TVs & Home Theaters forum

General discussion

New Home theater system.

I want to set up a new home theater system. I recently purchased a 32" Vizio VW32L. I have a Sony STR-DE325 receiver. A Panasonic DVD A110 (DVD Player), a Panasonic PV 8664 (VCR) and a Pioneer PD-F1007 300 disc changer (CD Player). I want to spend no more than $600 -$800 (of course, less is always better). I do not know the techy jargon very well, but I do see that some new systems are not BluRay compatible. I also see some systems are 5:1 surround and others are 7:1. Frankly, I do not know what the difference is, except the 7:1 seem to have better ratings and cost more. Having BluRay seems like the only way to go ... socan anyone offer me any advice?

Redmond, OR

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: New Home theater system.
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: New Home theater system.
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
A couple of things

In reply to: New Home theater system.

Until you get a Blu-ray player, enjoy your standard-def DVD player. Just hook it up directly to your TV and set it to "Progressive". To get "Progressive" you need to either connect it via HDMI or Component. In either case, take your Optical audio-out from the DVD player and connect it to your receiver. This way, you get the best picture and the best audio. Speaking of audio, the difference between 7.1 and 5.1 is that you get an extra center-rear speaker and I believe an extra speaker for each side-wall. Do you need this? No. By the way, you can connect speakers in 5.1 configuration to a 7.1 receiver. You can use a 7.1 receiver for 5.1 and it will be fine.

For your VHS player, choose an input that has S-Video. I know that some combo DVD/VHS players have component connections, but the component does not apply to VHS, only DVD, and it looks like your VHS is stand-alone. It should have an S-Video out connection.

So, for your budget, do you need to get speakers and possibly a Blu-ray player, or do you already have speakers? If you don't have speakers yet, I'd forget the Blu-ray for now and use the money for speakers. 5.1 audio matters more in the surround experience than the picture, but a standard-def DVD hooked up properly will look stunning and great audio will totally enhance the movie experience.

Collapse -

In reply to: New Home theater system.

your looking for speakers & a bluray player?

Do you have any speaker now hooked up to the reciever?? & if so what brand & model ##

are you going to use the reciever you have??? I can't find Any info on that reciever. If the reciever has 5.1 analogs, then get a Bluray player that has 5.1 or 7.1 analogs out with internal decoding so you can get PCM, DTS-HD & DDtrue audio.

5.1 is 5 speakers & 1 sub, 7.1 is 7 speakers & 1 sub.

HTIB w/ bluray player $799-1k:

HTIB bluray player $1.5k

Collapse -

In reply to: sooo

I have an old cheap (very cheap) CS4 Cinemate theater system (not hooked up in my new home) and Pioneer floor speakers for my stereo. I believe my reciever has 5.1 analogs, but am not sure. How can I be sure? what is PCM, DTS-HD & DDtrue audio?


Collapse -
A different way

In reply to: New Home theater system.

Have you considered maybe going a different route since the TV is relatively small? For that $800 you could get a Boston Acoustic SOUND BAR and a Sony PS3 (the best blu-ray player available). That sound bar has a surprisingly warm sound, and you don't have to worry about running wires all around your room. The sub is wireless too. Sony makes a good sound bar sans wireless sub.

Boston Acoustic



Collapse -
Re: the Sony SoundBar

In reply to: A different way

I posted this elsewhere, viz., that my Sony HT-CT100 does not seem to give me total surround sound - I am using an optical cable from my TV and have otherwise set it up correctly, I believe. The sound is deep and accurate, but,unlike the sound system that comes with my Bravia, I fail to detect "surround" sound to my rear....a little to the front sides, that's about it. What could be wrong?

Collapse -
Well, it's a soundbar, isn't it? Sorry to be so abrupt,

In reply to: Re: the Sony SoundBar

as I am a small time audiophile who believes in the highest quality speakers. Yes, I've seen a few online pro reviewers say rather kind things about soundbars, but I'm a traditionalist stick in the mud.

Electronic gimmickery to "SIMULATE" surround sound still isn't really surround.

Collapse -
new BD HTIB system by samsung $799

In reply to: New Home theater system.

Collapse -
new BD HTIB system by samsung $799

In reply to: new BD HTIB system by samsung $799

Thank you for the info. In one of the other replies I rec'd, it was suggested that I get DTS-HD Master Audio. This new Samsung system seems to come with evything except this. do you have any thoughts on how significant this is? Frnakly, I don't even know what DTS-HD Master Audio is.


Collapse -

In reply to: new BD HTIB system by samsung $799

PCM, DDtrue, DTS-MA & DTS-HD all are uncompressed audio's. All players can do PCM via analog but to get say 5.1 PCM the Player & reciver has to have 5.1 analogs outs & not all BD players have 5.1/7.1 anaglogs out, just 2.0.
Uncompressed audio is what you get in a movie threater, the bit rate maxs out at 24.5 Mbs vs core dts 1.5Mbs (what you get on dvd's or BD that down convert because 1) your player can't do it 2) the reciever).
Note: DTS on some DVD's many be more compressed, so you may not get 1.5Mbs on all DVD's, that is why on some DTS DVD's the sound is better then on other DTS DVD's. Soo Core DTS on BD (1.5Mbs) will sound like the Very best DTS DVD you have ever heard, maybe a bit better.

