To receive or not? Should / Do I need an AV receiver?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by mrgrill, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. mrgrill

    mrgrill
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    Hi people,

    First things first. I'm a noob to all this. I've done plenty of searching and reading, but would like a direct response to my query if any kind soul is willing to help / advise.

    I'm in the process of upgrading all my AV equipment.

    Current setup is:
    Crappy CRT 28"
    Xbox [soon to be soft modded] - so will use component
    Cheapo DVD [£30 - don't really watch DVDs tbh] - scart only I'm afraid
    Sky+ PV3 - use Scart connection

    I'm likely in future to get an Xbox 360 or PS3 and also Sky HD.

    My first step is to get a new HD ready plasma in the next month or so. But as I'm redecorating the lounge, I'm toying with the idea of getting an AV receiver and Surround sound speaker package as I've never enjoyed this.

    My question is should I get an AV receiver to hook up my equipment to the Plasma, or should I just run it all to the TV directly? From reading most threads in here, most people seem to think that direct Video connections is the best thing to do and not through an AV receiver and to just hook up sound to these?

    My situation is that I would like:

    1. To be able to switch source easily. The setup has to be G/F friendly. By that I mean my other half should be able to work the setup when I'm not around. I'm concerned that having Video sources direct to TV and Sound to an AMP, my bird won't be able to get it all working? Would this setup also require you to swtich both AV on the plasma and Audio sources on the Receiver, in order to get both sound and video?

    2. I don't want to spend too much cash. I know this sounds silly, but I don't have a mega budget. Ideally, I'd like a decent cheap AV receiver [ capable of upconverting I guess?], and also a small black 5.1. speaker packages [Too match the room] - all for less than £500 :eek:
    I know the equipment won't be great, but I'm looking for a fairly decent budget system.

    3. If I get an AV receiver, would it best to hook all Audio and Video through this or do Video to the Plasma and just use Sound for the Receiver? If that's the case, would I not be better off just getting an Audio Amp/Receiver?

    4. Is there any way of hooking Surround sound speaker package direct to the Plasma TV, or do you need an AV receiver?

    I'm totally confused about all this. I like the idea of just one cable running from an AV receiver to the Plasma, but I don't want to compromise much on PQ. Plus, I don't think my budget will get a decent setup.

    Any advice would really help. I'm just trying to figure out the best solution for my needs and budget.

    Cheers in advance

    Paul.
     
  2. mitor

    mitor
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    Hi!


    It might help if you can give us some inkling as to what sort of TV model you plan to buy, many come with external media boxes etc.

    Also if you want it to buy GF friendly it might be wise to invest in one of the highly recommended Harmony remotes (525 or 885) not had one myself but it could be just the ticket at around £50 and £120 respectively.


    As for AV switching, worthwile if you're planning to get mutliple HDMI devices I think and if you're planned TV only has one HDMI socket, but a HDMI switching amp is probably almost out of your budget, maybe something like the Yamaha 757 from Richer sounds for £350 would be more what you're looking for.

    Not sure about the ease of use of having everything running through the amp, confuses the wife when she has to turn the amp on first and select the right audio channel + you always get the surround sound setup for tv use, not always what you want.

    For my part I prefer to leave the sky box connected to "AV1" with a SCART lead so she only has to switch it on to get picture and audio, DVD's she leaves to me usually.


    If you're in the Bristol area I'll be selling a Marantz SR5200 and Mission M2S surround system (boxed and almost new) for about £200 on the forums soon, but it would be a collection only job due to the size.

    Good luck
     
  3. mitor

    mitor
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    Oh forgot to add that I bought the speakers only a couple of weeks ago and now don't need them (the missus won't let me use them for the PC!)


    they were bought from Superfi, and are a great buy for a cheap system..


    http://www.hifibitz.co.uk/product.asp?id=3846
     
  4. mrgrill

    mrgrill
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    Thanks Mitor

    Sorry, should of put what plasma I'm thinking about. Either the Hitachi 7200, Pioneer 436XDE or if they are out in the next few months, either the Hitachi 9700 or Panny PX/PV 600. Three out of the four mentioned have 2 x HDMI inputs.

    I appreciate the feedback. I'm sort of torn. I'd like minimum amount cables going to the Plasma, but ideally, I need a "muppet" setup to help the missus. I do like your suggestion of linking the Sky+ via Scart so she can watch TV if she wants - she never watches a DVD without me or plays Xbox anyway :D

    Really, the Amp would be for when I play Xbox and watch DVDs. I'm just trying to convince myself it's worthwhile getting one for this purpose.

    Can I skip the Amp and hook up Speaker package to the Plasma?

    Ooh this is confusing :confused:
     
  5. mitor

    mitor
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    Go for the 436XDE then mate!


    Gorgeous looks and a sepereta media box, you can have scart switching yet only the power cable the sync and DVI lead going up to the screen, then you can do a proper install job and never have to get to the back of the set again.


    It's got discrete buttons for each input (so you can tell her that the DVD is always on input 2)

    Also can take a CFII card in a PCMCIA interface (say £10 for the PC card and £30 for a 1GB memory card) so you can have high def picture slide shows, the chicks love that!


    Great picture quality as well, plus it's one inch larger than the rest!
     
  6. mitor

    mitor
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    Oh, as to your other question, no you still need an amp.


    The speakers on the XDE are pretty good, but a little soft.


    The Media box has an optical out you can connect to any amp.
     

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