... from when I used to sell home A/V stuff (4 years ago) the panasonic home theaters in a box systems were very nice... but the Pioneers of that time had a bit more omph to their amplifiers. Things are probably way different today.
The one thing that is not different is my old school predilections to hard wiring the back speakers to an integrated amplifier / receiver. if it concerns you that the wireing is too expensive to run through the walls... then you can hide the wires through self sticking, pre painted, wire channeling or "raceways" such as this...
You can stick it along the corner edge of walls or ceilings.
Ultimately, I do not care for Home Theater in a Box systems because if one thing goes bad in the system, you are faced with sending it out for repair, or limping along with a crippled system. Separate components may be more expensive but they do allow for more flexibility in upgrades and/or replacing a single part if it breaks down. That being said, I do appreciate why an HTIB is so attractive for so many people.
Our 10-yo Hitachi 45" rear projection set is starting to go off-color again (no -- the color, not what's playing!) Experience shows that means one of the three color tubes needs replacing, about a $600 investment in an outmoded technology. Mrs. K (pleased to have new laminate floors and a new dining room set) has agreed to a replacement, and we've already bought a terrific entertainment center at a going-out-of-business sale ($2800 list ---> $1k!) So -- what to put in it?
1) Until today, I was going to get a 58" Panasonic TH-58PZ7000U plasma. Then I saw the new 50PZ800U, which has a much higher contrast ratio, next to the 50PZ7000U; seeing them side by side, there's simply no comparison. But -- I won't be seeing them side-by-side. Furthermore, the 58" won't be out until August. So -- 50" now, or wait for the 58" in the Fall (with a flaky color tube, I really don't want to wait...) Decisions, decisions!
2) We have a flat-roof house, so the rear speakers in the 5.1 setup must be wireless. I've seen several recommendations (both online and at two stores) for the Panasonic SCPT960 home-theater, which features rear wireless speakers, a 5-disk CD/DVD changer, and 1250 watts. The only drawback -- some complain that the rear speakers are weak, while others can't see what the complainers are talking about. Anyone familiar with the system to give an opinion?
Thanks in advance for the input!
-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator