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What kind of home-theater setup do you have?

by Marc Bennett CNET staff/forum admin / April 18, 2006 10:19 AM PDT

What kind of home-theater setup do you have?

Tube TV and VCR/DVD (tell us about it)
Digital flat-screen TV and DVD (tell us about it)
HD flat-panel display, DVD, Dolby 5.1 or better (tell us about it)
The works--all the latest high-tech equipment (tell us about it)
I prefer a traditional movie theater (why?)
I prefer a live performance (concerts, plays, and so on) (why?)
I don't have a home-theater setup (why not?)
Other (tell us about it)

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High end
by riccylee / April 19, 2006 6:11 AM PDT

I had a new house built 3 yrs ago and figured it was the right time to add a home theater. After a great deal of research I opted for a Infocus HD overhead projector, 93 inch screen, and integra 8.3, 200 watt sub woofer and 8 speakers (four surrounds in the ceiling). I haven't been to a public theater since, it was the best investment I've made. Not only enjoying movies, but the Super bowl, NCAA, baseball, hockey and music.

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Went with your recommendations...
by wildcat1999 / April 19, 2006 11:06 AM PDT
In reply to: High end

Except on my TV which is a 50" Panasonic Rear Projection LCD. It was recommended more than the comparable Sony, and it was cheaper. Have never had a problem with it and the picture is great. I have a 5.1 system with a Denon AVR-3805 receiver and Kef KHT 2005.2 speakers. My DVD player is a Denon 2910 that I have hooked directly to the TV through an HDMI cable.
I dig it and not a bad set up for around $6000.

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Rear Projection LCD
by riccylee / April 20, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

I'm looking to replace my old project TV the a LCD projection with DLP, anyone have any input of these?

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Regal Cinema In My Home
by 0246HSE / April 19, 2006 6:26 AM PDT

I have the works. I have a dedicated home theater with a DA-Lite 110 inch screen, Sim2 HT300 E-link front projector, Audio Design Associates (ADA) 7.1 processor, Mcintosh MC126 6 channel amplifier, 6 Elan Elite 950 series inwall speakers and 2 Triad 10 inch subwoofers. DVD player is a OPPO Digital all components including DirecTV receiver is connected via HDMI or DVI and routed to the projector via fiber optics. You won't believe your eyes and ears.

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Rear speakers NEVER cease to amze me
by vtheel / April 19, 2006 6:42 AM PDT

3 Years ago, when the Sony Dreamcast 900 system became available, I purchased it (600watts). I have a 27"Sony Wega flat screen TV. And the combination of the two systems is fantastic. The DreamCast has a DVD/tuner/combination with 5.1 speakers. I use Monster cables for everything; and the picture quality is stunning.

When ever I play a DVD with DTS or Dolby 5.1 technology, I am always surprised by hearing the sound of the rain; the flight of the airplanes from my left shoulder over to my right; the stomping of monsters behind my back.

You may think my set up is overkill, as I live in a small, one bedroom apt. and the entertainment set is the focus of my living room. The TV and rear speakers are perhaps 12 feet apart.

I put up with the extra wires because it is worth it. Rear speakers rock!


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My Modest System
by blanco112 / April 19, 2006 9:51 AM PDT

While I am a home theater nut, my pay keeps my fascination in check. Nevertheless, I have a full 5.1 Dolby Digital setup with Kenwood Receiver, with a Jensen sub, center and surround speakers. My front speakers are gigantic Technics that I bought 4 years ago and continue to amaze me, despite their modest $300 price tag. Each has a 15 in. sub inside so the base rocks. The jensens came with the receiver and I have never gotten a chance to replace them. This combined with my 42 Sony LCD projection and Sony Progressive scan DVD, I must say that I am impressed everytime I watch a movie, or baseball game. Although there is room for improvement (specifically the center and rear surrounds) I love it and think it is all worth it. A good system starts in pieces, allowing you to build as you go and replace piece by piece as your income allows. Anyone who doesn't have at least a surround system is missing out on a lot. Start small and build gradually. Unless you have a ton of extra money in which case: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!

