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634 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 116932 14-May-2013 13:10
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I want a home theater.  Blu-ray, 5.1ch.  Mostly I want to be able to crank 5.1ch from Freeview (when available), from Blu-rays and DVDs.

My question is this: Why do people encourage I buy a Receiver?  As far as I can tell, for most people, the TV can act as the reciever.  I would expect to plug my TiVo, BluRay, Games Device and Laptop all into the TV.  The TV then outputs 5.1ch to the Bluray (presumably).  Ipods etc can be plugged directly into the Blueray.

As far as I can tell I only need the Blueray type system and not the whole Receiver type system?  The best analogy I can come up with is Point and Shoot camera vs DSLR.  Both do the same job, SLR does it better for more money.  Is this right?  I dont need to crank a million watts, I just want to hear even noise all around me.

Any thoughts would be choice!

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 817391 14-May-2013 13:25
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I guess another question is: Can I buy the Blueray player of a home theater package, then sub in my own speakers?  I.e. if I wanted to buy two speakers that fit into the wall for the rear speakers?  Do you have to worry about matching watts etc or is it all good?



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  Reply # 817392 14-May-2013 13:30
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I have both an older A/V receiver (low end Pioneer/Wharfdale combo) setup, and a relatively new (< 1 year) Panasonic BluRay Home Theatre system. You can't even begin to compare the sound output with these systems, with the receiver/speaker combo superior by quite a significant margin.

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  Reply # 817397 14-May-2013 13:40
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I don't really know much about the integrated packages. You should check what inputs you have to the TV and the blu ray player. It will be less flexible.

A receiver is basically a hub and amplifier. I plug my PS3, Raspberry Pi, cable box, Blu Ray, Freeview, etc, into the receiver using HDMI. It amplifies the audio and sends to all my speakers, and routes the correct video signal to the TV. The TV is in effect a dumb display device. If you want to get TV audio back to it you'd have to work out TV outputs and receiver inputs, I don't actually watch TV. I can change speakers whenever I like.

Newer receivers also take a network connection and can stream video across your network and play audio from the internet. They may even be media centre hubs by now, not really sure.

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  Reply # 817443 14-May-2013 14:30
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We have an LG integrated 5.1 BluRay system at home. While the sound quality won't rival a receiver with decent speakers, it does very well for what it is.

It has an optical input on the back so you can have one external digital audio source, and the unit will decode almost anything.

At present, I run a couple of things into the TV, and audio back out from the TV over optical in the LG unit. This works very well, apart from anything that has DTS audio. The TV is capable of decoding Dolby Digital (inc HD etc) fine, and will happily pass the digital signal through to the LG unaltered for it to decode.

DTS audio however it will not. My TV (Sony Bravia) isn't licenced for DTS audio, so it passes nothing through - so basically you get no sound. BluRays are fine for DTS however, because they are played buy the LG directly, and only the Video is then sent to the TV.

Most of my stuff (Inc Xbox) is Dolby anyway, so it's no problem - but I had to set my Plex box to down-mix DTS audio down to PCM stereo, or I get nothing.

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  Reply # 817462 14-May-2013 15:09
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Okay - HTIB (home Theatre In a Box) has its place.
It's cheap.
It's easy to plug in (the cables are normally colour coded).
The speakers are either small satellite units, or very slimline plastic items.

It also has its downsides.
It is not upgradable... or to put it another way, is, what you see is what you'll get forever and a day.
If the speakers fall over and break in 3 years time, it's pretty much a case of throwing it out and starting again.
When a manufacturer builds an optical drive / FM tuner / network port / USB port / iPod dock / 5 speakers etc etc into a unit and charges $500, they have to make some pretty big compromises along the way, these won't always be sonic compromises, but also in ways that will effect the longevity of the unit.

It doesn't sound good... for the reasons below:
The plastic speaker bodies will not only reverberate, they also hold very small magnets / speakers. Compare that to a wooden (MDF / Chipboard) speaker box that is really quite inert and won't colour the sound anywhere near as much, the wooden speakers normally house a full crossover, speaker driver etc.
Despite the MASSIVE power claims (1000 watts plus), the HTIB units are not particularly powerful / capable of high volume playback, or indeed, regular levels of playback without quite a high amount of THD (total harmonic distortion).
The sub is passive - without a built in amplifier, any big explosions are effectively drawing power away from the 5 main speakers, robbing you of dialogue / stereo sound etc.
Limited adjustability (want to turn down the rear speakers... nope, can't do that). Room calibration software is typically poor, and you can't over ride its results in most situations. I actually have friends who have laid their rear speakers on the ground as they find they are too invasive, and they can't adjust them in any way.

Limited flexibility.
You'll need to rely on the plugs on your TV (and they are getting fewer and fewer as time passes on, for instance the top Panasonic plasma coming into NZ for 2013 only has 3 x HDMI (no VGA either).

So yeah, they're cheap, often small and simple to plug in. But that's about it...


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 817500 14-May-2013 16:21
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Cheers both of you. Exactly the info I'm after. So basically, my tv can act as a budget reciever, but I need to check it can output 5.1 to the blueray +speakers, decode what I need, and have enough inputs for my gadgets.

At this stage in my life I think a cheaper 'in a box' is a better solution and plan to get the more expensive kit once I have more $$. I don't expect to need it to be REAL loud just yet either, only have a small house...


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  Reply # 817533 14-May-2013 17:03
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My advice, buy a receiver + 2 stand mount speakers.
Then add to it later on... floor standers for the front, put the stand mounts at the back, add a subwoofer, add a centre speaker etc etc.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 825747 26-May-2013 21:39
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Im not sure what your budget is but if you can stretch to it, then I cant stress enough how good the receiver and speaker seperates are.

I was looking at htib to save some money but so glad I went the other route. it is probably the best money I have spent (I dont earn a lot & am quite tight). Watching films is like being in the cinema.

PS Big powerful expensive speakers doesnt just mean you can crank it up loud, it's the clarity it produces. Sounds amazing on low volume.

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  Reply # 825795 26-May-2013 22:56
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Price is also no indicator of quality with the all in one systems. Plenty of expensive ones that are just aweful, and easily bettered by a cheaper one that is half the price and doesnt say sony on it.


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  Reply # 825799 27-May-2013 00:01
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do u need it? if you're asking - No

do you want it? if you're asking - Yes

can you afford it - only you know

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