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Home Theatre help before purchase

Last response: in Home Theatre
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December 4, 2012 3:31:55 PM

I recently bought a 46" Samsung LED-LCD, and I am very, very happy with my purchase! When I bought it I was a little concerned because it only has two HDMI on it. My plan was to eventually buy a receiver or some sort of solution for future expandability, and I also would like some better speakers since the purchase would be more enjoyable with better sound. The upgrade was form a 26" Samsung from 4-5 years ago (720p) which is a night and day difference for me. I don't even have a blu ray player so I am sure that is also a necessary purchase to really get a solid use out of this TV.

I am also running an HDMI from my desktop/desk which is adjacent to the wall that the TV is on. I find this necessary for streaming videos from the PC, playing games with Xbox 360 wireless controller support, and anything else that a full fledged computer can handle.

What I am looking for in this thread is ideas, information on purchases others have made that they find ideal, and suggestions on receivers/speakers/peripherals for the TV. I also need to wall-mount this sucker and on Newegg, Rosewill seems to be the major supply there. I am even looking for media stands to deal with all the wiring/peripherals to go under the TV.

Any help is appreciated! I know this first post isn't the most clear and concise, but it should have covered most of the basics I am trying to achieve here.

More about : home theatre purchase

December 7, 2012 10:51:07 AM

perhaps the best way for me to start is to list what i actually use. keep in mind that some components may be out of your budget but at least it gives you a good idea of what others use. in approximately a 12x14 room...

tv:
-40" sony bravia 1080p 60hz ccfl backlit lcdtv
sound:
-pioneer vsx-30 receiver
-klipsch quintet IV 5.0 speaker set
-klipsch 450w subwoofer
perepherals:
-my pc. for gaming and my aux dvd/br player
-ps3. for gaming and my primary dvd/br player
-ipod

my purpose for this sound system was threefold.
-i wanted to upgrade from tv speakers/pc speakers to a real sound system which sounded quite a bit better.
-i wanted to be able to switch perepheral inputs easier and run a single cable to my television since i also have not enough ports or not the right ports.
-i wanted something of higher build quality then HTIB (home theater in a box) sets.

so now that you know what i use on to a few recommendations shall we?

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the first thing you should do is plan out where you want to place your speakers. you can find countless guides on the internet if you are unsure about what is best. you also need to figure out where you will place your receiver. ideally the perepherals and receiver as well as your computer should all be in the same area so you can just run cables instead of running everything through the walls. your television should also be reasonably close. having 50ft hdmi runs isnt exactly cheap and may require signal boosters.

personally i have my receiver under the tv and use a short 5-6ft cable. my perepherals are all within 5ft of my receiver.

i would highly suggest adding electrical boxes to the walls behind the speaker locations, receiver locations and if required pereperal locations (but try to put perepherals close so you dont need to). run conduit from these boxes to the box(es) behind the receiver. next run speaker wire through all of the paths and tie it off with about a foot or two of extra on each side.

you can buy faceplates which accept bananna clips which you should use. each speaker will need one with two ports and a 5.1 system will need 10 ports behind the receiver for speakers alone. you will want to hook your wires up to the back of these and secure them onto the boxes. one side of speaker wire typically has writing or other marking so just make sure you do them all the same.

okay so now you have all of your basic wiring done, what to do with the sub? i placed mine close enough to the receiver to run a cable but you may have to run it through the wall if you place it elsewhere.

once all of this is done, the hard part is done.

for your speakers you will just need to make up short leads with bananna clips on one side and hook the other side up to the binding posts/clips on your speakers. in this way you can move the speakers around to clean without worry. the ports/bananna clips are color coded so you can never get them mixed up.

for the receiver i personally made sure i bought one which supported not just speaker wire clips but actual posts with bananna clip ports. all i needed to do was create cables with bananna clips on each side and connect everything up to the propper wall ports and i was good to go. i would suggest labeling the wall ports when you do them to make sure you know which ports are for which speaker. again, the clips make it easy to pull wires if you ever need to.

once you have everything set up...you need to set your speaker delay. often a receiver will provide a microphone and the instructions are in the manual. i went out of my way to buy a more expensive model with an OSD (on screen display) which made things alot simpler as it displays on my tv not just on the receiver face plate. once speaker setup is complete you're ready to go.

so..what about those recommendations?