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Moderate Home Theatre
by rhackley / April 19, 2006 6:56 AM PDT

Having limited cash available for a Plasma screen, I researched many models and ended up with a Vizio P50HDM. This 50" monitor ROCKS! and was very reasonably priced @ $2,288 at a big box club store.
I purchased an modestly priced HDMI upconverting DVD player (Sony DVP-NS75H)and the picture is outstanding with 720 DVD movies. I use my existing Sony 5.1 receiver which accepts an optical input from the Pro Brand HDTV receiver (HD310PLUS)and an optical output from the DVD player, so all sound is now in Stereo, 5.1 Surround or DTS formats.
HDTV in 5.1 is very cool !! If I can find wireless rear mounted speakers that are interference free, I may consider upgrading to a 7.1 receiver.

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Why the limited choices?
by dencimm / April 19, 2006 6:37 AM PDT

Some of us have the entertainment center, so mine is a Sony HD tube TV (all pro's have agreed the best, sharpest possible picture) via HDMI with Brighthouse HD DVR, RCA DVD player (pro. scan via component) hooked into an RCA 5.1 via coaxial.

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RE: admendment
by dencimm / April 19, 2006 6:40 AM PDT

By entertainment center I mean furniture; limited budget with small living room.

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A system 5 years in the making (maybe +30) continues.
by kateyeye / April 19, 2006 6:40 AM PDT

Sharp 36" flat CRT
Concast Digital Cable (General Instrument Dolby Digital box)
Onkyo TX-SR501 receiver
Mission 773 front speakers
Mission 771 rear
Mission 77C center
Infinity 12" sub
Sony DVD player w/ SACD
Sony VCR
Sony CDP CX455 400 CD mega changer
MCE powered computer / Ahanix case / Sony DVD burner
- Pentium 2.4
- 2 gig RAM
- Radeon 9800 Pro / 250 RAM / DVI out
- Soundblaster Live
- Hauppauge Win TV-PVR-250 MCE
Nintendo Game Cube w/ Wavebird wireless controllers
BIC Beambox antenna (vintage 1972)

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Nothing yet.....
by johncriley / April 19, 2006 6:43 AM PDT

Some of that equipment is TOO EXPENSIVE! I spend a lot on my computer, not TV! I want one some day...

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by lorrwill-2067025164692309 / April 20, 2006 7:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Nothing yet.....

Plus I am still suffering apartment life. When I get a real home, then I may consider a posh home system. In the mean time, the computer works just fine.

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It's pointless spending years building a good home theater
by morganted / April 19, 2006 6:51 AM PDT

Every five or six years your equipment wil be obsolete anyway staying upgraded is an uphill battle

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Not true
by blanco112 / April 19, 2006 10:06 AM PDT

Quality sound systems stand the test of time. If you read mine above, my system is 5 years old right now and I don't have any "needs" to replace anything. I WOULD like better center and rear speakers, but they came with the receiver and the entire thing cost about $300. Add in $300 for the good front channels and you are talking a sound system that cost me about $600 and is as up to date as the technology today. It has both optical and coaxial sound inputs speaker technology has been in place for YEARS. If I wanted to I could hook up my dad's 20 year old kenwoods, which would work fine. TV's and digital video on the other hand are relatively new and with so much money people have invested in it, the market would have a tough time switching. Newer better stuff is always available, but the old stuff doesn't turnover in 6 years. These aren't computers where more RAM, more hard drive space and more processor speeds are a must.

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Agree Here
by riccylee / April 20, 2006 4:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Not true

My system is 4 years old and replacing any part of it never crossed my mind. I'm to busy enjoying. If you worry about it being outdated, you'll never buy anything.

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by briandimartino / April 21, 2006 5:36 AM PDT

I took vaderrulzz's post to be about video and audio.
Both of the other post seemed to only to address the audio portion. I agree that audio has reached it limit. Video on the other hand has not.
I agree about the upgrading and have not made the jump. I still use a 14 year old Sony that's doing fine. If I upgraded now I'd be looking at replacing or repairing every couple of years because the newer technology doesn't hold up. I get this message from all the sales people in all the local stores.

ps I live at over 6000 feet.

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Audio at it's limit?
by phrubin / April 21, 2006 7:37 AM PDT
In reply to: ?

I might have been prone to say that myself when Dolby surround first came into common use. Now there is 5.1, 7.1. Who knows what is next?

I thought I was really up to date about 2 yrs ago when I replaced the dead stereo in the car with one that could play MP3s off a CD. Now there is DVD, and a toss up as to the next media, BluRay or hddvd.

