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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,
I'm putting together a modest system for a friend of mine and have narrowed it down to this:

1) Panasonic Viera Th-42PZ85U, $960
2) Onkyo TX SR606, $460
3) Sony Blue Ray BD PS350, $270

My question is, is there something out there I can get for the same price which is better quality in the $1400 - $1700 range? :reading:
 

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What speakers/sub are you connecting to that 606? How far will your friend be sitting away from his TV? Does he want the ability to stream content from his computer? Does he play video games?
 

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She will not be doing anything elaborate, just watching movies. She currently has those small Bose speakers (L,C,R & rears plus the Bose sub). She won't be streaming anything through the system. Hope that helps and thanks for the reply.
 

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And how far does she sit from the TV (determines 1080p vs 720p, and 42" vs 50", and necessity of blu-ray)? Does she watch primarily at night/with curtains drawn, or will she be watching during the day (determines LCD vs. Plasma)?
 

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I would suggest upping the receiver to the 706 as it has THX certification and thus you get alot of useful surround modes that dont come with the 606. You also get a more future proof receiver that can be used a few more years.
 

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I think if I were to recommend putting more money in, it wouldn't be in the AVR. I'd start buying new speakers first (THX and surround modes through tiny bose speakers will be a losing battle).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She'll be viewing from approximately 8' away and mostly at night with no glare issues which is why I suggested a Plasma. I think I'm set on the Panasonic and the A/V, I'll look into the suggested Onkyo 706 model posted.
She does want a Blue Ray and because I don't have one myself yet, haven't done any research on them. She'd like to stay under the $300 range.
 

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At 8' away from a 42", her eyes, or for that matter the eyes of anyone with 20/20 vision, will not be able to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p. This isn't opinion, it's biological fact.

http://www.carltonbale.com/2006/11/1080p-does-matter/

For that matter, she'll have a hard time, though not impossible, distinguishing between blu-ray video quality and upscaled DVD. And on the audio side of things, the same can be said for Dolby TrueHD vs Dolby Digital, at least through the Bose Speakers.

I'm sure with the marketing onslaught, she no doubt wants blu-ray. The question is, is it the best use of her money, or will she see/hear more improvement by spending that money elsewhere?

I'd suggest bumping up to a 50" 720p plasma. I just bought my parents a Samsung PN50A450 for under $1000 and couldn't be happier with it. Panasonic TH-50PX80U can regularly be had on sale from Sears and Best Buy for about $900 (I have one still in the box, but am waiting on a mount and some cables from monoprice.com before I open it up, so I can't yet comment on the quality of the Panasonic).

At 8', She'll be sitting just a touch closer than optimum for 720/50", but that's miles better than sitting too far away for 1080/42".

As for blu-ray, even if she intends to use the player for years, up to the point when she buys a bigger TV (or sits closer to the one she has), the spec and feature implementation is changing too often to consider any player out there (short of the infinitely upgradable PS3) future proof. I'd take that same $270 and buy a $150 Oppo upscaling DVD player and 3 new speakers for your LCR (Refurbed Infinity Beta 20s are going for about $50 each on a good day on ebay).

If she insists on Blu-ray, buy the least expensive name-brand you can find, or buy a PS3.

I'd still stick with the 606 unless she has definite plans to upgrade the speakers. Otherwise, it's lipstick on a pig, so to speak.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Marshall,
She ended up ordering the Panasonic TH42PZ85U for around $758.00 as a 50" wouldn't fit in the area she wants to place it. I will work on her as far as suggesting better speakers though. Lastly, she insisted on a Blue-Ray so she bought the Denon DVD-2500BTCI for $429.98 off a suggested $999.98 at Best Buy.
You'll love the 50" Panasonic PX80U. I have the 50 PZ800u and it looks terrific.

Good to know about the Blue -Ray info because I was going to buy one but I'll hold off as you suggest.
 
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