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Replacing 10 ear old A/V system

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June 5, 2011 1:30:53 AM

I bought a Kenwood HTB-505 5.1 system many moons ago. It has 100 watts per channel w/a powered subwoofer. It only outputs as s-video or RCA cable. It feeds into a Toshiba 32" CRT.The stand is about 12' - 15' away from the viewing area. (The difference due to the depth of the stand and a 6" deep half wall. It in the lower level of a bi-level / raised ranch.) Obviously, if we get a new flat panel TV the Kenwood won't connect.

1) What would be a good replacement system, either component or HTB? Blu-ray would not be needed as I have nothing but DVDs. Also, I'd need to be able to connect the turntable, VCR, cassette deck and 5-band equalizer. Yes, most of my collection is older than most of the people looking at these forums. A related question is are wireless rear speakers any good?

2) About all I know about flat panels is 240 Hz 1080p is about as good as it gets as anything more is pretty much imperceptible to human eyes. What would be an acceptable size for the flat panel? What make gives the best bang for the buck. I have no need nor desire for 3D, a passing fad / scam for nerds and dorks. I also have no need to internet access although being able to connect the screen to my PC / home network would be nice. And lastly, I don't game, only watch movies and TV. FYI - We have DirecTV but may switch back to TimeWarner Cable if it's cheaper.

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June 5, 2011 7:01:46 PM
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i usually like to take things one step at a time.

the first step for you, why bother with a new system?
there might be reasons you have in mind besides the connection to the television.
maybe an improved listening experience.. as that seems to be the only thing i can think of.

you said you arent going to do the bluray thing (even though those bluray players are supposed to play dvds too)
so i dont see why you need to upgrade the speaker system you already have.

here are some clues as to NEEDING to change the system.
but
i dont know if they actually apply.

the first thing i would consider, does the kenwood receiver take too long to output the audio and causes the video and audio to be out of sync?
this is a good reason to have both audio and video connected through the receiver, as it allows the receiver to retard the video and keep the audio and video in sync.

i had a television connected to my cable box with the three rca cords, there wasnt any audio and video sync problems that were large enough to bother me and take notice.
but
that tv died and i have a small crt connected to the coax output of the cable box now.. sometimes i see some large audio to video sync problems.
i am assuming the coax connection is simply faster than the three rca cords.
when i turn the television volume up.. the audio is clearly faster on the television than from the receiver.
and it makes sense.. because the coax cable goes into the cable box and the cable box tunes in to what station i want and spits out the signal.
when the three rca cords are involved, there is some video processing done to seperate the video information into three different outputs.

apparently, if i am watching an HD channel.. it doesnt matter if the cable box has to remove some pixels (or if it is removing pixels at all and the television is simply ignoring the extra pixels)
because there is no slow down from standard definition channels to high definition channels with the coax output.
i also didnt notice any difference in video speed with the three rca cords.

my receiver is connected to the cable box with a single rca cord for digital s/pdif.

what i am asking from you is..
try connecting the television straight to the cable box with the three rca cords and the digital output from the cable box to the receiver.
see if there is any audio and video sync problems.. because if there isnt, maybe your new television can connect directly to the tv tuner (and the receiver's audio connected directly to the tv box)

without any audio and video sync problems.. you should be able to keep the speaker system until a later date.
i know, that doesnt mean the new television will be as fast as your old television when using the three rca cords.
but
if it saves you some money, it should save you some time.. you wont have to bother with shopping for a receiver that has all of the connections you want.
and if there IS some audio and video sync problems.. you might run the video through a new receiver and to the television to compensate for the sync issue OR find a receiver that specifically allows you to adjust the audio to video sync.


anyways.. if i was you, i would look at the screen size and maybe try to keep the top to bottom the same.. with some extra viewing area on the sides.
it should be easy to know if you want to keep the top to bottom the same size OR if you are willing to shrink it.
you can also compare the left to right size and ask yourself how much you are willing to add.
there are some websites that allow you to see the difference in size of the viewing area.
you simply put in the aspect ratio and size of the old television, then the aspect ratio and size of the new television.
there will be a picture that shows the difference.
real good if you want to keep the top and bottom the same size.. as it will tell you how many inches the new television needs to be to keep it (or go more)

you can see the website i am talking about here:
http://www.displaywars.com/

using your old screen to determine how happy or unhappy you are with the size is the best way to do it, since it is already there in your viewing area.
maybe you want to scoot the chair back another 1ft to compensate for the huge depth of the CRT compared to the new thinner televisions.
but even if you dont, it should be close enough that you say 'maybe i should have compensated for the shallow depth and scooted the chair back before i decided'
but
a real decision from your normal viewing distance should be close enough that you forget about the complaint and you are 'settled'
the difference can be the choice between a 42 inch or 47 inch
adding the extra inches to compensate for the huge depth of the CRT.
this is usually true for all bigger screen sized crt's being replaced.
you say what you want and then go up the next size to get about the same affect.
my CRT is about 2ft deep

some people might say.. 2ft isnt a whole lot, but consider only 1ft difference when viewing the computer monitor.
and if you must, consider adding 2ft to your viewing distance of the computer monitor.
it can really annoy you to say you went with the 42 and not the 47 (or the 36 instead of the 42)

i am seeing 32inch / 37inch / 40inch / 42inch / 46inch
these are the average sizes.

displaywars.com says 40 inches is the same size as 32 inches from top to bottom.. but add that 2ft to the removal of the huge depth of the crt and you will probably want a 42 inch version.
the 40 inch version will probably appear to be a little thinner from top to bottom than the old television.

anyways.. i am assuming the old 32 CRT is a 4:3 aspect ratio and not one of the 16:9 high definition CRT televisions.
June 6, 2011 4:35:16 PM

some new televisions do have RCA inputs. i know my sony 40" bravia does. however, for image and sound quality i stick with hdmi.

if your whole speaker system works fine as is and you are happy then you might want to keep it as is. if instead you want to "upgrade" your sound and possibly video then yes, you might want to look into new.

you might only watch dvds but it doesnt hurt to future proof. blueray players will also play dvds. most also upconvert the quality a bit (its noticible but not HD by far)

as far as inputs go, you'd have to look at individual receivers to see what ports they have.


as far as televisions go if you're sitting 15 feet away i'd go with something in the 40-46 range myself.
---

the only general advice i can offer (since i'm fairly new into the HT speaker arena myself) is to avoid bose as they use cheap speakers and to avoid the cheaper (sub $500) sony a/v receivers. i haven't heard much on wireless rear speakers but i myself went wired.

i'm running a pioneer vsx30 with the klipsch quintet iv and 450w sub. something of this nature might be out of your budget but i can at least vouch for this set personally.

as far as individual speakers are concerned...theres a tower speaker by sony (i know sears online sells it) that comes 2 in one box for about $120 each box. they are about 3.5-4ft tall and although they lack the crispness of my own set they more than make up for it with the sheer volume and room filling sound they produce. we have 2 of them in another room and (directly hooked up to the tv, no a/v reciever) they can fill a 17x25 room.
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June 16, 2011 3:39:35 PM

Best answer selected by kep55.
June 16, 2011 3:43:29 PM

Thanks for the input. FWIW - I read some Consumers Digests and they agree with a couple other sources. For 12' - 14' away, a 52" - 58" is optimal. Since the Kenwood has several TOSLink ports, I may just keep it. Besides, I don't want to give up my phono for good sound, nor my tape deck. Other research indicates that quite possibly a Samsung or Panasonic plasma is the way to go. Now if if could only pry the check book from the Boss' hands.
!