It can be very confusing soo here is an example...

I have a Samsung bd-p1200 hooking up to a Yamaha Rx-v1500 (No HDMI). My Samsung BD player can Not decode DTS-HD, DTS-MA or DDtrue, but since all BD players can out put PCM & my BD player has 5.1 analogs out & my receiver can do 7.1 PCM via analog, I then can get uncompressed PCM 5.1 (24.5 Mbs max). Since my BD player can Not do DTS-HD, DTS-MA or DDtrue, those are down graded to the 'core', DTS-HD/DTS-MA is downgraded to DTS @ 1.5 Mbs & DDtrue downgradeed to DD @ 759kbs(?).

If I had a BD player that could internally decode & bitstream DTS-HD or DDtrue via analogs (DTS-MA is only for HDMI) I would then besides still getting uncompressed PCM (or LPCM), I would get DTS-HD & DDtrue @ 24.5 Mbs max, DTS-MA would be the only one that downgraded to DTS 1.5Mbs. I have mostly turned my reciever into an Amp.

One more thing, you have to check/select the correct audio setting when playing a BD, a disc MAY have both LPCM & DDtrue on the same disc & from my experience on my set-up DDtrue is the defalt, so I have to remeber to change it to LPCM.


Collapse -
Way over my head

In reply to: ....

Thank you for your reply. However, I am really just a beginner. All these terms are way over my head. Where can I go to catch up?

Collapse -
I don't know man...

In reply to: Way over my head

Don't get frustrated and just start grinding through what they say beacuse they know a lot. A year ago, it was all a mystery to me, too. Now, I know exactly what the posts are talking about and can follow, no problem. Just view the posts as clues to the answers you are looking for and google the terms used solve the puzzle. Because of the practice these boys have given me, I couldn't be a CSI but I bet I could play one on TV.


Collapse -
Thanks Rusty

In reply to: I don't know man...

Rusty, thanks for the word of encouragement. I'll keep reading and learning.


Collapse -

In reply to: Thanks Rusty

Did you read my post? Trust me, I know what Im talking about.

Collapse -
Did I read your post?

In reply to: Jim

Yes I did. The dilema I have is some say buy BluRay and others are saying wait 'till the price comes down. Also, to answer your question about how far I sit from the screen - I sit about 8' (directly in front of); my wife usually sits about 8' (at an angleof abut 60 degrees) my son sits about 9 1/2' (oposite angle from his mom at about 75 degrees). Finally, you used the term "Lossless" a few times in in your original post. What is "Lossless"?

Thanks, Jim

Collapse -
Ok Jim

In reply to: Did I read your post?

You and wife's viewing angle is 16.5 deg. Son's is 13.9. Just FYI. To continue, check out this graph (assumes 20/20 vision):

You might have to squint at the graph, heh, to see what distance/32" gets you. Looks to me like you are right between full benefit of 480p, and just almost about to get slight benefit of 720p.

Now, that's just a graph. But as a reference, improvements in resolution are only going to be minimal, at best. Im not sure if I would get a BDP. I'd almost get a new display first...

"lossless" audio means that you get every bit of useful information that was created in the studio. Doesn't mean it sounds any good, because if the audio engineers did a poor job, you get 100% poor job. The lossless audio tracks include DTS-MA, TrueHD, and uncompressed PCM.

Collapse -
Let me give this a shot. Warning: more confusion, possibly

In reply to: Way over my head

I would reconsider getting a BD (bluray disc) Player. Firstly, my guess is that your receiver does not have m-ch analogs. Even if it did, you have to take care that the player does not cut LFE. And it probably will. Then I guess you can see if the receiver has an easy switch to boost LFE. And it probably won't.

For 7.1 surround from 5.1 m-ch analogs, you can't.

Then, Im curious how far you sit from display. As its 1366x768, you obviously cannot take full advantage of mastered 1080p. The ONLY thing I can possibly see you improving, in THIS real world case, is the improved colors. And even that still depends on the actual movie you are watching (transfer quality).

As for resolution, your display is already very modest. Depending on how far you sit, you may not perceive ANY improvement with resolution.

For Audio: Lemme tell you that no one was more excited about lossless tracks for HT than I was here. Im not that impressed... Lossy tracks are still pretty good. And since audio is half the game here, Im often distracted by video. These are the things that are more important than Bluray Audio:

- room acoustics
- choice of speakers
- speaker positioning
- choice of sub
- sub positioning
- listener positioning
- adequate amplification
- calibration (particularly levels. Good soundstage up front, dont run surrounds too hot).

