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Please help my ghetto Home Theater

Old 09-02-02, 11:46 PM
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Please help my ghetto Home Theater

I know I'm going to hear it for this post but I could really use everyones help here. My Uncle's birthday is coming up soon and the family has put me in charge of replacing his VCR. I would like very much to go well beyond this and get him into a VERY affordable home theater. By this I mean DIRT CHEAP. Are there any cheap ht in a box that won't fall apart right away? Every now and then I'll go over there for a movie night and it is brutal watching a 20 year old VCR with miserable sound. He will be very appreciative for any help you might be able to offer. To give you some idea of what I am looking at now:

Panasonic VCR (best Buy circular) $59.99

AND

Oritron HT in a box (Best Buy) $169.99
AOL was offering a Mintek one for the same price
(I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT OTHER LESSER EXPENSIVE MODELS AS THESE ARE PROBABLY NOT CUTTING IT)

OR

Mintek DVD ($50-Best Buy)
& Miserable Receiver (to go with the rest of this miserable equipment) Like KLH $140-Best Buy

...But then there are no speakers. I'd throw in another $50 or so but it really isn't going to help and I'd STILL be spending a lot of money.

I can't figure out a way to make this work even WITH this lousy stuff.

Anyone??
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Old 09-02-02, 11:56 PM
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about the cheapest HTIB I can think of that I would consider buying is a Magnavox at Circuit City for about $250. (I think its a MRD20037 model) has a 75 watt powered sub, but only 175 total watts. There are several choices at CC and BB once you get to $300 and above. My advice....get a stereo vcr and save up for a decent system. The old addage is true, ou get what you pay for. Just don't expect Movie Cinema sound froma $150 set. Good Luck!
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Old 09-03-02, 12:10 AM
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I'd wait man, save up some money and get some good equipment. Those HTIB jobs sound exactly like they're priced...cheap. Just go slow with this, start off with a pair of speakers with that cash and an old recycled stereo receiver (flea market), and when you can upgrade from there. Keep your eyes open on the used markets for older receivers and speakers that still sound good. I use www.audiogon.com for all my audio shopping and I've never been screwed.

Also, if you let me konw which route you're going to go I can help you further as far as speaker choices and that crap. I spend a lot of time with speakers and may even be able to get you a deal on some stuff.
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Old 09-04-02, 10:22 AM
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Thanks for the input. I knew I was going to get grilled. This stuff really isn't for me. I have an adequate HT set up for myself (even by DVDTalk standards). This is for my uncle that will literally be in awe of a $300 set up and incredibly greatful for finally getting a DVD player. I am quite aware that you really can't get much out of $300, I am just trying to do the best I can for that much. I was looking at the Magnavox at CC and the 400 watt Koss C-928 at BestBuy. The Koss is $300 at Amazon, but the Magnavox actually seems to have decent feedback which is scarce at this price point.

I am thankful for your input but really audigon is not the kind of shopping I'm looking to do here. I have looked around there myself; this time around I'm looking to spend considerably less. Its no wonder you go by PoorBoy, that stuff is EXPENSIVE.
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Old 09-04-02, 10:47 AM
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With the budget you are looking at I would just recommend getting him a good DVD player and maybe a replacement VHS player as well. This should provide him with alot more enjoyment then an offbrand DVD player which may notplay certain discs.

Those cheap all in one solutions will usually just leave you wanting, and cause you to upgrade very quickly down the road if they do not crap out first.

J
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Old 09-04-02, 11:58 AM
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I would look at the UBid auctions. I've seen HTIB w/DVD go for around $250-300 recently. And they don't look half bad.
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Old 09-04-02, 12:47 PM
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Perhaps the thing to do is to get him a cheap dvd player, a cheap vcr, and going to a garage sale to get a fair stereo and speakers. He will be impressed just with stereo, so 5.1 isn't such a necessity. You can find stereo's for like 10 bucks. Hell, I even have one or two just lying around from upgrades.

--Kris
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Old 09-04-02, 03:11 PM
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Originally posted by Master J
Those cheap all in one solutions will usually just leave you wanting, and cause you to upgrade very quickly down the road if they do not crap out first.

J
I don't know. Depending on what you start with such a cheap all in one solution might be the way to start, assuming that upgrades are possible with what you get.

Someone starting with a VHS and sound coming from a single TV speaker would probably be pretty impressed with a cheap bottom of the line HTIB.

Then, he can upgrade his speakers. Then upgrade the receiver. Then, hey... you know with those speakers and receiver, you should really get a DTS DVD player... You know that DVD player you have is progressive... time to look into an HDTV.

Also, in my opinion, some people simply do not like the full home theater experience right away. People who are used to sound from a small speaker in the TV will find themselves riding the volume between low dialogue and explosions.

