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Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 11:49 AM
Question for those of you in the know....

We need to replace a VCR and likely our DVD, so I've been looking around at various "combo" units. Typically, they come with 5 speakers. I'm not looking at replacing the TV and since this ultimately is not my dream set up, I don't want to drop a ton of cash.

However, I think I can spend $300-450 on something that will work nicely. I have seen some Panasonic and JVC units out at BestBuy and CostCo.

Any suggestions for the cheap bastard looking to improve his viewing pleasure?

Thanks,

Phobia
12-04-2004, 11:55 AM
I can't recommend the Sony DVD changers. I got my old man one for Christmas last year. It's kinda crappy and has already been in the shop once.

Other than that tidbit, I don't have a whole lot of advice. I know the Panasonics have the DVD/VCR combos and I imagine that's pretty convenient.

I've had a lot of JVC components over the years and never had a problem which is more than I can say for Sony and Onkyo.

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 12:06 PM
I have a Philips 5-disc DVD now and 6 months after the warranty, the damn thing has gone to hell.

Phobia
12-04-2004, 12:13 PM
I used to have a Philips big screen. Bad experience. I won't buy Philips again.

My JVC DVD player has been going 5 years. My JVC VCR about 7. I had a JVC TV for a long time, too.

Gaz
12-04-2004, 12:13 PM
Make sure that the receiver has both Dolby 5.1 & DTS decoders. You will get more “oomph” with a powered subwoofer. Although the teeny tiny satellite configuration speakers are sexy, you will get fuller sound from bigger speakers for the L & R mains.

A Home Theater in a Box provides the most bang for your buck, particularly since this is not your dream system. As long as it is not the system you use for tunes, HTiB will bring your DVDs to life. I have a Kenwood HTiB that I bought several years ago and I have been quite content with it. Also, I have never regretted a JVC purchase.

Have fun.

xoxo~
Gaz
Rocks the neighborhood.

redbrian
12-04-2004, 12:19 PM
Buy for the least amount of money that you can, a new format (HD) is comming out in the next year or two. Your old DVD's will play on the new format but the new DVD's will not play on the old machines.

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 12:36 PM
I found this... Gaz, is this the 5.1 you were talking about?

Panasonic 600W 5.1-Ch. Home Theater System w/Progressive-Scan DVD/CD/MP3 Player/VCR - $400 @ Best Buy

http://images.bestbuy.com/BestBuy_US/images/products/6314/6314696_ra.jpg

Model: SC-HT820V

Enjoy virtually any video in cinema surround sound with a DVD player that supports the latest video formats and a built-in 6-head VCR.

Complete home theater system includes 5.1-channel amplifier with built-in surround sound decoders, progressive-scan DVD/CD/MP3 player/VCR, digital AM/FM tuner, 5 speakers and subwoofer

Progressive-scan video output maximizes DVD picture quality when used with a digital TV or monitor

Built-in Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS surround sound decoders.

QUESTION

It appears this will play music CDs as well, I'm curious about the quality.

RedandGold
12-04-2004, 12:49 PM
If you're willing to spend just a little more, the Onkyo HTS-770 is about as good as you can get for the money. It doesn't include the DVD player, but it's a powerhouse when compared to other systems in the same price range.

They have it on sale at Circuit City right now for $474.99, and here's a link if you want to check it out:

Onkyo HTS-770 at Circuit City (http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Onkyo-Home-Theater-System--HTS-770-/sem/rpsm/oid/90794/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do)

What's nice about this system is that it sounds great for music as well as movies, and you generally don't find that within this price range. Believe me, you could spend close to twice as much and not end up with a complete 6.1 system that sounds as good as this one.

This is the system that I bought for my dad last Christmas, and after looking at the offerings from Panasonic, Sony, Yamaha, and Samsung that were in the same price range, the Onkyo was an extremely easy sell.

The only drawbacks are that the front speakers are larger than what you find in most HTiB systems, so you will need to invest in a pair of stands. Also, the powered sub takes up quite a bit of space.

Good luck in your search, and if you have any questions about this system, I will be happy to answer them.

