"The bad: No digital-audio input."
But let me guess you are thinking like your Windows PC upgrades. The answer is still no. Sorry about that.
We own Panasonic SC-HT700 Home theater. The DVD player/receiver does not have optical audio port. We recently upgraded to HD with Time Warner. Now we watch movies on demand from Time-Warner, rather than rent DVD's. We miss surround sound. Is it possible to replace DVD player with a blu-ray player with optical audio port. This would allow us to connect to time Warner HD box to sound system, so that when a program is transmitted 5.1 Dolby (most movies), we would hear all speakers. Or at least, that's my understanding. Or would we better served to replace the whole system. We have Samsung Plasma TV.
This way you can quickly add or replace components as needed. Plus, you get much better control over the sound quality/quality of individual pieces when you buy separates.
At the very least, buy and all in one surround system that does not integrate a DVD or Blu Ray player. You may be surprised at what you can find for not much more $ though.
My budget is around $300-maybe too limited? This is my husband's Christmas present , if I can pull it off. He misses surround sound. He is not an audiophile; anything that would enable surround sound would be pleasing to him. I'm thinking that we rebuild our system, one piece at a time. My preference would be to start with a receiver with optical audio port, so we can connect Time Warner HD box to Panasonic SC-HT-700 speakers. The Panasonic DVD player/receiver sends audio to speaker system via HDMI port. Is my thinking skewed? Can I simply replace the DVD/receiver with a receiver only?? I believe the Panasonic SC-HT700 is 600 watt system. Is that a consideration?
Can you recommend a receiver that has optical port and HDMI port for connection to current speakers. We hardly watch DVD's and don't own any blu-ray discs. So a blu-ray player is last in my priorities. I'm fairly sure my hubby would be happy with current speakers. We've hardly used them, since we went with TimeWarner HD box.
In other words, you cannot mix and match like you can with real separates. The speakers cannot be used with normal AV receivers, only the main Panasonic unit/DVD player combo you already have.
Buying separates will likely cost more than $300 as a baseline. Finding a budget AV receiver won't be hard though. Figure $150-200 (entry level Sony or Onkyo AV receiver as examples), plus another $399 for halfway decent surround speakers & subwoofer (Energy Take Classic 5.1).
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