Home Theater
December 18, 2003 1:21 PM   Subscribe

i'm thinking of getting someone a home theatre system for xmas. my budget is thin and the Zenith XBS245 DVD-VCR Home Theater System looks like a good deal, but i know absolutely nothing about this stuff. does anyone know if the Zenith system is up to par, or any other affordable suggestions?
posted by poopy to Technology (7 answers total)
 
Avoid combo units like the plague. When the VCR or DVD player busts, you have to toss out the whole thing.
One of those decoder/amp/speaker sets and a cheap DVD player will run you about as much, but allows for a little more expansion and tolerance for failure.
posted by majick at 1:28 PM on December 18, 2003


I have an older RCA home-theater-in-a-box setup that was only $250 at Amazon (since discontinued) and it had great reviews there. Compared to nothing (stock TV speakers), the sound has been great, and although I've had a few audiophile type systems in my college bedroom and car before, the cheap home kits are just fine for most living rooms for playing music and DVDs.

I would look around the $300 range on amazon for those that have decent ratings, since you can't be sure anyone here has owned them.

The one feature you'll want more than anything else is plenty of inputs. Even if there is a bundled DVD player, make sure there are enough inputs for a different DVD player when that one dies, and at least a satellite, CD player, and VCR along with hookups on the front for occasional video games and the like.
posted by mathowie at 2:02 PM on December 18, 2003


I have this JVC system (for which I paid well under Amazon's price), and am very, very pleased with it. Our room is about 18X22 and the sound fills the room very well, and the sub shakes the whole house.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:23 PM on December 18, 2003


I wouldn't avoid combo units so much for the "one thing breaks, throw it out" aspect as the fact that these systems generally skimp on the speakers. If you don't have golden ears, don't worry. If you consider yourself an audiophile in any regard, go for separates.
posted by machaus at 2:40 PM on December 18, 2003


Here's a little story. When I was growing up, my mom used to get us kids electronics for Christmas and birthdays. Not every time, but when she did, she bought the crappiest stuff. Boom boxes from the JC Penny catalog with names I'd never heard of. They broke within a few months, or hobbled along sounding crappy for maybe a year. I know that mom got us this crap because she wanted us to have these things, but didn't think she could afford the better brands.

When I was old enough to buy my own stuff, I bought a Panasonic boom box which is still going strong after 20 years. The moral of the story is invest in quality the first time. You may spend more in the short run, but you're going to spend less overall. Cheap crap costs more than expensive quality.
posted by squirrel at 3:13 PM on December 18, 2003


I have this JVC system (for which I paid well under Amazon's price), and am very, very pleased with it. Our room is about 18X22 and the sound fills the room very well, and the sub shakes the whole house.

I have the exact same system, mr_crash_davis - and I agree completely. I was enormously impressed with the sound for the price I paid for it.

Cheap crap costs more than expensive quality.

I agree. But since my system is still going strong, I would rate it as "cheap quality." You have to agree that there is an awful lot of "expensive crap" out there as well.
posted by bradth27 at 3:46 PM on December 18, 2003


great, thanks. i've looked at the jvc model and that's what i'm going with. jvc has a reliable reputation.
posted by poopy at 8:56 PM on December 18, 2003


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