Question

How much of a new home theater do I need?

My wife and I don't have cable/TV programming or the internet, but we love watching movies together. Currently, we watch our movies on a Silvana 3-in-1 TV/DVD/VHS. This set is old and has started to fade. We lost the original remote and the universal remotes don't have a way to get us into the color/contrast settings (I'm not sure if the original did either, my wife lost the remote before we met). With all of this said, we're about ready to update.

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How much of a new home theater do I need?

I don't know your furnisture setup but a 50" TV needs a stand and eventually a HTIB could require more shelf space with the TV so keep that in mind.
Onkyo, Sony and Panasonic make well reviewed HTIB with a blu ray player included. Onkyo seems to be the best reviewed and best bang for the buck. I know Sony and Panasonic made HTIB setups with wireless rear surround speakers (P'm not sure about Onkyo) but usually the front speakers and subwoofer require wiring. Don't even think of 7.1. There's only a couple of movies that have this soundtrack. The most important audio factor is that the receiver that comes with the HTIB decodes DTS Audio-Master and Dolby HD. Video wise the HTIB receiver should have HDMI out. I'm not up on current HTIB offerings as I have all components. I'd check the manufacturer's web sites for product info and list price for their HTIB and then check with dependable vendors (Amazon, Vanns, Abe Of Maine, etc.) online to see what the price is for the one you like. Many times there's free shipping and no tax (depending on where you live).

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I'd go for a Panny plasma & HTIB w/ blu ray

It seems like you are starting out and want to jump in, so IMO it would present the most bang for your buck right now.
What sounds "good" however is certainly very subjective. You will have to first see what your budget permits if you go down the road of separates,

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New Home Theater

How much home theater do you need? Only you and your wife can answer that question. What you have to do is :look,listen and learn. You have chosen an HDTV and Blu-ray player so I guess you looked at the picture quality. Now you have to listen to different speakers. This requires a visit to an A/V store. To listen and learn. Take your time. Visit some A/V forums and read some of the good Home Theater magazines. I had fun putting my system together and I didn't rush. Look at it as a very fun project for you and your wife. Happy

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