And im sure there's more. Lossless audio is really the least important, IMO, and thats coming from someone who watches 100% bluray and HD-DVD. I dont even watch TV.

side note for givemeaname: your post is Logo crazy! anyways, those codecs are NOT uncompressed. They ARE compressed, and that's the whole reason for their existence. They save space. But yet still are lossless, just like Uncompressed PCM.

centraloegonhiker: you can ask me/us more q's. I was about to send you somewhere, but then I reeeaaallly thought better of it. Wink

Collapse -
In Other Words

In reply to: Let me give this a shot. Warning: more confusion, possibly

I agree with Dan's post. Cool

Collapse -
all the stuff

In reply to: Let me give this a shot. Warning: more confusion, possibly

I have read talks about the bit rate & that it is 'bit for bit the same' .....

I had too read through about 2 pages of links on google to find the 'real' info (if that was even right), yes dts-hd/dts-ma & DDt are compressed but there bit for bit the same with uncompressed PCM... confusing..YES... Is that right??????????????????

I think "they" made it so confusing so we all would have to go out & buy a new receiver.

Collapse -
You are right

In reply to: all the stuff

they are both:

- bit-to-bit identical
- and yet compressed.

AFAIK. Its simply "unzipping" when its "unpacked". "Decoded" is the least accurate description (nothing to decode).

Collapse -
open question on audio

In reply to: You are right

I got Ok I just got StarGate: Continuum on BD today, on the back it says
"Lossless Audio delivers the finest on uncompressed digital sound avaible." a mix-up?????

under sound tracks (english) "5.1 DTS-HD Master Lossless Audio"

is DTS-HD any diffent from DTS-HD Master lossless??????????????

it is those little things that makes it confusing.

Oh it is a good movie Happy

Collapse -
Lossless audio, as opposed to lossy formats which do not

In reply to: open question on audio

convey all the audio info, but compress the digital data & rely on algorithms to the re-expand the audio data.

Because there are more than one format developed over time, there are several compressed formats which, hence, are lossy. And there is more than one uncompressed & therefore lossless format.

Though the differences are relatively small (but nonetheless incremental,) I can see the natural tendency to want their todays equipment to be as capable as possible. So look for compatibilty with as manay as possible lossless formats.

There are so many variables. Not so many movies come with 7.1 sound. But if one does & you have a perfectly good 5.1 setup in your room to minimize the compromises of havine A/V in a room you still prefer to remain as regular, inviting, & comfortable within its style - well, the two extra surround info channels simply will go unused.

BluRay is not compelling enough for me to get an expensive player yet when a couple of years time will make them the norm. But those of you who have already migrated to BluRay are experiencing the extra glory. My 1700 standard DVD movie classics collection is based upon appreciation for classic motion pictures. I think I will not particularly see any need to rebuy the classics, but simply add on worthy newer flics are they come along.

Collapse -
I wonder how many times I will have to explain this

In reply to: Lossless audio, as opposed to lossy formats which do not

even to the regulars here.

There are more compressed formats now than uncompressed that provide lossless audio.

Compressed does not necessarily mean lossy.

The subjective differemces, whether "subjectively small but nonetheless incremental", is completely dependent on the master.

Collapse -

In reply to: open question on audio

Yea, its just unnecessary gibberish. Uncompressed is lossless.

DTS-HD is an improved, but still lossy, codec. Its used when space is restricted. Think of bd-25 disc with extremely high average video bitrate, that is 3 hours long, with loaded extras... for instance. Silly

DTS-HD MA is lossless.

Both HD and MA varieties are extension bitstreams added to the existing lossy DTS track. AFAIK. Im 100% sure about MA, and almost as sure on HD. I think this makes them more complex for today's electronics.

Collapse -
BluRay player price should be good in a couple of years.

In reply to: New Home theater system.

Until then, don't sweat it.

7.1 simply has two more minor league surround speakers than a 5.1 setup. Its always up to the customer, but my living room is to look like a living room, not an imitation theater room. I use 5.1 just fine.

I've read the replies so far & we're not yet knowing what speaker sort of thing you want to do except that, frankly, you want to do it quite cheaply. As an old audiophile I have to consider speaker selection of prime importance as that is where most all the sound difference comes from.

They seem a bit expensive but last for decades. You will replace electronics much more often.

It is recessionary times. Leave time to drive down BluRay player prices to much more reasonable. They will still be just as good, just a lot more reasonable.

Collapse -
BluRay player price...

Thanks for your input. From what I/ve read so far, I want 5:1, wireless. Beyond that, I really don't know what I want. I guess that is what I am asking the group.

Collapse -
Whoa. wireless? A lovely idea with much less promise based

In reply to: BluRay player price...

on those wireless setups that have been offered to the public so far. Imperfect signal throughput results in many drop outs. Wireless may be okay as a computer speaker upgrade but not for any serious music listen

Yes, about all companies are offering wireless now as they can't stand to perhaps lose a sales opportunity, but I have heard the factory guys admit the wireless product embarrasses them.

If you really might want wireless, make sure you go hear it critically.

Collapse -
Whoa. Wireless ...

Thank you for the input. Yours is the first of its kind. Interesting food for thought.


Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


This one tip will help you sleep better tonight

A few seconds are all you need to get a better night's rest.