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TVs & Home Theaters forum


Home Theater Questions

by Mdaily90 / April 16, 2013 4:53 AM PDT

I just purchased a Panasonic 50" GT50, I am now in the market for a Blu-ray player and some kind of audio system. I spent most of my money on the TV so I will likely have to buy these upgrades in stages.

The first will be a blu-ray player. I am considering several Panasonic models including the bdt-500 and bdr-220. I am open to other sugguestions. What is most important to me is video quality and then audio quality, web apps do not matter as my TV has plenty and so does my X-box.

My next dilema is audio. I have considered the sound bar option but I am not sure what my best bet is. I do not want to spend $800 on audio equipment right now. $500 is probably my max, I would really like to be around $350. I have considered all one systems that combine Blu-ray player and receiver packaged with speakers but have heard mixed reviews of these. I would not mine having the multiple units like with a receiver that I can channel all my devices through. I will not however be able to wall mount my speakers in my apartment, if wireless speakers exist I would be very interested in them if they are reasonably priced. I have not found any yet. I am fine running speaker wires under my rug to the back of the room if need be. Any recommendations here would be great I do not know much about receivers or speakers I have limited experience with a Yamaha 7.1 receiver with Klipsch speakers but I think that is out of my price range and 7.1 would be more than I need 5.1 is plenty.

Thanks for the help!

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All Answers

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If possible, buy separates in stages
by Pepe7 / April 16, 2013 1:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Home Theater Questions

You may be happier in the long run by buying a BD player now, then later on obtaining the AV receiver, speakers & sub you need later on. This also gives you a good chance to do more research, test out specific models and get it all right for your budget/preferences. Why skimp since the audio track for many movies is what truly adds to the 'wow' factor(?) The good part is that the BD player plays all types of discs, so you can enjoy everything now, just temporarily via your HDTV speakers. Since the audio decoding is done by a receiver, it will seem like a huge bump to enjoy the same (quality) BD player later on but also be able to add a huge boost to what you were hearing through your HDTV. Going with separates instead of a HTIB type system with built in BD player also lets you obtain better quality audio/video results IME. Understandably though, some folks' time frame and budget leads them down this avenue.

FWIW, I had a chance the other week to test out some generic equivalents of a popular entry level brand of speakers. Monoprice sells a similar set which truly looks/sounds like the Energy Take Classic 5.1. I learned about them from CNET actually. If your budget is still going to ultimately stay inside the 500-800 figure you've mentioned here, it would be worth a try, since for $500-600 you could obtain the Monoprice equivalent and also an entry level AV receiver. A decent BD player now could keep you at around $100, ballpark.

Here's a link to what CNET had on the Monoprice speakers/sub-

If possible, avoid wireless rears since they sound like crap.

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Thanks! + questions
by Mdaily90 / April 18, 2013 7:40 AM PDT

Yes this is exactly what I was thinking of doing and those Monoprice speakers are the ones I was considering most because of that same CNET review. The trouble I ran into is finding a pair... most online retailers I checked were out. I found 2 sets on Ebay but have not bought one yet. I just got my TV today!!! Love it so far!

I have a few other questions for you or anyone else who may be able to answer:

Is it necessary to age 100-200 hours before adjusting settings?

What does aging it do?

What is the difference between applying the custom CNET settings and having the TV professionally calibrated?

How do I unlock the Pro Settings on my GT50?


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by Pepe7 / April 18, 2013 2:47 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks! + questions

Careful, you are looking a 6 piece set of surrounds/sub Wink Stay off of fleabay for such an item, btw. The standard price is low enough as it is to not make it worth the risk of buying from an unknown seller.

You _should_ adjust the settings right away, actually. But at the same time, don't crank up either contrast or brightness, and keep the amount of static images to a minimum. It's the pro calibration later on that lets your new plasma truly shine. Whether you break it in 100 or 200 hours (or less, really) is up to you. Again, no extremes of contrast/brightness during this time. Take notes on what various settings do to certain sources/cable channels/etc. during this time. Later on this will help you get a better sense of what the ISF calibration can achieve.

Aging the phosphors means they become less susceptible to image retention (temporary issue). This doesn't mean that you are completely safe from burn-in (permanent damage) though. Some folks have asserted that they have observed better black levels/contrast after break in, but I think having a plasma professional calibrated, or at least properly adjusted for a respective input/source has more to do with this. YMMV. My eyes are certainly different than someone else's who may be viewing different media, and looking for a different result. FWIW, my friends and family who originally started migrating to such large displays really only cared about fast motion & how it looked in bright rooms. Later on I started to teach them about black levels, especially when watching movies. It can make a difference from the get go. Someone watching lots of sports for example, might not ever worry about black bars looking slightly gray instead of black like they should be.

CNET custom settings are really only going to get you so far, and does not allow you to adjust the non-user accessible facets of your display. Here's a good thread to give you a gist of what's involved w/ a pro-calibration:

Look in the following thread about pro settings for your GT50. Don't forget to read quite a lot before diving into altering too many of the settings yourself.

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by Mdaily90 / April 18, 2013 10:29 PM PDT
In reply to: Pair?

What would be an extreme contrast or brightness? Is THX Bright Room to much? I have it set their but I turned the contrast from 100 to 75 is that recommended? or would watching in THX Cinema or Standard be best?

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Ideally, they should be set lower
by Pepe7 / April 19, 2013 1:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

This is to minimize any potential issues.

Why not use a break in DVD or SD card? If you want more information on how to do this, feel free to ask. It's also well documented @ AVS (see prior link to that forum). Speeds up the break in process greatly.

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