This guide is for people who would like to enjoy watching movies and playing games in Full HD and Dolby 5.1 without wanting to spend a lot of money on the gear. The setup which we are gonna propose can be bought at one go, or incrementally, depending on your budget.
The guide is divided into steps you need to perform to setup the system. From buying and optimal setup to calibrating and using the system efficiently. This is the first part of the series which focuses on purchasing the gear.
Thanks to drastic reductions in LCD TV pricing over the last year, Full HD TVs are more affordable now than ever. Since we are anyways gonna complement our system with a powerful Home Theater system, what we are looking for is a TV with primarily a good quality screen. We do not care about its speakers.
LG’s 32LG53FR and Samsung’s LA32B530P7R are pretty good options here. The Samsung one will be unnecessarily expensive, so buy it only if you are too conscious about the brand. Sony is not recommended for the same reason. But its basically upto you and what your budget can afford.
The above two models should be available under INR 40k. Try to buy them during festive seasons. I have seen (and bought) the LG 32LG53FR for INR 35k during the Republic Day sale at Home Town (eZone).
Sound plays a critical role in the overall home theater experience. However, good quality speakers don’t just do the trick. You need to place them properly and calibrate them according to your room and seating position to be in the acoustic sweet spot. This will be explained in later parts.
Onkyo’s HT-S3100 and Sony’s DAV-DZ570 are good choices here. Note that component systems (the ones like the Onkyo above) are always better than all in ones (ones with the DVD player in built, like the Sony one above), as they offer greater flexibility and are generally more powerful. However, some people dig the looks of all in ones and can go for them.
While Sony’s prices are usually fixed, you can get good deals on Onkyo products during festive seasons. The HT-S3100 has went down to as much as INR 16k during promotional schemes. Although it might be too high compared to its US price, it is pretty damn cheap compared to its usual INR 22k price in India.
A notable option here is the Logitech Z5500 Digital speaker system. This is a beloved gaming speaker system in the market which packs a lot of punch. It’s THX certified, so expect the purest sound output. However, input options are limited when compared to other component Home Theater Systems. See it for yourself:
Xbox 360 and the PS3 are the only two worthy choices here. While Nintendo Wii is a great gaming console, I see it as a gadget which should be bought in addition to at least one of the above two.
While PS3 offers a Blu Ray drive, DTS decoding and in built WiFi, the Xbox 360 boasts of some great titles, downloadable content (DLC) and awesome after sales service.
The Xbox 360 Arcade retails for INR 17k in India. The price of the last gen PS3 shown above has been reduced to INR 20k after the launch of the PS3 slim which retails for INR 24k announcement of PS3 slim which will retail for INR 24k.
Although the above gear will have the basic stuff you will need to set them up, it will be a good idea to buy the following cables and accessories to take your experience to the next level:
As stated above, you can buy these components in one go, or incrementally, depending on your budget. The next part in the series will tell you how to setup these components for optimal use.
(HT Setup Image courtesy Trek5200)
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