Then again, my sound system is pretty crappy itself, so take this advice with that grain of salt.
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Old 09-04-02, 05:19 PM
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I appreciate all the input here. This is really how I built my home theater: one piece at a time when I could afford it. I've even been in this forum yelling at people to do the same thing; but this is a different case. I really don't think my uncle would even know how to use a nice home theater and given his living situation (apartment living) I think it would be best to get him into HT with basics. In the end what I am REALLY LOOKING FOR is a way to find out which of the CHEAP htib are the least objectionable. Is there any consumer report like service to tell me if one of these is a little less crappy than the next?
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Old 09-04-02, 07:03 PM
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Your uncle has a 20 year old VCR.

Do you know how much even a low end HTIB will rock his world?
No dissing on your uncle, but if he's had that VCR for 20 years, quality isn't his prime interest and an HTIB will do fine.

For those of you/us out there who will fight for OAR till we die, nothing less that DD/DTS-EX 5.1/6.1/7.1 or the best out will do.
I say go for cheap HTIB and he'll be blown away, you will know that its lacking....but he won't.

I know because my Dolby Surround on my RF modulated 25" TV rocked my world when I got it. And if he ever does decided to upgrade (quicker than 20 years down the line), its not like he'd be parting with really expensive stuff.

Last edited by clemente; 09-04-02 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 09-04-02, 07:27 PM
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Thanks Clemente!

Finally someone is grasping what I am looking to do. Now if someone could point me to a place I can find out which of these systems are the least lacking I will be very grateful.

Chris
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Old 09-04-02, 08:01 PM
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There are some good HTIB's with dvd.

I would look at the Pioneer HTD-510. Its been replaced so you may find some good deals and it has wood 2-way speakers which are rare in HTIB's.
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Old 09-04-02, 09:46 PM
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The Pioneer is really what I would like to do. The 520 is at Crazy Eddie's for less than the 510 and is right over my limit. Throw in $70 for shipping and I'm way over where I want to go. Good input though.
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Old 09-05-02, 03:16 AM
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This might be something to consider:

http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2....&PROD_ID=51269

I know nothing about the quality though. Perhaps others can comment.
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Old 09-06-02, 06:05 PM
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Originally posted by wildcatkid
Thanks Clemente!

Finally someone is grasping what I am looking to do. Now if someone could point me to a place I can find out which of these systems are the least lacking I will be very grateful.

Chris
I'd also suggest as an alternative some PC speaker setups. There are even a few that are THX certified. The nice thing about them is that they are self-powered so no extra component.

Recently buy.com had a 4 speaker+subwoofer Altec Lansing set for $59. The sound was surprisingly good.
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Old 09-06-02, 07:14 PM
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Search for the 510. They must be on blow out somewhere. I dont have time to seach but this system was a huge hit for Pioneer.
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Old 09-07-02, 08:33 AM
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How did he get a VCR to last 20 years?
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Old 09-07-02, 01:50 PM
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http://www.bestbuy.com/detail.asp?e=...=1552&scat=242

$349(available at amazon for the same price- use the $10 coupon and also free shipping and no sales tax) may be a bit higher than you want. I do trust the brand for dvd players. and it should be better than anything he has now

by the way have him keep his vcr. why waste any money on one if his works still.

any of the cheap ones with dvd player included can do the job. however the dvd player will likely not play some dvd's correctly.

if you want one of the ones you listed. magnavox at least has a name I have heard of




actually I looked at the magnavox online and if it is this one Magnavox Home Theater System (MRD20037) it seems like a decent deal. I would get this one

Last edited by gcribbs; 09-07-02 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 09-08-02, 04:24 PM
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The problem I have with this system and many like it is that it uses 2x3 full range drivers. These are the same as you get in a cheap tv or computer speaker. For the most part they are pretty bad. We have yet to measure one that is any good. Look for HTIB that has a two way design you will notice the difference. There are some out there.

Still this would be better then no surround and its a great price so just check your budget.
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Old 09-08-02, 07:57 PM
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Originally posted by bfrank
The problem I have with this system and many like it is that it uses 2x3 full range drivers. These are the same as you get in a cheap tv or computer speaker. For the most part they are pretty bad. We have yet to measure one that is any good. Look for HTIB that has a two way design you will notice the difference. There are some out there.

Still this would be better then no surround and its a great price so just check your budget.
he placed a limit on money

I mean if I knew $500 or so was ok then I would have picked even better ones however with the choices he picked it seemed like even $349 was too high. I felt i was pushing it at that amount.

That is why I looked again at the magnavox and decided that if that was the price range then it was an ok choice.
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