New Theater System

As mentioned in a previous post, I have replaced most of the components in my home theater system. I had set up the current system about 4 years ago when we moved into our current house in Arizona. HDTV was still relatively new and some wanted features weren’t available then. Some of these features were true HDMI, 1080p native and hi-definition DVDs.

There really wasn’t anything wrong with the current system and I hope I can recoup a few dollars in the sale of it. I have already had one guy come by and look at the HDTV. I should hear back from him in a day or two. The HDTV was a CRT projection set. It is still has most likely the best black color representation and essentially infinite contrast ratio. However, the unit is simply big. It is 26 inches deep and has totally useless speakers covering the bottom third of the set. I decided to go more slim on the TV.

I don’t like plasma or LCD displays as their blacks and whites are too washed out. To me, fast motion on them also causes artifacts. Thus, I decided to go with a DLP projection HDTV. Some folks have reported seeing color wheels on the sets if they turn their heads very fast while viewing. First, not sure why you would do that and second, I don’t have that issue. The new set is only 14 inches deep and and is 1080p with HDMI. It is a 61″ Samsung model. I am still playing around with doing a color calibration on the set, but am thus far very satisfied.

I replaced my Denon A/V Receiver with a Yamaha A/V Receiver that is HDMI compliant and can do input switching and upconversion. Both receivers were 7.1 surround sound receivers. Yamaha is well known for the DSP sound field programs, but I am not sure how much I will use them as I prefer to use the encoded sound directly off the DVDs. I much prefer DTS to Dolby though.

I also added a Samsung Blu-Ray player to my setup. The Blu-Ray replaces my Pioneer Elite DVD player. I am still not sure that I don’t technically prefer the HD-DVD format to Blu-Ray, but clearly the most source data is available in Blu-Ray, so I went that direction. The 1080p resolution coming off of the discs is absolutely stunning. There is a noticeable although not great difference between the 1080i and 1080p formats. Hopefully, it won’t be years before more source material (ie Satellite) will be available in 1080p. It is really hard for me to watch standard definition TV after having HDTV for years. It is likely that the 1080 Blu-Ray will due the same to 480p and upconverted DVDs.

The last, new component was the DirecTV HD DVR. We have long used Tivo, but it was always standard def. Suzanne and the kids have been using the Tivo up until now, but I have pretty much ignored it since I find it hard to watch standard def TV. With this new hi def recorder, I can again watch some shows of interest that I may have missed. The record quality is very good. It also has two tuners which allows us to record two programs or watch one while recording another. Technically, that’s not a new feature, but it’s new for us and has already come in handy.

The components in my system that I did not replace were my power conditioning unit, the battery backup (can’t lose my xbox 360 games or in progress DVR stuff), my Xbox 360, Suzanne’s karaoke system and my 7.1 speaker system.

This new theater system is really awesome. Folks need to stop on by and check out the future with hi-definition movies!


  1. Sounds like a very nice setup! Last year I purchased a 55″ Sony Grand WEGA Rear Projection LCD. It continues to be a great system. I haven’t noticed any of the drawbacks you mentioned, but maybe I am not enough of a videophile to pick up on it…

    Have you noticed any drawbacks in the DVR user interface over TIVO? I am using a Scientific Atlanta Cable HD box and it is a definite step down from TIVO…..looking at buying the new, more affordable TIVO HD box that just came out (or go back to DirecTV and my DirecTIVO HD Receiver).

  2. No issues with the user interface thus far… I must admit some of the menus were a bit more hidden, but once they were found the first time, straight forward enough to get back to them… it host most of the other features like season passes, searches, to do list, etc…

  3. Well, I took the plunge and bought the HD TIVO box today….I get the Cablecards installed by Comcast on Friday (for digital signal/HD). Good to have TIVO back again!

  4. sounds good…

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