Please gather info. if not hopelessly eager to buy, like at a big box. Yeah, go see and listen back in the systems listening area - just to scope it out. As an old somewhat audiophile I like my 2 channel as well as my newish a/v system. I'm prejudiced towards accurate sound, not boom box type. Sure, surround has an interesting appeal but, bottom line, many channels are like a horsepower race. If 7.1 is good, just wait for 8.1, 9.1, etc.
If stereo (2 ch) is enough I suggest like the NAD C320BEE $399. Man, it's sweet! That's an integrated amp only. No radio tuner. I need broadcast radio to drive; on a good system at home you realize its standard is real crappy. So, you'll probably get an a/v receiver for the extra flexibility. A fine chioce is Denon AVR-1905 $499.You can start with just 2 speakers and add later, when money allows. You see the speakers are such a key part of the purchase. Decent ones you won't need to replace unless you get ambitious. A great start would be Paradigm Atom speakers at just $199. With that brand you can add/upgrade within the same Atom line. Original speakers could wind up as surround later. Those 1st 2 steps put you at 698 bucks. Then lots of good options. Bypass CD players as DVD players are now commonly universal players. Seriously consider like Sony DVP-NC685V $250, NAD T514 $299, Cambridge Azur 540D $349, or Denon DVD-1920 $369. Outfit total is $948-$1069 and these choices stand tall over what the big boxes throw together at that price. Something to take pride in. Add any modern capable TV for nucleus of nice a/v system. Nothing to throw away in a couple years. Do you have the discipline to buy intelligently instead of cracking the credit card at the big box? Hopefully. Actually, as forthrightness is a virtue, rather than dwell on these specific brands/models - go to a well experienced independent dealer who probably has at least one of these brands. If ready, lay your real total budget on the line. A good experienced independent with these type brands has already had to survive the big boxes siphoning off much foot traffic, yet survived. He won't waste your time. He can send you home with what will start you off fine with no waste of your or his time. Price that way only has to be, say 10% over online pricing for actual service. Chances of that happening at a big box is a real long shot. They don't know or care. The independent does. Just look for the best possible brands to point out his quality. Music electronics has been one of those areas benefitting tremendously from increased value from tech gains over time. Enjoy!!!