Ok, so my dad got a 42" Panasonic plasma tv for christmas a couple years ago and this year wants a surround sound system. He basically watches movies and the digital cable box so it doesn't have to be anything too fancy. He liked the idea of the panasonic pieces working in sync so he was looking at one of their systems, but there are so many choices for 5.1....should I be looking at something like this?
in general home theater in a box solutions (htib) will work for a surround sound solution but the quality in said products is normaly subpar compared with the price you pay. even some $500-700 sets are small unibody plastic speakers, some of which come in gaudy shapes or with flimsy stands.
even on a limited budget you can match individual speakers and a receiver together which not only gives you more of a selection but normally products you get in this way tend to be a little better built. you would need to look around and do a bit of research though.
if you want almost a zero though, everything is in the box solution then just find a htib set you like the look of which sounds good to you.
of all the htib sets i've seen only one looked to be more worth the price and that was the one made by klipsch with the denon receiver. i was looking at that one but opted to step up out of the htib market and step it up a notch instead (klipsch speakers + sub & pioneer receiver).