Help choosing a 7 channel home theater set up or system

Want: - 7.1 or 7.2 channel system
Why: - To watch BR movies and television. Some PS3 too.
Budget: - I'd prefer to stay around $500 or less. Will spend more if it makes sense to.

Hi guys. I need some pointers and advice on an entry level type home theater set up. I would prefer to stay at or under $500, unless it simply makes too much sense to spend more on a better HTIB, or separate reciever + speaker build. I know HTIB's are love hate for lots of people. I'll take all advice from all providers. I'd prefer a 7.1 or 7.2 channel system.

For HTIB's I was considering one of these. I currently get 5% cash back from Chase for purchases at Amazon which knocks a few more bucks off. Plus I have a $50 GC to Amazon. That's why I'd like to keep my purchasing to Amazon, although it isn't required.

Onkyo HT-S7409 5.1-Channel Network A/V Receiver/Speaker Package - $477


Onkyo HT-S5400 7.1-Channel Home Theater System - $360

From what I've read, the S7409 comes with the Onkyo TX-NR609 7.2 Channel Network THX Certified A/V Receiver which runs for about $380 all by itself. I like that cuz it means I can eventually upgrade the speakers down the road if I feel inclined to, without having to invest in a new reciever as well. The negative with this set is that it only comes with 5.1 channel speakers, and some say they aren't the greatest. With that, the system does review really well from owners, and I could always add a pair of Polk Monitor60's down the road, to get to 7.1 channel.

The S5400 is cheaper, which my wife will like, and also reviews really well. According to reviewers, the speakers are reportedly better than those that come with the S7409. The trade off is the reciever isn't as high end. Still, owners really like it, and in the end it would probably be as much as I'd need.

Being married and without a man cave, I won't be able to blast whatever I buy whenever I want to. So with that I don't want to overpsend for something I might not always use, or be able to enjoy. I'd rather take a step in now, and then if I really like surround, take some bigger steps later. So, I'm leaning toward the S7409 because of the reciever. The question is, would I be better served spending a couple hundred more and buying separate speakers and a reciever. Would the difference in quality be worth it?

My old system is a crap Sony STR-K502P that I just reconnected after taking out of a 5 year hibernation. Hooking that up got me interesting in surround again.

Thanks for all info, pointers, or advice. It is much appreciated.
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More about help choosing channel home theater system
  1. Honestly HTIB suck for the most part (because of lack of options, and inputs and outputs), BUUUUTT, they are intended for the consumer that is not really "into" true home theaters.

    Now what you posted, the HT-S7409 is a KICKASS setup for the price, without a doubt. Esp for entry level, but it has TONS of Ins and Outs, all the surround modes, 130w per channel, 7.2 capable! HDMI 1.4a which means 3D support. Plus all the speakers and subwoofer! Sure are they lower end speakers yes, can you replace them later if you so choose with a different brand and keep the receiver? Absolutely!

    If your on a budget, there is no reason to go over it to get something that will be outdated in a few months to a years time. That Onkyo system (HT-S7409) is well worth the money and I believe you will be highly satisfied.

    I hope this helped!

    Good luck with the purchase man, let us know what you do, and get us some pictures when its all said and done!!!!

    BTW, the other system they give you more speakers and is still a cheaper system because the receiver is a much lower line than the HT-S7409 system... Its worth the extra money to get the HT-S7409, then add the back surrounds and one more subwoofer. (which if we get technical, a true THX certified system requires the use of 2 subwoofers if they are smaller than 12"), but thats just useless info I thought I would toss out there! hahaha...

    Again good luck!!!
  2. Thanks for the reply. It's much appreciated. I'm going to throw another option by you. Newegg has the Pioneer VSX-1021-K 7.1-Channel A/V Receiver for $299

    Should I buy the Pioneer 1021 for $299, and then pair it with a set of Onkyo SKS-HT540 7.1 Channel Speakers for $180? Personally I'd prefer the Onkyo NR-609 because it seems like a better AVR.
  3. That is also a great option, as the Pioneer is a pretty decent receiver, esp for that deal which ends today! You will make a good system with either route. Just look at pioneer website and onkyos website for those products and compare them side to side and see what options one has that the other doesnt. Or what strikes your interest.

    Let me note that the pioneer has Airplay, which most people LOVE if they have an apple music product and use Itunes.

    Onkyo -

    Pioneer -
  4. When you think of buying a home cinema, commonly known as home theater system then think of branded products. I am sure if you purchase branded home theater system and set in your living room, you will never repent. Just visit a reputed home theater system retail shop, get one and install. And yes, don't forget to buy a home theater seating as well to create an ambiance of a mini movie theater.
  5. I would go with the Onkyo S7409 based system because the receiver is better. Any of these setups just doesn't cost enough to get you decent speakers but the 7409 setup comes with a self powered sub which will make upgrades easier and probably give you better bass. You can upgrade the 3 front speakers first, the sub next, rears last.
    In many rooms 7 channels doesn't do much because you often can't place the extra speakers where they will work properly. Your wife will be happier with less speakers too.
  6. This is a old thread just so you know.
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