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PS3 vs Home Theater, Please Help

by DJ820 / December 11, 2009 11:22 PM PST

I recently purchased a new HDTV, and was looking to get a home theater system for better sound/picture quality while watching movies. After asking around, most people directed me to a PS3 instead. Since I'm clueless with this kind of stuff, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. If I get the PS3, do I then have to purchase separate speakers for the surround sound? Also, many of the home theater systems I've looked into have an Ipod dock which is extremely important to me. Will my PS3 play my Ipod and is it complicated to set up? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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by Jimmy Greystone / December 12, 2009 12:29 AM PST

A PS3 is only ONE component in a home theater setup. In this case, it would take the place of a DVD/Bluray player. You would still need some kind of surround receiver and speakers to get any audio from it.

I'll just give you a bit of an idea what I do, and why.

I went out and found a like $650 computer that is pretty similar in spec to my current desktop computer, and then loaded XBMC onto it. Then I started ripping copies of all my DVD movies and TV shows, and storing them on the computer hard drive. This way if I'm watching a movie like PCU, and for some reason that stirs the desire in me to watch Gilmore Girls, I can do that without having to hunt down the discs, or having to worry about switching discs every 3-4 episodes. I can also get cover art, it can scrape TV and movie sites for plot info, etc. Very nice and handy. I chose to go way overboard on the total processing power of the second computer, so it can double as a sort of disaster recovery system. In the event something ever happens to my primary desktop, that one is always there to help me limp along.

Anyway, my computer is connected via HDMI to my Onkyo SR-706 receiver which grabs the audio and forwards the video on to my TV.

I also have a number of game consoles connected in a similar fashion, but let's just say that both the 360 and PS3 are awful media players aside from maybe DVDs. If you rip and encode your own collection, forget about it. The original Xbox could be modified to run XBMC, but it just doesn't have the hardware to handle 720p let alone 1080p.

There are also devices like the WD TV that will stream content from a computer to a TV. Just some food for thought.

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home theater
by DJ820 / December 12, 2009 1:10 AM PST
In reply to: A PS3

Thanks Jimmy for your quick response. Considering I am in no way computer savvy, would you recommend I just go with a standard Blu-Ray home theater system with an i-pod dock?

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by DJ820 / December 12, 2009 1:13 AM PST
In reply to: home theater

Forgot to add that I want to get the best possible audio/visual out of my tv, and dont necessarily want to purchase a separate speaker system for my i-pod since my funds are limited. Thanks!

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It depends
by Jimmy Greystone / December 12, 2009 11:36 AM PST
In reply to: home theater

It depends. XBMC is really not that difficult to set up or use, but I guess it's up to you. You can download a version that can be burned directly to a CD for a no-install trial of it if you like.

Considering you could always drop in a HTPC later, you could very well just go with a stand-alone bluray player. Whether or not you go with the PS3 or some other player is up to you. The PS3 is pretty price competitive still, but standalone players are starting to get to be around $200 now.

What I would strongly advise against, are all-in-one solutions where you have a DVD player of some kind, and it comes bundled with a set of speakers and what not. They're not worth the price. A lot of times the parts are all a single unit, and so if the DVD player breaks, the rest of the stuff is pretty much useless. It's worth the extra money to have something where you can swap parts in and out on a whim.

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Standalone Blu Ray players
by make_or_break / December 16, 2009 5:25 AM PST
In reply to: It depends

...are now under $80. The $$$ difference is no longer insignificant for someone who just wants to watch hi def movies without all the bells and whistles.

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by not2worried / December 18, 2009 2:43 AM PST

you would have your:
blu-ray or pS3 <--- will not act as a receiver for speakers.

and a surround system like a : home theater in a box ( approx 300-500 for a OK system)comes with receiver, Speakers....
Don't know if you can do a Ipod with a ps3 or not
But for sure with a home theater system as you stated. Even if it doesn't have a docking station you can plug it in to the back of the receiver with a cable.

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Best Buy
by rouse51 / December 24, 2009 6:29 AM PST

Go to your nearest Best Buy and talk to a home theater specialist. Your question is to broad for anything we can help you with. To answer one question for you the PS3 will play apple DRM free files and stream them from your PC negating the need to have an iPod hooked up. It will also do netflix if you have an account. Other then that if you have the money you can have Best Buy set the whole thing up for you. If you go the network computer, or standalone blue-ray route the can set that up also. If you don't have the money for a set up get the advice and find a friend to hook it all up.

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Don't do that
by Jimmy Greystone / December 24, 2009 12:45 PM PST
In reply to: Best Buy

Don't do that. I wouldn't trust someone at Best Buy to carry a $50 stereo to my car, let alone set up a home theater system. Not to mention you'll pay a couple hundred bucks extra to have them screw it up for you.

Besides, it's better to do it yourself, so that way you know the topology of the whole setup. You know what cables go where, and how everything is connected. So if you want to add a device later, or change something out, you have a pretty good idea what to expect going in.

Setting up a home theater isn't like brain surgery where not just everyone can do it. It's pretty simple on the whole of it. Some people will try and make it more complicated than it needs to be by trying to tweak crossover frequencies and a bunch of other nonsense, but really you just need to know the basics of how to position the speakers, how to plug them into the receiver, and then these days just connect an HDMI cable. You don't even really need to know the difference between audio and video cables so much anymore, since it's all just one cable. But even if it wasn't, it's all color coded anyway, so as long as you're not colorblind, should be pretty straightforward and simple.

Best Buy has it's Geek Squad and stereo "experts" to basically sell a service to the lazy and/or stupid. There's not really all that much to keeping your system running smoothly indefinitely, just like there's not much to setting up a home theater. If you really want to get anal about the details, then sure, you can get lost in a quagmire of triviality, but for the most part it's basically something a 3 year old could do. It's just matching the color on the plugs, or in the case of HDMI, putting it in the only slot that it will fit. It's not rocket science by any stretch.

And another reason not to go to Best Buy, is that if you buy some really nice setup, now some Best Buy employee knows exactly where you live and what you have. Around here, there was a local car stereo shop when I was growing up. Had a bit of a reputation, where shortly after people would have them put in a new stereo system into their car, the person's car would get broken into and the stereo system stolen. Don't think for a second that Best Buy employees are necessarily any different.

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