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Help please, trying to set up for first time!



I have recently bought a top of the range 42in pioneer plasma and would like to put surround sound system in too, so I will get the most from my TV and movie watching.

I didn't even know about recievers etc for surround sound so that gives you a clue how much of a novice I am!

I want to buy a reciever/amp (whats the difference?) and then some speakers to go with it. I have read some reviews in mags but I'm still lost! I want to get the best picture (HD) possible and great sound. But I'm lost with what connections I need to look out for (HDMI, component output etc etc). My budget is not really set but I cant afford too much for the lot (£1000ish).

Please help! Before I rush out and buy something I may regret.


Established Member
Well a reciever is an amplifier with a radio tuner built in hence the name. An amplifier is just that.

An amplifier (or reciever) will not have anything to do with your HD viewing as such. There are upscaling amps, but not in your price range so don't worry yourself with it yet anyway. You can get upscaling dvd players from £100ish anyway, and arguably if you have an HD screen you don't need an scaler, because the screen will have one in it so the picture fits it anyway...

There are many options and most have been well covered here. Almost daily someone asks this question or similar.

My advice would be to search thrugh posts for the last 3 days or so, and get a feel for whats about. Cross reference what people have talked about with web dealers, so you can see prices and what things look like incase looks are important. Then when you have a narrowed down list of equipment, ask people subjective opinions.

Whatever you do, DON'T buy anything yet! To many people get itchy fingers and buy stuff they regret, a day or two, (months in some peoples case) searching will pay dividends.

You'll get way more info here than a dealer will give, and in most cases less bias! Oh yeah, you'll probably also get more confused too.... :)


Prominent Member
Buy a Yammy 757 and Kef eggs! See my sig!

Seriously some good advice from Clarky. You've made the first step - a budget.

Now some other questions for you to consider...

What your split with music/movie?
Whats your room size?
Does the significant other have an opinion on speakers (size etc) I know it shouldn't be a relevant question but one many of us have to conisder!
Assuming by top of the range Pio you mean 436XDE then connectivity (in my opinion) shouldn't be driver for amp connectivity - a new mutli remote can cure those issues.

Finally go visit some Hifi shops - not Currys etc. Listen to some choices of setups.


hey, thanks for the replies!

I will take both your advice and have a look around and keep an eye on postings here.

Can anyone advise on important connections to look for, is HDMI important? or will me TV do it anyway?

PS - Yes, it is that pioneer I am getting...is it any good? (not arrived yet)


Prominent Member
Your TV has 2 HDMI connections so you are sorted there.

For £1000 for av amp plus speakers, HDMI in the amp is really not going to be an option.

The 436 is an excellent screen. You will see lots of opinions on here but it is a good screen - at least there and many of us happy.

It does need some care when new - make sure you run it in properly. There are loads of threads on it so try a search.

Love the comment "is at any good" - you've just spent £2k+ and now you're asking!


Ha, ha!

Yes, good point, but I only just found this excellent forum.

What do you mean 'run it properly?' Turn it on dont you and watch it?


Prominent Member
Yes you can turn it on and watch it of course.

Plasma's take some running in though. The pixels take around 200hours to settle down and stabilise.

During this period its best to run your plasma gently - i.e. reduce brightness and contrast. The settings out of the box tend to be pretty full on.

It also best to avoid static images for prolonged periods as this can lead to image retention (which fades in time) or screen burn - which doesn't. Static images typically come from Sky channel logos and games consoles. Even when watching 4:3 so the screen has bars altough I believe the grey colour Pio use is "friendly" and in any case you can use the zoom function to fill your screen.

There are hunderds of threads on this in the plasma forum - and some alarming stories of Pio getting damaged but don't be put off - just be a little patient. Search there and do some research.

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