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Let's talk HTIB

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Old
01-26-2009, 06:47 PM
  #1
What the Faulk
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Let's talk HTIB

I'm having trouble deciding on an entry level system. I'm looking at this Panasonic but I'm not totally sold. My budget is around $200-250. Anyone have any other recommendations?

My TV that it will go with for the time being:

http://reviews.cnet.com/flat-panel-t...?tag=mncol;lst

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01-28-2009, 04:58 PM
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Uh...anybody?

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01-28-2009, 06:24 PM
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Fish on The Sand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sam View Post
Uh...anybody?
HTIB isn't really the way to go, they aren't very good, but you seem to be on a fairly tight budget, so it appears you have little choice in the matter. I find Sony makes the best HTIBs (I do work at best Buy so I am quite familiar with each system), however if you can I really suggest saving up some more money and going for a standalone receiver and then a 6 speaker setup. (you should be able to get a decent receiver and a decent speaker system for no more than 500) I assume when you say HTIB you are refering to the all in one packages, and those are pretty bad, because they have no HDMI inputs and are generally underpowered. If you must go for an all in one go with the Sony' systems within your range, and make sure you avaid wireless speakers. They are not very good and typically drive the price up.

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01-28-2009, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish on The Sand View Post
HTIB isn't really the way to go, they aren't very good, but you seem to be on a fairly tight budget, so it appears you have little choice in the matter. I find Sony makes the best HTIBs (I do work at best Buy so I am quite familiar with each system), however if you can I really suggest saving up some more money and going for a standalone receiver and then a 6 speaker setup. (you should be able to get a decent receiver and a decent speaker system for no more than 500) I assume when you say HTIB you are refering to the all in one packages, and those are pretty bad, because they have no HDMI inputs and are generally underpowered. If you must go for an all in one go with the Sony' systems within your range, and make sure you avaid wireless speakers. They are not very good and typically drive the price up.
I also work at Best Buy, and we've got one decent HTIB that's got the HDMI ports and such on it. http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/prodde...83&catid=20311

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01-28-2009, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish on The Sand View Post
HTIB isn't really the way to go, they aren't very good, but you seem to be on a fairly tight budget, so it appears you have little choice in the matter. I find Sony makes the best HTIBs (I do work at best Buy so I am quite familiar with each system), however if you can I really suggest saving up some more money and going for a standalone receiver and then a 6 speaker setup. (you should be able to get a decent receiver and a decent speaker system for no more than 500) I assume when you say HTIB you are refering to the all in one packages, and those are pretty bad, because they have no HDMI inputs and are generally underpowered. If you must go for an all in one go with the Sony' systems within your range, and make sure you avaid wireless speakers. They are not very good and typically drive the price up.
My TV only has HDMI inputs, not outputs so I don't know that that would make a difference. It does have the digital/optical output though so that is what I would likely have to use.

If we are talking standalone receivers, though, any recommendations?

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01-28-2009, 09:42 PM
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I would agree with the above, that HTIB isn't my choice for performance either. After building my own home theater, I can tell you, it's no small difference either.

If you have to go HTIB, I like the Onkyo systems, but its hard to come in under $500 with their 6100 models.

AVS Forum is the HFboards of home theater and electronics, and they have a new thread that will interest you here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1113316

Click around that forum, there are plenty of people looking for what you are looking for, and the users there love to make suggestions of how they would like to spend your money!

I like the Onkyo 606 receiver they are recommending in it. Again, it breaks the budget, but that receiver and speaker package will blow away top end HTIB systems. And its plenty future proof.

edit: I also wanted to suggest that if your budget isn't flexible, but you want to take our advice on building your own system, that a really good option (that is highly underrated) is to forget about the rear speakers for the time being. Get as nice of a receiver as you can afford, and set up a 2.1 or even better, a 3.1 speaker setup (front L and R, center, and a sub). Even this will blow away virtually any of the HTIB's I have heard. (Rear speakers do very, very little work in a HT setup). Take an Onkyo AV receiver and some decent Polk, JBL, Klipsch etc speakers in a 2.1 (or 3.1 if you can) and they will knock your socks off. Music will have clarity, movies and TV sound like a theater....I find HTIB's just produce a lot of sound that borders on noise.

When it comes to movies, an Onkyo (or Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer etc) receiver will be more than capable of rendering a virtual surround experience that will not leave you dissatisfied. And even in 2.1 or 3.1, the quality and clarity will be far more satisfying than having some additional "noise" from the rear.

If you insist on HTIB, get the best 5.1 you can. Don't stress over 6.1 (unless the room is quite big) and 7.1 is only for massive rooms. I had a room that was almost 300sqft opening into a bar/pool table area, and it wasn't big enough to avoid problems in a 7.1 setup. We did a 6.1.