Deberg_1990
12-04-2004, 12:49 PM
I used to have a Philips big screen. Bad experience. I won't buy Philips again.

My JVC DVD player has been going 5 years. My JVC VCR about 7. I had a JVC TV for a long time, too.

Agreed. I bought Phillips Progressive scan DVD player 2 years ago, and ended up hating it. It was always locking up on movies like halfway through them. I got rid of it and bought a Pioneer last year. My first DVD player i bought back in mid 1999 and its a Pioneer. Its still going as strong as ever in my bedroom.

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 12:53 PM
Sounds like the consensus is Philips bites ass... I agree.

Have you guys bought anything from Overstock.com?

http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?PAGE=CATLIST&PRO_SUB_CAT=221&PRO_SSUB_CAT=1280&cid=51781&fp=f

Some of the stuff appears to be factory reconditioned, so I guess these were floor models or even returns possibly. Kinda scary.

Thanks for the info on the Onkyo, but I really need the DVD to be a part of the deal.

BigMeatballDave
12-04-2004, 12:56 PM
I would stay away from multi-disc changers. Too many moving parts that can malfunction...

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 12:58 PM
I would stay away from multi-disc changers. Too many moving parts that can malfunction...

I believe that is a part of my issue with the Philips 5-disc changer... I keep getting disc errors and other random messages. It won't play anything and oddly enough will randomly 'power up'.

RedandGold
12-04-2004, 12:59 PM
Sounds like the consensus is Philips bites ass... I agree.

Have you guys bought anything from Overstock.com?

http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?PAGE=CATLIST&PRO_SUB_CAT=221&PRO_SSUB_CAT=1280&cid=51781&fp=f

Some of the stuff appears to be factory reconditioned, so I guess these were floor models or even returns possibly. Kinda scary.

Thanks for the info on the Onkyo, but I really need the DVD to be a part of the deal.


If you need the DVD player, and want a system that's strictly for movies, the HTiB systems from Panasonic are probably your best bet then. The speakers don't take up much space, and Panasonic is one of the more reliable brands out there.

The big downside is that if you intend to use the system for music as well, you will be very disappointed.

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 01:02 PM
If you need the DVD player, and want a system that's strictly for movies, the HTiB systems from Panasonic are probably your best bet then. The speakers don't take up much space, and Panasonic is one of the more reliable brands out there.

The big downside is that if you intend to use the system for music as well, you will be very disappointed.

Thanks ... yeah, if I can pull it off, I'd like an all-inclusive system for the least amount of money. I would like the ability to play movies - DVD or VHS and music CDs and have sweet sound.

Gaz
12-04-2004, 01:17 PM
That system does not have a powered subwoofer, but it does have a VCR and will play DVD-Audio. Since you wanted a VCR, this is a plus for you. However, VCRs are very cheap now, so if you can spare the room, the included VCR is more a convenience than a bargain. How much you would miss a powered subwoofer depends on how much you want DVD explosions to shake your bones.

Another consideration is that this system is not expandable. It is limited on additional input/output jacks. There is a RF in [cable] and RCA in. That would allow you to run a cable or satellite signal through the receiver, but you would not get S-Video picture or digital sound. However, the receiver does have Dolby Pro-Logic, so you would get a simulated surround sound even though the receiver would not pass a true surround signal. You would have true Dolby 5.1 surround from DVDs and simulated surround [via Pro-Logic] from VCR, cable, satellite, so forth. Since this is not your dream system, that may not matter.

You are not going to get the same audio quality from a HTiB system as you would from a dedicated audio system. That must be accepted as given. HTiB is a compromise between audiophile sound and TV speakers. Whether you will hear the difference or not depends on your current system and how much damage you have done to your ears by this point.

xoxo~
Gaz
Has not reached his dream system, either.

