Best Home Cinema System for £500


Standard Member
Hi all,

Having recently got my own place I have spent the last month trying to work out which TV set up I should go for in my living room. I have been through most of the longer threads on the forum and have decided on getting a Panny 42PZ85B and PS3 (for both gaming and bluray reasons). I also have Sky+ which I want to run through the system (as well as a Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360).

I have struggled however to decide on a decent receiver and speaker package to add to this set up. Ideally I would like a 5.1 system but the rear speakers would need to be wireless (as I don't want to run wires around the room or be drilling any more holes in the walls!)

With this in mind, a couple of the systems I have considered are:

1) Panny SC-BT100
2) Onkyo 606 (but I have no idea which (wireless) speakers to add to this)
3) Denon DHT-FS3 Home Cinema System (not 5.1 I know but seemed to get reasonable reviews)

My budget is around the £500-600 mark so if anyone thinks there is a better setup out there for this money your thoughts would be really useful!

Thanks very much in advance!


Distinguished Member
My opinion of your choice

1) Panny SC-BT100
All-in-one = convinence, but next to no connectivity, not upgradable and has wireless speakers (negative). One bit breaks it is throw it all away time.
2) Onkyo 606
Upgradable, lots of connectivity, excellent quality.
3) Denon DHT-FS3 Home Cinema System
Soundbar system, yet to see/hear one that actually gives a good surround sound.

Wireless speakers = power lead needed and cable between the rear speakers, so do yourself a BIG favour go the that extra mile and wire out a 5.1 system, if you add these to the Onkyo the other two systems would not even come close in quality.
Look at micro trunking to hide wires, it really is that simple. Lots of sizes/colours available


Standard Member
Thanks for the advice, Andy.

I think I am being swayed towards the 5.1 system with wired rear speakers - a bit of a newbie question but presumably the Onkyo SR606 is ok to use with a 5.1 setup even though it is a 7.1 system?

One other question I had on the Onkyo was that I would ideally like to run my Ipod (Classic) through the system and have heard that the Onkyo ipod dock does not support the latest ipod and that it has a horrible looking OSD - are there any other decent ipod docks which would work with the 606 and still produce decent sound quality etc.?

Also, took a look at the Q Acoustics 1010 speakers you suggested and they look good for the price. I wanted to get people's thoughts on whether it was worth the extra money to get the newer 1010i's instead though? Or are there other speaker packages that would work better than Q acoutics if I am splashing more cash?

On the subject of speakers, another newbie question I'm afraid, but I will want to have the speakers on some form of stand rather than wallmounted and have seen "floorstanding" speakers and wondered if anyone might be able to explain whether these are better/more appropriate for front/rear speakers and whether I should be looking at those rather than just speaker stands?

Thanks again to all!


Distinguished Member
I thought that only Apple ipod docks or those with "made for ipod" or something similar were compatible with the 6th gen ipods inc. Classic and touch. Check the ipod forum though as I'm not too sure.

Technically you don't need all the features e.g. onboard HD audio decoding as the PS3 outputs HD audio as LPCM, not bitstream therefore the decoding is done internally. You could get away with the 576, Denon 1908, Marantz SR4002, Yamaha 761 and Sony 910.

On your budget, I would forget floorstanders. If you buy bookshelf speakers at the same price as floorstanders, you'll get better speakers. Obviously you have to add the price of stands to the cost of the speakers but that Q-Acoustics deal is pretty darn good. Any floorstanders you buy would be a compromise unless you up your budget to accomodate them. Another good buy, if you can still find them is the Quad L-ites but they're only available in certain finishes now as they're being replaced. If you have a larger room and listen to a lot of music, floorstanders are worth considering though.


Standard Member
Thanks Dave - Seems you're right on the ipod dock front - the forum responses suggest that the video output won't work due to some chip set in the ipod itself. Presumably, i could still use an apple dock but does this mean I will lose sound quality and OSD functionality too?

Having shortlisted the onkyo sr-606 (after about a month of research!) I'm not sure that I want to start going back and considering other receivers - unless any of the ones you listed are of comparable quality. At the end of the day my budget is 600ish but I could always move up a little to get the right package - I just don't want to be shelling out silly money.

On the speaker front, my room is around 6 metres by 5 metres. I would ideally like to use the system for music as well so would like it to have enough power to fill the room. However, I don't think I need anything too powerful. On a room this size what would people recommend? I have taken a look on some websites and see the bookshelf 1010i's for £89 a pair and the 1030i at £189 - I guess the two questions are (1) are the 1030i's any good? and (2) if so, is it worth paying the extra 100 quid to get them?



Standard Member

I have a further concern too - I have read that sky+ can't be upscaled very well through the Onkyo 606 - is this right? If so what does this mean? If I put the sky+ direct intot the TV will the panny perform just as well at upscaling?

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