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#122941 - 01/03/06 06:28 PM Question from the Technologically Challenged
Skimble Offline

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 24
Sorry in advance if this is a long post. Never actually posted on a bulletin board before!

I just ordered my speakers from Axiom yesterday and am quite excited. Here's what I ordered:

EP350 Subwoofer
VP150 Center
M60ti Towers
QS8 Surrounds

I already own a 50" Panasonic Plasma (50PX50U), and I'm looking for a receiver and DVD to connect to this. Already have a Comcast HD cable box.

I am, as the subject suggests, challenged when it comes to technology. I've been trying to figure all of this out (read the AVS Forum a bit, but it's often hard to understand and what I understand I usually forget), but I am really not confident on the receiver and DVD player. Any suggestions for this configuration would be much appreciated. This will be in my basement--the room is about 750 square feet. Hoping to stay in the $700-$800 range total for the receiver and DVD player, though that is flexible up if it would be worthwhile (also, always happy to save a buck if I can do it cheaper). I am hardly an audiophile or videophile, but enjoy watching movies and sports, and obviously would like that to be as enjoyable as possible. Would like the receiver to be "IPOD compatible" if possible, as I may stick a pool table in the basement, and it'd be nice to listen to music if I do so.

Also, I have a question about HDMI. My TV has only one HDMI input, and I understand there may be some compatibility issues between the cable box and the Panny. Is the HDMI worth worrying about, or should I stick with component cables? If HDMI is worth it, do I run everything through the receiver (cable box and DVD if it has HDMI or HVI outputs) and then to the TV? If so, my initial research indicates that receivers with the ability to do that can run a couple of bucks.

Thanks very much in advance for any help you can provide.

#122942 - 01/03/06 08:16 PM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
tomtuttle Offline

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma

I can't believe nobody smart is responding. I'm not sure I can help, but you certainly deserve the courtesy of a reply.

First, I think you'll love your new Axiom system. I have a very similar setup, and I remain thrilled.

I don't know much about the iPod, but my understanding is that you have many options to connect one to virtually any receiver. I think you can use the iPod Universal Dock, but podophiles will certainly offer technical advisories or other strategies.

If I were spending that amount on those two components, I'd consider a ~$500 HK receiver like the 435 or 635. You might be able to find better prices elsewhere, but the company store is a decent place to shop. I would not be at all concerned about factory refurbs. I'd look to either a budget Denon or the Oppo Digital for DVD's. I believe Oppo supplies a DVI-to-HDMI cable. My understanding is that the Oppo performs MUCH better using the DVI rather than the component outputs.

Which does leave us with the problem of your HD cable box. Others with greater expertise will probably chime in here, but I did notice that your luscious TV is cable-card capable. Perhaps you could check to see if Comcast can get you HD signals through a card instead of a box.

The other thing you might consider is a nice universal remote control with macro capabilities. It sure simplified my life (and made my wife happy). Do a forum search for the $159 MX-700 or for Harmony and browse the collective opinions here.
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

#122943 - 01/03/06 08:17 PM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
Ajax Offline

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6331
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
EDIT: OH SHOOT, Tom. If you want somebody SMART to respond, I'd better delete this.

OK, working backward. HDMI. In my opinion, using the HDMI ins and outs does deliver an improved picture. Not enormously better, but worth the effort. If your cable box and your DVD player each have an HDMI output, and your TV has only one input, you're going to need a switch. Now, as you know, you could get a receiver that has HDMI ins and out and do the switching in your receiver, or you could get a separate HDMI switch like that reasonably priced model from As you can see that is a new switch, not due out until January 11, so it's quality is an unknown. There are more expensive HDMI Switches, but at a price 40% of the Gefen's, I'd be willing to take a chance on the Monoprice model. I don't know for a fact, but I suspect you could get a full featured receiver and the HDMI switch for less than the HDMI switching receivers currently available. But, that would be up to you.

There is an advantage to having the switching done in the receiver. If you're using an external switch, when you change inputs on your receiver, you also have to change the input on the switch. If the switching is done in your receiver, you only have to change the input in the receiver. If you don't mind pushing a few extra buttons or have a universal remote that handles macros, this is not a big problem.

An alternative to switching is to connect either your DVD player or your cable box via component. There are conflicting opinions concerning which should use the HDMI input on your TV. Mine is that you should connect the cable box via HDMI, and the DVD via component to take advantage of the Hi Def picture from cable. Others feel the opposite. If the budget wouldn't allow for switching, this method is certainly viable, and you wouldn't be losing a lot.

Can't help you on the IPOD thing. You are "technologically challenged;" I am "IPOD challenged."

