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Home Theater “In a Box”

Typically the HT Guys are not big fans of Home Theater in a Box (HTIB) systems but for today’s show we are making an exception. But these are not your typical HTIB systems. We decided to create two “Special” (Air Quotes required) HTIB systems. Actually, these systems come in many boxes and the components don’t even come from the same manufacturer.

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  • For those in the Adelaide, Australia area, Tony O’Brien is the guys to see for all your video calibration needs.  He is ISF certified.  www.claritycalibration.com.au

Home Theater “In a Box”

Typically the HT Guys are not big fans of Home Theater in a Box (HTIB) systems but for today’s show we are making an exception. But these are not your typical HTIB systems. We decided to create two “Special” (Air Quotes required) HTIB systems. Actually, these systems come in many boxes and the components don’t even come from the same manufacturer.

System One Less than $5,000

From our recent HDTV Buyers guide we are including the Samsung LN46C650 46-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV.  You keep all the great features that put the set on our list last year: fantastic picture, Red Touch of Color, 120Hz, DLNA and HDMI-CEC.  But this model also adds Internet widgets for access to BLOCKBUSTER, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Amazon Video On Demand and more.  And the price has come down to $999.

Also from a recent buyers guide we are recommending the Yamaha RX-V867BL 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver (Street Price $800) Priced in the mid-range but the 867 has a feature set that’s comparable to many high end units. The 867 not ony has 6 HDMI inputs but it also has two (simultaneous) HDMI outputs. So if you want to have multiple TVs connected to the receiver you can create a sports bar environment in your own home. The Yamaha RX-V867 supports 3D, Audio Return Channel next generation audio and a slew of other great features. The 867 is a great option for those with a slightly bigger budget.

For the Blu Ray player we are going with the OPPO BDP-93. Priced high ($499) for a Blu Ray by today’s standards but its one of the best Blu Ray players on the market today.  This player is not yet released but will be soon. Features include, Ethernet/wireless networking, DVD audio and video are supported, and it’ll play Super Audio CD (SACD) in stereo or multi-channel, USB/eSATA connectivity with support for DVD, audio CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, AVCHD, MP4, DivX, MKV, FLAC, WAV and other audio/video/picture files on recorded discs. Finally, there is support for Netflix and Blockbuster on demand.

For the speakers we are recommending the Intimus 5B Harmony SD ($1750). Its a 5.1 system that includes the 5B bookshelf speakers combined with the 5C vertical array center to provide the all-encompassing sound, and together with the massive rumble of the Bravus 8D subwoofer. Ara has Aperion speakers in his media room and he is a big advocate of the line.

Total cost for the components is $4050. Incidentally Ara and Braden’s first HDTVs, which are still in use today, were purchased for roughly the same price!

System Two Less than $10,000

Panasonic TC-P65VT25 65-inch 3D Ready 1080p VIERA Plasma HDTV.   It’s 3D ready, so you’re all set for the future.  When you consider that the Panasonic 65” plasmas cost around $18,000 when they first came out a few years ago, $4500 is a steal.

Denon AVR-3311CI 7.2 Channel Network Home Theater Receiver (Street Price $1200)
We are big fans of Denon products and the 3311CI is a real powerhouse that we highly recommend! The 3311CI supports Audyssey DSX surround processing, Audessey MultEQ automatic room acoustic measuring and correction system. Support for next generation audio, 3D and Anchor Bay ABT-2015 upconversion and deinterlacing are included. At 125 watts per channel the 3311 will fill almost any room with high quality audio!

For the Blu Ray player we are going with the same model as our less than $5000 system the OPPO BDP-93.

For this system we are pairing the receiver with the Klipsch Icon WF-35 Home Theater System. This is a 5.1 system but we are adding two more surrounds to make it a 7.1 system. The speakers go for for $4 less than the TV ($4496) but its well worth it. We are fans of Klipsch technology. We both have them in our homes. Throw in a furniture-grade design that your spouse would be happy showing off, the Icon W Series is worthy of finding a place in our top of the line HTIB system.

Total cost for the entire system is $10,696. So we went over budget. You can always just go for a 5.1 system.