Last edited by rg_93: 01-28-2009 at 09:56 PM.
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01-29-2009, 12:26 AM
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I'm not opposed to saving a little and building a theater. I am no audiophile though so it would take a lot to notice the difference, so that's why I was thinking HTIB would suit me.

I do know really nothing about building though. I need to find an idiot's guide to this.

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01-29-2009, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Tricolore View Post
I also work at Best Buy, and we've got one decent HTIB that's got the HDMI ports and such on it. http://www.bestbuy.ca/catalog/prodde...83&catid=20311
that isn't an all in one though. The HTIB's in his price range are the dvd/receivers all in one and they all suck.

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01-29-2009, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Fish on The Sand View Post
that isn't an all in one though. The HTIB's in his price range are the dvd/receivers all in one and they all suck.
Oh, I know. I was just saying not all HTIB are total crap.

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01-29-2009, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sam View Post
I'm not opposed to saving a little and building a theater. I am no audiophile though so it would take a lot to notice the difference, so that's why I was thinking HTIB would suit me.

I do know really nothing about building though. I need to find an idiot's guide to this.
It doesn't take a lot to notice the difference between decent speakers and the ones from an HTIB all in one. The all in one systems are truly crap and pretty much anybody can notice the difference. It isn't much better than using computer speakers to be honest.

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01-29-2009, 01:01 PM
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Then it seems building my own is the way to go. The only problem is, I know nothing about it. Any ideas on where to start, or better yet, any ideas on receivers/speakers for $500 like you had suggested?

The only thing I have right now is a TV and a low level DVD player (component). I am looking to get a PS3 in the near future though, whenever I do get a job.

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01-29-2009, 02:32 PM
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I think it really depends on your living situation. If you are renting the HTIB are fine since the output isn't all that big but you really can crank it up anyway if you have any neighbours.

I bought two different ones quite a few years back. The first was a Panasonic model where the receive and DVD player were in one unit. The second one was a sony with the receive and DVD separate, which was good since I upgraded to a Blu ray and it is still fine.

I am a renter though so for me this works until I can buy my own house.

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01-29-2009, 03:31 PM
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I am renting for now but I'm going to move into a house within 2-3 years.

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01-30-2009, 01:37 AM
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Buy in pieces if that's all your budget allows. Buy yourself a nice receiver with plenty of HDMI inputs and (to future proof) Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-MA decoding. Plenty of companies make nice receivers and for around $400 you can get a mighty fine receiver (as someone suggested, I'd also recommend the Onkyo 606).

Then you'll want to invest in a nice front L/R setup (depending on space you can go floor standing or if space is an issue bookshelf), subwoofer (I'd recommend an 8" powered, not passive), then add a nice center speaker (spend about 2/3 what you spent on the front two), and equally powerful rear/surround speakers as your fronts.

Build each piece, one at a time. You'll thank yourself in the long run.

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01-30-2009, 11:44 PM
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rg_93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sam View Post
Then it seems building my own is the way to go. The only problem is, I know nothing about it. Any ideas on where to start, or better yet, any ideas on receivers/speakers for $500 like you had suggested?

The only thing I have right now is a TV and a low level DVD player (component). I am looking to get a PS3 in the near future though, whenever I do get a job.
Read some reviews (AV receiver reviews at CNET are good), read around at AVSforum if you want to learn some more.

I'm afraid that the advice I am giving along with others still puts you way over budget.

For example an Onkyo 606 will run you $399 at Vann's (online store) and lets say you pick up a pair of Energy C100 bookshelves for your front left and right (great speakers, highly regarded, and super build quality...it's what I would recommend you look at) at Vann's for $118 for the pair. That put's you over $500 already. And you still need a sub and a center channel.

The rear channels, in my opinion, can wait. They do the least amount of work in a 5.1 setup by a country mile. (And trust me, with your eyes closed, the Onkyo could convince you there was a rear channel playing during a movie with some of the processing it can do)

I suppose the center could wait as well, and go with a 2.1 setup, but that Onkyo becomes serious overkill for a relatively simple setup. 2.1 is perfect for music and stuff, but for movies, games and sports, you really want that center channel. It's the hardest working speaker in a 5.1 setup. Also, you want it acoustically matched to your front L&R (same brand and model helps) so that if a sound travels across the screen, it doesn't sound different from left to center to right. (The rears can be a different brand, its far less important here to match. The sub does not need to match at all, just get the best one you can afford).

The C100's fit your needs great, and you won't be disappointed even years down the road. Combine them with a solid sub (they just don't deliver enough bass in my opinion as standalone's) and you will love turning it way up for movies, HD, games and music. It's just a matter of finding a solid AV receiver that doesn't blow the budget.

I will see if I can think of an alternative to the $399 Onkyo 606.

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