Buying a DVD player is little dicey right now. The Hi Def players (Blu Ray and HD-DVD) are just around the corner, but will, at least initially, be very expensive. So, if I were buying now, I'd be looking at something not too expensive that would tide me over until the Hi Def players come down to my budget ( in my case, that could be about 2020 )

A worthy player to consider, among others, is the OPPO OPDV971H. It received the highest score ever on the Secrets of Home Theater and HiFi benchmark tests for video quality. It scored a 98, which was 2 points higher than the $3500 Denon DVD-5910. Customer service has been exemplary and it costs only $200.

EDIT: Tom is absolutely correct, don't get the Oppo unless you will be using it's DVI output with the supplied DVI to HDMI cable, or one like it. This would require either a switch, or connecting the Oppo to your TV's HDMI input, and your cable box to a component input.

If you are looking for a universal player (one that plays SACDs and DVD-As as well as DVDs and CDs) I'd look at a refurbished Denon DVD1920 from at $224 plus shipping. However, they are, at the moment, out of stock. You can find a factory fresh model elsewhere for around $300 to $350.

Receivers. Too many to name. If you get a $200 DVD player, then look for a receiver in the $500 to $600 range by Denon, Harman Kardon, Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo, etc., that has the features in which you are interested. That will keep you within your budget, and you'll find any number of capable receivers in that price range.

Good hunting.

Edited by Ajax (01/03/06 08:23 PM)

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

#122944 - 01/03/06 08:53 PM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
dakkon Offline

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1863
MAN, there are 2 PERFECT products for your needs/wants. accept for the budget.......

I’m gona give you the information anyway, and tell you why I think you should buy these products, and you can take it for what its worth.

Ok.. DVD player.. DENON 2910

now, this DVD player, will blow your whole budget, for just the DVD player. On demons website they say 739$ but you can get it for about 600$ when I buy another dvd player this will be the one that I will buy.. the reason being is this product will produce the “Best” picture that you can get.. it has a fudori chipset in it.. in lamons terms, it has a chip in it that makes the video look badd ass, and is the best chip on the market at doing this.

Ok, now that I’ve already blown your budget, well just keep going…

the 4306, you can get it for about 1k, and you can connect your ipod directly into the receiver…

so your orignal 700$ budget.. well add about 1000$ on to that, and you have the perfect products.. also denon+denon you can get the denon link or what ever they call it, so 1 wire, you get both products working great together..

anyhow, others will probably give you some information that will be more closely to your stated budget.. good luck with your decision.. enjoy your new speakers. And TV

Edited by dakkon (01/03/06 08:57 PM)

#122945 - 01/03/06 09:01 PM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10623
SK, welcome. You really shouldn't be feeling a lack of confidence regarding the receiver and player, because if you spend say $500 on the receiver and $200 on the player you really can't go wrong. Receivers and players in those price ranges have reached a level of excellence in general performance and a decision between those available should be made on the basis of the features that you want. The receivers mentioned by Tom and Jack in that price range, e.g. HK, Denon, Yamaha, etc. would all be suitable and the choice between them shouldn't be a matter of great concern. Likewise for the player, but I'll specifically suggest that you don't overlook the convenience of a megachanger, such as the 400 disc Sony models, especially if you have a large CD collection.

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.

#122946 - 01/03/06 09:21 PM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
dakkon Offline

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1863
i have a sony mega changer, a 400disk dvd player, you can get them at circuit city, for about 400$ and the new megachanger has HDMI output.

#122947 - 01/03/06 09:36 PM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
I can't speak to the DVD player, but the H/K 340+H/K Bridge is very iPod friendly; and about $1000 cheaper than the Denon referenced above.
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

#122948 - 01/04/06 01:28 AM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
LightninJoe Offline

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 558
Loc: Portland, OR
As Tom said the iPod Universal Dock is a good way to go. Not overly expensive and it has a line level output to hook up to your receiver. You would just need one of these to connect the dock to your receiver.
"That's some catch, that Catch-22." "It's the best there is." M22ti VP150 EP350 QS8 M3Ti

#122949 - 01/04/06 09:07 AM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
Skimble Offline

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 24
Thanks everybody for the great information--and written so I actually understand it! I'll read it more closely and probably will have a few follow-up questions to bother you all with.

Thanks again!

Edited by Skimble (01/04/06 09:11 AM)

#122950 - 01/04/06 11:57 AM Re: Question from the Technologically Challenged
danmagicman7 Offline

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 1467
For the iPod capability, I would go with a Harmon Kardon (Forum people call it HK) like Tom requested.

M22s|VP100|QS4s|HSU STF2

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