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Home Theater Newbie-Need Help

12-26-2008, 03:27 PM
"Santa" was good to us this year. We have a new Samsung LN46A650 LCD HDTV. With a new TV, and since deals abounded, we decided this would be a good time to step up to surround sound. Shopping for something that seemed like a good value at a a lower price point, we chose the Boston Acoustics MCS100MDNT 5.1-Channel Speaker System. When I opened the box, I realized that we were going to need something that could handle the inputs from all the speakers. The owner's manual was far from helpful, and I can't seem to find much straight info on the web that doesn't try to convince me I need a $1500+ unit. I thought before I ran out and bought an expensive amplifier box (and I'm not talking anywhere near $1500; that's almost as much as my gorgeous TV cost!), I would ask some questions of those people who surely know more about this subject than I do. Some questions:

-Exactly what do I need to perform the basic function of simply connecting my speakers to my TV?

-What features should I look for when I am shopping for a bargain unit? I know you get what you pay for, but our family is looking for something entry-level and budget-conscious.

-In reading reviews, I noticed references to video quality. Will I have to route my video components (antenna signal and blu-ray in the near future) through this box, and will this degrade the visuals I see on screen with a unit in my price range?

-Is there anything else I should know as a rank newbie? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

12-26-2008, 03:44 PM
As you have 5 speakers and a sub, you need a receiver with those inputs. Receivers, as you know, can run from super cheap to way expensive.

I would suggest that you look on your local craigslist for a 5.1 receiver, Onkyo is always good. They usually can be found for less than $100 as most people want 7.1 now.

As long as the inputs for your speakers and sub are available, and the receiver works, you should be good to go.

You should run all your video cables directly into the tv, so in your case, the receiver will do only audio so don't worry about that other stuff. A receiver which can receive and send HDMI audio and video will be more expensive than you want to spend, and not really necessary for your speakers.

You also need to be feeding your tv a signal which can produce surround sound, like an HD cable box, so you need that too. Your antenna can get a few HD stations (network) and output surround thru the optical of the tv, but if you use anything other than an antenna, like a blu ray (or cable box in the future), you will need to run an optical cable from the blu ray (or cable box) straight to the receiver to get surround.

12-26-2008, 03:54 PM
What is your budget?


2. DENON AVR-589

I would stay clear of SONY receivers. ONKYO, DENON these are two good companies to look into.

If you ever wanted to upgrade to 7.1 you could go with this reciever.