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Looking to build a moderately-priced home entertainment system with a big screen HDTV, a Blue-ray DVD player and surround sound speakers?

Setting Up A Moderately Priced Home Theater
I can't afford top of the line entertainment gear, but I did want a quality system at a decent price. There are lots of ways to set up and enjoy a moderate priced entertainment center. Here's what we did with excellent results.

70-inch Sharp HDTV
Sharp 70-inch HDTVYour home theater system starts with a large High Definition Television (HDTV). Sharp currently makes some of the most affordable giant HDTV's on the market in the 60 to 70-inch sizes. They also make an 80-inch behemoth. I recently purchased a 70" Sharp HDTV on sale in the ballpark of what many other manufacturer's 52" to 60" HDTVs cost. (This is a newer model that replaced the HDTV I purchased).
I used to own a 52" Samsung HDTV which had a great picture --- until my wife lost her grip on the remote control while running to answer the phone. The protective glass panel was unscratched (yea!) while the LCD panel underneath shattered (oops!) and rendered the tv worthless.

Frankly, the picture on the Sharp 70" TV is not as good as the Samsung. I find it is prone to some motion blur when watching NFL Football. (Granted, I am very particular). However, for most shows and especially for movies, a screen that's 81% bigger makes for an awesome experience. This is not a 3D TV. We had no interest in one, but you might enjoy it.

Streaming Netflix movies on the Sharp HDTV is very impressive. Regular DVD and Blue-ray movies are incredible. I've not yet seen any motion blur with any movie played on the DVD. NASCAR also look great on the Sharp HDTV. I do notice some minor periods of pixelation when streaming Netflix via WiFi. Most standard definition TV programming does not look good on any HDTV. Make sure your HDTV is a full 1080p and be sure to subscribe to HD programming with your cable or satellite provider.

Panasonic Blue-ray DVD
Panasonic Blue-ray DVD You can get a great Blue-ray DVD player for under $150. I chose the Panasonic Blue-ray DVD because it was well priced, and had a significant number of positive reviews. It's 3D capable but we don't use that function. It loads quickly and is very easy to set up and use. (This is a newer model that replaced the DVD player I purchased).

Bose Acoustimass 6 Speaker System
Bose Acoustimass 6 Speaker SystemAbout ten years ago I bought the Bose 6-piece surround sound speaker system. I still have it and love it to this day. Don't let the small speakers fool you --- they are full of sound. This speaker system features 3 small front speakers (left, center, and right) and 2 small rear speakers (left and right) and a large bass unit. It's also easy to set up. A 6-piece system is a major improvement over a 1, 2, or 3 speaker system. The big bass is a "must" if you enjoy action movies. Having a pair of rear speakers is pretty neat as you can hear helicopters and planes fly overhead, and hear rain or other environmental effects envelope you in the theater experience.
Yamaha AV Receiver
Yamaha AV ReceiverThe receiver is the nerve center of your home theater. All of your components (TV, DVD, Cable box, Speakers, DVR, VHS) hook up to it. Be sure to buy a receiver with at least 4 HDMI ports, enough speaker cable connections to match your speaker system, an Optical Digital Audio port, and make sure it puts out wattage appropriate to your speaker system and room size. A great feature is its ability to upscale analog video to full 1080p HD. (The HDMI interface upgrades the transmission of standard, enhanced, and high-definition video signals via HDMI for higher-than-ever quality through a single cable). I recently bought my Yamaha 630-watt 7.2 channel Audio-Video Receiver (Model RX-V673). It may still be available but has since been replaced by the Yamaha RX-V675 which delivers 15 additional watts per channel (for a total of 735 watts). There are lower-end models but this receiver possesses what I would consider as the "minimum basic requirements" for building a great home theater system.

Internet Connection
Ideally you can connect your TV or DVD directly to the internet via an Ethernet cable. I didn't have the luxury. I needed to connect to the internet via WiFi. Both my HDTV and DVD have built-in WiFi receivers. (Be sure to buy one with built-on WiFi. Carefull, some say they are internet-ready but require a USB device to actually connect to the internet). Possibly due to my DVD being housed in an entertainment center, I find my TV picked up the better WiFi signal.

If you'd like to learn more about internet ready HDTVs and the why you should consider watching internet content, like Netflix, on your TV check out Connect and Watch Internet Content on Your TV

If you want to get a WiFi signal to a TV or computer in a remote part of your house, check out Expanding Reliable WiFi Internet Access Throughout Your Home. It tells you how a High Power WiFi Repeater can be used to boost and extend the range your WiFi signal through your house.

Cable or Satellite Box
Attach your coaxal cables and connect your box to the AV Receiver via an HDMI cord.

Wiring Your System
You'll need to follow the instructions on your components for proper installation. However, know that most folks can minimize their cables and maximize your enjoyment if you simply utilize HDMI cables an Optical cable.

Important considerations:
BlueRigger HDMI Use HDMI cables for connecting your HDTV, receiver, cable box and DVD player. I've had very good success with both BlueRigger HDMI (left) and Mediabridge HDMI (right) cables. At under $10 for a 6-foot HDMI cord, you don't't need to spend a bundle to get really good cables.

Mediabridge HDMI
I used a Mediabridge- Toslink - Optical Digital Audio Cable (bottom) to transmit the audio signal between my HDTV and Receiver for when we watch Netflix and I couldn't be happier. The TV has good sound, but the Bose speakers sound great. For $8, I now have great sound.
MediaBridge Toslink Optical Digital Cable



Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. The information presented is an opinion intended to assist site visitors on buying a moderately-priced home theater system.

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© 2012 Topher
Updated 2014

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