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i've had great luck with my pioneer receiver but they may be a little expensive for some. a good budget brand is onkyo but you may not get all the features you want. in general i'd avoid sony receivers under $500 or so i've been told.

as far as speakers go you have quite a few choices. i've had good luck with my klipsch but they are a little expensive. i know they make a HTIB set which looks quite a bit higher quality then all the rest which you may want to look into. i believe they use an actual receiver and seperate dvd/br player instead of a combo unit which is what you want. perhaps the best deal may be the sony floor standing speakers which you can get a pair for $120. of course these are just products i have used and others may have differing opinions.

a ps3 as a blueray player was a nonissue for me as it cost the same as a br player at the time. the non ps3 sony br player is also nice but it has slow eject times.

i used monster cable speaker wire since i got it rather cheap but in general just look for any reasonably priced high quality speaker wire. i think i used rocketfish bananna clips which worked okay but arent really the best as the springs have no spring back and stay crushed (look at a picture and you will know what i mean). not sure if this is a design issue or normal for bananna clips.

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hope this gives you an idea about what others have done!
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December 7, 2012 8:10:16 PM

Wow... just wow! You have answered so much in a well constructed fashion! Thank you so much for your time and effort you pumped into your post!

I recently bought 2 Polk Audio Monitor 60's series 2 for the speakers I will start out with. Seems like a good deal and newegg only made it better. I am now looking for a receiver and I am leaning towards a Yamaha, Onkyo, or Denon.

I plan on all of my stuff being right next to the tv. The desk with the computer and tv are on adjacent walls. I already have the hdmi running to the tv so it will just go to the receiver next. I really do not plan on running cables through the wall for this setup. I also don't plan on having true 5.1. My two floors, the sub, and the center will all be right up front with the tv/receiver/b ray player. I use a 2.1 system on my pc and it still amazes me at its quality (logitech 5.1 system that came with a dell my grandmother bought?!)

The best part of your post is you talking about the wiring and banana clips. I have posted on 3 other forums, and not one of them has mentioned about how to use these things. I know they exist, but I do not have the faintest clue on if i needed them right off or what. You really laid it all out there for me to read over, and I am truly thankful for it.

Now I need to purchase a receiver and a wallmount! I would appreciate any help for either of these purchases! I use newegg and amazon for most of my online ordering, tigerdirect some of the time as well. I have been pointed to accessories 4 less for receivers because of warranties and quality factory refurbs for discounts on great receivers. I am all ears to what you have to say!
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December 10, 2012 10:47:20 AM

i used to use a 5.1 logitech set in the same way you do. it does sound decent for the price and having all of the speakers up front never really bothered me.

after my jump to home theater speakers though i changed my setup to surround. honestly it does make a huge difference depending on what you use it for. i'm not sure how the receiver would handle speaker delay for rear speakers if they are up front as well. just a thought.

some lower end receivers do not give you the option for banana clips. instead they use the spring buttons (not sure of the technical term) which you press, insert the wire, and let go of to secure the wires. honestly these would work perfectly fine but banana clips are nicer looking and work better for wall plates. there are also 90 degree flat plugs available from radioshack which work in the same wall jacks (but dont work for multiple port wall jacks just single port ones). it uses (i believe) the large headphone jack. i prefer to keep my plugs seperate though.

if you plan on using just a 3.1, you can probably get away without clips but personally i would space the fronts apart in which case running through the wall would be a nicer looking setup.

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as far as wallmounts go, the weight of your tv comes into play. most swing arms will only accept a tv of a certain size and weight but since most led backlit tvs are so thin and rather light you may be able to use them now. if you need to rotate the tv for any use perhaps you should give this thought.

my tv is an older generation and it is HEAVY so i needed to use the flat mounting option which really is just a frame which hangs on the wall with j shaped members running horizontal which the two rails attached to the tv sit down in. this style works and takes up the least amount of room but has limited adjustment.

DO have a helper when mounting your tv. even with the new lighter tvs it is awkward to do it yourself!

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if you want a quality receiver i would suggest pioneer, denon or yamaha.

if you want a budget receiver with not as many options then go onkyo.

personally i would suggest a trip to best buy or hhgregg to have a look at the receivers. you can then look at the rear ports in person (photos are not always easy to figure out). you can then buy it online if you so wish.

the large best buy stores have magnolia displays (some sort of "high end" equipment i believe) which carry the top of the line products if you wanted to go that far. i had to drive out of my way to pick up my receiver at one.

if you want something under $500 then the displays at normal stores is fine.
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December 10, 2012 7:57:43 PM

I ended up getting a pair of Polk Monitor 60's Series II and an Onkyo 609. I ordered my own speaker wire, banana plugs, and a wall mount from monoprice. I ordered the speakers from Newegg. I got the receiver from accessories4less for a great price. I have been frequenting 2 other forums asking questions and reading others responses to similar questions. I as helped out in finding what would be a good setup that is also affordable. I got all of these items for great prices thanks to people who have been working with this stuff for quite a while. I am excited to see how this all works out, and I am also ready to put it together and start the experience :D 
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