© 2008 Jeffrey Jacobowitz


What You Need.


Multi-Channel Sound.

What to Buy.

Where to Buy.

Hook It Up.

Now that you know what components you need, next comes the part where you have to choose what model to buy.  The choices are overwhelming and the information gleaned from sales people skewed.  There is no need to fret; the Internet is filled with many unbiased opinions from well informed individuals.  I’ll point you to the right websites to read if you wish to research your purchase in detail.  I’ll also tell you how to buy what you like, while at the same time knowing that you bought a quality product at a fair price.  Just finish reading this page.


First, determine your budget so you can concentrate your search to a particular price range.  If you can’t afford to buy everything at once, you can buy in pieces.  Start with the HDTV, later add an AV receiver and front speakers, and then add the sub-woofer and rear speakers.



To find the best products available, the best place to start are the recommendations from the industries’ leading magazines.  Their professional reviewers spend time testing just about every piece of equipment in the marketplace.  Their evaluations include lab measurements along with serious viewing and listening.  


I’m not suggesting you buy the products they recommend.  Use them to benchmark the products that are attractive to you.  This way you know how what you like compares to the best in its class.  Many times the differences between the recommended product and second or third place are minute and can be easily trumped by your personal preferences.  Buy what you like, but compare to be sure.  And yes, aesthetics do count.


Recommended Products Lists



Electronic House

Home Theater Magazine

Sound and Vision

Ultimate AV


To get a point of view from the general public read the AV Science Forum.


Top Brands

LCD HDTV; Samsung, Sharp, Sony, VIZIO


Plasma HDTV; Pioneer, Panasonic


AV Receiver; Denon, Lexicon, Marantz, NAD, Onkyo, Rotel


Speakers; Atlantic Technology, Definitive Technology, HSU Research, Infinity, Klipsch, Monitor Audio, Paradigm, PSB, SVS, RBH, Revel, Thiel, Velodyne



For screen sizes 42” and over, only buy a 1080p TV.  Bright rooms are not good for Plasma.  Trust reviews over store comparisons.  Prices will continue to drop, but not as quickly.  Features such as 3:2 pull down (for DVD’s and movies) and 120 Hz (for sports) need to be manually enabled and only provide a small improvement.  Turn down the brightness after you first turn on your HDTV, it is purposely set way too high.  Set the color temperature to Warm.  Adjust the color to your liking.  


Multi-Channel Sound Tips

Lower means better for watts per channel for similar priced receivers.  Matched speakers are a must!  Most receivers come with a microphone and set themselves up automatically.  If you don’t have the room or desire for a multi-channel speaker system, consider a sound bar.  Many speakers must be at least 2’ from any wall to sound best.



Total Budget












AV Receiver












Where to Buy.