    ChrisRand Auditioning

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    bump
     
  19. ChrisRand

    ChrisRand Auditioning

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    bump
     
  20. Jimi C

    Jimi C Screenwriter

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    okay, ill give you my 2 cents, I would avoid this koss system, no DTS decoding is a big bummer, The Onkyo system mentioned seems like it would be your best option. If the onkyo is out of your budget i would go with the Panisonic.
     

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