From my personal experience...I bought a Onkyo 6:1 Home-Theater-In-A-Box (HTIAB) (reciever only.no additional DVD - they do have system that have a receiver and DVD player) system from Circut City for ~$550. I bought it after researching here. If you notice, Onkyo's HTIAB are rated very high. I have been extremely pleased with the performance of my system, it has fullfilled all my needs. And it has excellent sound. From others input, Onyko is a great brand to buy, though, Denon and Yamahas, maybe right up there too. I would say that for a HTIAB, you are not going to get much better than an Onkyo, but remember, you are buying a system, reciever, bass and speakers, and that is what is ranked high for Onkyo. If you buy individual pieces, Sony recivers, Denon speakers, I think the rankings change. I did not want to fuss with having to search for everything that was best, but wanted the convience of buying one thing, for a reasonable price and getting everything I needed. You also have to consider speaker size. The Onkyos are large, both front and rear, but that is why they are able to produce such good sound (for their price). If you want small, I think you can find very good speakers, but they often cost alot more. One last thing as I ramble on, get a sub-woofer that is powered (there should be 2 cords - one going to the receiver, and one is a powercord going to a plug in the wall). Hope this helps somewhat. let me know if you have anymore questions.
BJD in Mebane NC