BigMeatballDave
12-04-2004, 01:18 PM
http://www.circuitcity.com/IMAGE/product/enlarged/son/PC.SON.HTV2000DP.CN.JPG $400 at Circuit City.
http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Sony-Home-Theater-System--HT-V2000DP-/sem/rpsm/oid/90865/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do


I have a Sony Home theatre, 575 watts with a seperate Sony DVD player. I also use it for music. Sounds great. I don't use a VCR 'cause VHS is now against my religion...

Gaz
12-04-2004, 01:27 PM
MHM-

Have you looked at the Panasonic SC-HT720 system? It is also at Best Buy and is $50 cheaper. It does not have the integrated VCR, but it does have a powered subwoofer and input jacks for expandability. You can buy a standalone VCR for $60 [you could get one cheaper at Wal-Mart or Sears, but I am just looking at Best Buy] and have basically the same system with a powered subwoofer and room to grow for $10 more.

xoxo~
Gaz
Plans to nickel & dime MHM to death.

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 02:12 PM
Everyone ... thanks a lot for the detailed advice.

I'm starting to dig through Consumer Reports and it appears as though the stand-alone VCR route is the most suggested route.

I don't have issues with that at all... If I'm going to drop $400-$450, I want the sound to kick as much arse as possible and as close to true surround sound as I can get. I did have questions about the ability to connect other units.

I am technically impaired when it comes to these things, so I do thank you guys for helping out.

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 02:31 PM
MHM-

Have you looked at the Panasonic SC-HT720 system? It is also at Best Buy and is $50 cheaper. It does not have the integrated VCR, but it does have a powered subwoofer and input jacks for expandability. You can buy a standalone VCR for $60 [you could get one cheaper at Wal-Mart or Sears, but I am just looking at Best Buy] and have basically the same system with a powered subwoofer and room to grow for $10 more.

xoxo~
Gaz
Plans to nickel & dime MHM to death.



I did see the SC-HT720 at $350 and the HT820 for $399.

I'll have to do a side by side on the difference, the 720 is 800W vs 600W for the 820. I like that setup though, and wouldn't have an issue getting a cheap VCR.

The only reason I have the VCR is to play one of the dozens of movies for the kids. We haven't bought all DVD versions yet.

BigMeatballDave
12-04-2004, 02:34 PM
I am technically impaired when it comes to these things, so I do thank you guys for helping out.Also, if you have a Hi-Def TV, be sure to use Component(blue-red-green) video cables...

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 02:36 PM
Thank BCD ... I do not have an HD TV. We will probably be in this house another 2 years, and we're going to hold off on getting our dream set up until we get the next house.

Rausch
12-04-2004, 02:38 PM
It's really quite suprising how much high-end electronics your local crack dealers have...and CHEAP!

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 04:12 PM
One last idea... what do you guys know about this unit? It is top 2 on Consumer Reports. It's not a combo with VCR, but I think I can deal with that since all the other options appear to rock. $449 @ BestBuy

Thoughts?

http://images.bestbuy.com/BestBuy_US/images/products/6372/6372338_ra.jpg

http://images.bestbuy.com/BestBuy_US/images/products/6372/6372338_ba.jpg

Yamaha 730W 6.1-Ch. Home Theater System with 5-Disc Progressive-Scan DVD/CD/MP3 Player - Silver

Model: YHT-750

Add this scintillating package to your TV for ultimate home theater thrills. Pop 5 discs into the DVD player and crank up the tunes through 6 satellites and a dynamic sub. Loads of surround sound options and ToP-ART technologies make the receiver shine. Find out how Yamaha sets the standard in home theater performance.

Complete package includes 6.1-channel receiver, multiformat 5-disc DVD player, 6 satellite speakers and 130W subwoofer
Progressive-scan video output maximizes DVD picture quality when used with a digital TV or monitor
Multiple 6.1-channel surround sound decoders including Dolby Digital EX, DTS and Yamaha's Cinema DSP.

Total output: 730 watts (receiver: 100W x 6; subwoofer: 130W)

5-disc DVD player plays DVD-Video, DVD+R/+RW, CD, CD-R/RW, VCD, SVCD and MP3-CD formats

Note: Not all DVD+R/+RW discs are compatible with all DVD+R/RW players. Contact the manufacturer for further compatibility information.