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Tube TV, DVD, VCR, and Surround Sound
by zzmel / April 19, 2006 6:55 AM PDT

It would be nice to have a HDTV but I will have to wait till the price lowers even more. I have a SONY surround system and I guess it works OK. If I understood how to set up the darn thing so it works better, that would be a blessing. The instruction manual sucks.

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Hooking it up
by phrubin / April 19, 2006 7:11 AM PDT

If you have any questions about the hookup, I'd be glad to answer them.


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Comcast HD/DVR w/dvd and surround
by Kevman10 / December 5, 2006 2:31 AM PST
In reply to: Hooking it up

I'm trying to get my Comcast HD/DVR box hooked up to my new Sony KDF50E2000 lcd rear projection. Comcast's self install manual isn't the most well depicted and with Sony's diagram's I'm getting sound from my tv on the surround but no pic or sound from my dvd which is a Pioneer. I have the Pioneer Component and AV (red/white) cables in the same column on the tv but have no sound or pic. Any suggestions on this? Do I need splitters and such? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Hooking it up
by Kevman10 / December 7, 2006 8:04 AM PST
In reply to: Hooking it up

That'd be great. Below is what I have. I've got sound from my tv on the surround sound when I ran the audio from the Comcast Motorola HD/DVR box into the tv in inputs. I have the component and audio cables running from my dvd into the tv's first column (3 component w/2audio all in same column). But, I can't even get a picture off of my dvd. Any help you could offer would be great.

TV - Sony 50" lcd rear projection model # KDF-50E2000
Pioneer DVD player model # DV-363
Pioneer audio surround model # HTP-3600
I'd like to be able to hook up my vcr too.

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Hooking up a SA-HT940 dvd home theater to comcast dvr & TV.
by tuzfra / December 23, 2006 11:47 PM PST
In reply to: Hooking it up

I am trying to hook up a SA-HT940 by Panasonic for surround with a pansonic tv.I am getting surround sound from dvds, but not when playing tv alone. Please help if anyone can have time to do so. Thank you very much. Please reply to or

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Pretty much the whole worth
by Peken / April 19, 2006 6:59 AM PDT

I have a Sony 34 inch xbr960 crt hdtv,Nhtst-4 (acquired recently)for the front,Nht1a with updated drivers(replacement) for the surround, 10inch atlantic tech sub & Nht center one center speaker hooked up to a Harmon Kardon avr-520.I want to point out once you expereience 5.1 ,you don't want to go back, same with hdtv.

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Tube TV with Dolby 5.1, VCR
by phrubin / April 19, 2006 7:01 AM PDT

While I wouldn't call it a home theater, the Cable box stereo output goes to a Dolby 5.1 A/V Receiver as does the VCR output (which almost never gets used). The video from both is also switched by the Receiver to the video in of the 34'' Tube TV.

In fact this house, built 4 years ago, was built with wiring for the speakers in the walls because I knew ''mama'' wouldn't accept the wires being visible.

2 houses ago I was in a ranch on a slab. This was before Dolby 5.1 and both rear speakers had the same content. After a surround sound demo at a showroom I was hooked. So I ran 1 rear speaker. The wiring for that speaker went up to the attic (inside the wall), accross the ceiling, and down thru a closet and then thru the closet side wall. I guess it might be called Dolby 3.0. Of course, I was using the ''old fashioned'' type speakers, but with an 18 inch woofer in each of the front speakers there was no need for a ''sub-'' woofer.

I find something lacking in any movie or sporting event without the rear speakers running in Surround Sound. I loose the sense of ''being there.''

As far as flat screen and DVD, I'm waiting for the dust to clear on the different HD formats, especially 1080p, and for enough content to be available to make it worthwhile.

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what kind of setup do I have?
by quietman5us / April 19, 2006 7:08 AM PDT

I believe I have a modest setup, but it's still alot of fun!
I have an HDTV SONY 55 inch LCD REAR PROJECTION TV. Sound comes from a JVC receiver that allows a 7.1 speaker setup. The receiver is rated at 110 watts per channel, with a line signal for the sub woofers. The front center speaker is an Altec Lansing two way speaker, with dual midrange speakers flanking the tweeter. The two front speakers are magnapan speakers. The two rear speakers are Bose 3.1 speakers. the two back speakers are home made ported three way speakers. I also run two YAMAHA 150 watt sub woofers for a total of over three hundred watts of power for the subwoofers alone. The sound is a little uneven due to the inefficient magnapans, and the other four speakers being much more efficient. But the dual sub woofers really kick butt! Since I live in an apartment, I only crank up the system occaisionally and run low volumes after 9 pm.
I run 1 karaoke dvd player, 1 single disc dvd player, 1 samsung dvd player that upconverts to hdtv levels, 1 vhs player, 1 laser disc player, 1 carousel 5 cd player, and 1 belt drive turntable. I have over 250 vinyl albums, over 500 dvds, over 300 cds, and approximately 150 laser discs. I also have two desktop computers and one laptop.
I hope to build a consolidated pc controlled entertainment center soon, but I'm still waiting for a shakeout on two front. First a decent OS to run the system, and second, for the hd/blu-ray dust to settle.
Do I like my video/sound setup? Very much so. Except for the times I jump to answer the phone, only to find that it's actually ringing on the screen.

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Inefficient Magnepans?
by Barrister33 / April 20, 2006 12:46 AM PDT

It struck me as odd that you have paired planar speakers with an otherwise conventional set up. Your perceived inefficiency may be due to the fact that you're running Maggies in combination with conventional speakers and a mass market receiver. You didn't specify the models of either the Maggies or the JVC, but unfortunately even the introductory model Magnepans require a receiver with a good 4 Ohm capacity, and there are very few (if any) mass market receivers out there that can meet this requirement. It's hard to be sure because they typically don't publish 4 Ohm power ratings. NAD's receivers are a fabulous bargain for what you get and match up very well with Magnepans. I suspect that if you were to run your Maggies with a receiver that was designed to produce power at 4 Ohms and go with Maggies all the way around your sound would even out considerably and you'd be thrilled with the result.

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home theater set-up
by dukefan4life / April 19, 2006 7:08 AM PDT

Pioneer Elite 50" plasma
Yamaha RX-V1600 receiver
Defenitive Technology towers, center and surrounds
HSU Research VTF-MK2 subwoofer
Nothing like spending your tax return on a worthwhile project!!!!!!

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HD flat-panel display, DVD, Dolby 5.1
by vikramk18 / April 19, 2006 7:09 AM PDT

I have a Pioneer 42" Plasma monitor (PDP-424MV), Pioneer VSX-D812K 6.1 receiver, Polk Audio R50s for the fronts, R15s for the rears, Infinity Entra Center Two for the front center, no sub. Comcast HD & a Philips DVD player are the sources running on component video. Also have an Apple Aiport Express w/Air Tunes as an audio source running digital music off my Mac in my home studio.

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Jumped in to HD in 2001.
by bunkey91405 / April 19, 2006 7:11 AM PDT

My home A/V system includes a 32" HD Direct View, tube, TV with seperate JVC Super VHS VCR and DVD player. Audio is provided by a Technics A/V receiver and four ESS AMT 10" woofer speakers in each corner of the room. The speakers are from previous quad, stereo setups and naturally do not require a sub woofer for bass. DirectTV is provided by a HD TiVo with Dolby, as is the A/V receiver. The speakers, audio, truly immerse you in the video experience with full range sound and imaging and display what is lost through the built-in TV speakers. It is unfortunate full size stereo speakers are not mentioned or submitted for audio-video use, over the many small speaker setups offered. I will always suggest using a full size speaker, if room allows it.

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Me too
by dolbyg / April 19, 2006 12:50 PM PDT

I started with an RCA MM36100 36" CRT HDTV, RCA DTC-100 HD receiver for broadcast, cable and DirecTV, JVC VCR, Toshiba DVD player, Kenwood 5.1 Dolby surround sound and 6 Radio Shack speakers. The HDTV has always been my computer's only monitor, too. I use long-range radio wireless keyboard and mouse.
Then my VCR died. I never replaced or fixed it.
In moving, I upgraded to 6 wired Bose speakers and dropped DirecTV. My antenna picks up more Los Angeles HDTV broadcasts.
Adelphia gave me an HD DVR free for a year. I rent or lease it now.
Then my DVD player died. I put a DVD burner in my Dell computer and play my DVDs that way, now.
I am an electronics engineer working avionics and worked to make LCDs viable for cockpit applications since 1988. I learned all their shortcomings, so I don't want to watch one for entertainment.

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