Digital ToP-ART (Total Purity Audio Reproduction Technology) incorporates 3 key technologies to produce superior sound quality

HDTV-compatible component video output frequency response range of 5Hz-60MHz ensures compatibility with HDTV monitors and HDTVs

High current amplification receiver uses superior components to achieve current power with low impedance from input to output resulting in superb audio performance

Night Listening Enhancer offers cinema and music modes, ensuring that you won't miss quiet dialogue or lose surround spaciousness during low-volume listening

Other Features
Digital AM/FM tuner with 40 station presets

2-way front satellite speakers feature 2.5" pulp cone woofers and 1/2" balanced dome tweeter in silver gloss finish cabinets

2-way rear satellite speakers feature 2.5" pulp cone woofers and 1/2" balanced dome tweeter in silver gloss finish cabinets

2-way center-channel speaker features dual 2.5" pulp cone woofer and 1/2" balanced dome tweeter in silver gloss finish cabinets

Advanced YST 130-watt dynamic subwoofer features 8" spruce cone driver

High-performance 192kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog conversion for all channels

Subwoofer preamp outputs with 9-band selectable cross-over lets you customize efficiency and performance for the best bass response

2 audio A/V inputs 4 video A/V inputs, 2 component video inputs, component video output, 2 optical digital inputs and coaxial digital input

Miles
12-04-2004, 04:18 PM
He is a really long thread about the Onkyo systems over at the AVSforum. Sounds like its the way to go.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?threadid=385177

You can get the HT-S770 for $399 here.

http://shoponkyo.com/catalog_detail.cfm?id=HT-S770&type=3&p=i&ext_war=0

Mile High Mania
12-04-2004, 04:27 PM
Interesting... I'm just not familiar with that brand. Oddly enough, the HT-S777C by Onkyo is ranked #4 after 2 Yamahas and a Kenwood on Consumer Reports Best list.

Gaz
12-05-2004, 06:27 AM
I would go with Onkyo, Yamaha or Kenwood over Panasonic. I am not dissing Panasonic. I have several components made by Panasonic. But when you are talking audio, I would go with one of the former over the latter.

xoxo~
Gaz
Loves shopping for electronics.

Miles
12-05-2004, 06:36 AM
Onkyo is a really known brand in the audio world so dont let that scare you off. I cant vouch for their speakers but they make some very nice electronics.

Tuckdaddy
12-05-2004, 11:37 AM
Buy for the least amount of money that you can, a new format (HD) is comming out in the next year or two. Your old DVD's will play on the new format but the new DVD's will not play on the old machines.

it sounds great but the speakers are on stands that are not removeable. Very difficult to put on a wall if you wanted to go that way.

RedandGold
12-05-2004, 12:04 PM
He is a really long thread about the Onkyo systems over at the AVSforum. Sounds like its the way to go.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?threadid=385177

You can get the HT-S770 for $399 here.

http://shoponkyo.com/catalog_detail.cfm?id=HT-S770&type=3&p=i&ext_war=0


The $399 system referenced is a factory refurb, but that wouldn't scare me off too badly since you would be buying the system directly from Onkyo. If you're nervous about it, you can still get an extended warranty.

What makes this deal especially nice is that there is no charge for shipping, and Onkyo is throwing in a pair of speaker stands for free. Like I mentioned earlier, you would need stands for the front speakers, and this saves you the expense.

At $399, you can get a separate DVD/VCR combo and still be close to your original budget.

Personally, I don't see how the Onkyo system could be ranked behind the Kenwood and Yamaha systems in Consumer Reports. Each of the Yamaha systems that I looked at had no depth and had an annoying "tinny" sound. The Kenwood system had absolutely no life at all.

Even though the Onkyo receiver in this package doesn't have some of the "whistles and bells" that are found in their higher-end models, it is definitely a better receiver than what you will find in the other HTiB systems in this price range.

Phobia
12-05-2004, 12:06 PM
Does anybody know where to take Onkyo components to be repaired in KC? They don't have a service center within 100 miles of the town.