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Q for the home theatre / music gadget guru's

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by TRA, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. I need a solution to my home theatre / music system. I have looked long and hard, but the problem is I dont know what I really want.

    So here is the drill. Currently have foxtel IQ2 and an old LG lifestyle system. I just upgraded the TV (finally got rid of the CRT!) to one of those fancy LCD panels. I also have gig's of mp3's. Everytime I buy a CD it gets ripped and now I am starting to buy music online, so CD player is not required.

    What I want, is some sort of solution that allows me to:
    • Play the occasional DVD (or I guess bluray now) with surround sound
    • Watch foxtel (if I can get foxtel to play on outside tv even better)
    • Listen to MP3's - both inside the house, and in my entertainment area.

    But, I dont want anything imposing. I like the minimalist approach to all things. So big speakers and amps and crap are out, unless I can hide them somehow. I like the bose lifestyle stuff, but I reckon its over priced plus it cant play dvd/blueray these days, but that sort of speaker arrangement is good. I have also looked at HTPC stuff, but its all way to big. There is a slot in my TV cabinet that is 8cm by 55cm, to tight for most HTPC stuff.

    So I turn it over to the wise NR community to help me find a solution.
  2. Build a home theatre PC, with a couple of Terrabytes of hard drives. Pop a decent video card in that supports HDMI. Then buy the best HDMI capable amp you want to afford. Buy the best speaker set you can afford. Speakers won't become obsolete. You can then upgrade your PC components and amp as technology changes. I've got a small RF media keyboard that will let you do anything from surf the web, edit your photos and play DVDs, CD,s whatever, with about a 10 metre or more range.
    You can build a server if you so desire and then stream your media to anywhere you want in your house. Or just leave all your stuff on various computers on your network.
  3. #3 Dougz, Aug 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    Ps3 or similar. I use it as a multimedia centre and WiFi all my music/ videos through it from the lappy. Easy peasy.
  4. #4 Dougz, Aug 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    What Roarin said is good too :)
  5. I have that kinda thing in my flat (sorta), not on that scale but same principle run all my stuff through the laptop so i've got HDMI running out of it and sound goes to my old stereo (don't care for surround) via a big old amp.

    But the whole home theatre pc thing is the way of the future.

    Oh, and definitely buy the best speakers you can. They do not go obsolete, truer words have rarely been spoken.
  6. Only problem with HTPC is space. only have 8cm by 55cm to spare.

    As for speakers, i dont want to see them. Need something small like the bose stuff. Sub can hide under lounge.
  7. Given your listening to mp3's the Bose will be fine.
  8. Given your space requirements, I'd then look at building a Linux setup. Use an Atom based front end, that should be able to fit in your minimal space. Then hide your backend in another room or cupboard. Google Mythbuntu for the good oil on what hardware will work without loosing your hair wondering why it won't.
  9. HTPC is an awesome solution. But unfortunately, you really need to be a bit of an enthusiast to set them up properly and have them run flawlessly. Im forever tweaking, maintaining mine. If youre right in to your PCs and know your way around video cards, codecs, audio cards, HDMI troubleshooting, sound formats, video formats, video encoding, audio encoding etc etc then HTPC will give you the best results. Personally, I wouldnt have it any other way. But ive been doing this a long time.

    For what you want, and to keep it simple, you really need to go out and find a nice set of speakers and an AV receiver that suits your budget and style preference. Ideally go for an AV receiver that is HDMI capable and also, if you want to be able to play music in another area of the house, go for a Dual Zone AV receiver. Fairly common these days. Stick with a simple Blu-ray player such as a Samsung or Pioneer or even a Panasonic for DVD/BR playback. For playing back MP3 you have a lot of options out there. Do you have a PC where all your music is stored?? Can that PC be left on all the time? Well, at least be left on for music playback. If so then you could look at an Apple TV to connect to your AV receiver/TV and allow your iTunes library to be streamed from the PC to the lounge area. It has a nice and easy to use On Screen Display and is fairly simple to set up.

    Alternatively, you could get yourself and Apple Airport Express (wifi Access point) which has audio out which can run in to your AV receiver and stream your iTunes music that way. To control it, you simply need to download the Remote app from the iTunes store and control the system with your iPhone or ipod touch.

    Alternatively to Apple. You could get yourself one of these.


    Simlar setup to the Apple system but gives you a handheld controller that allows you to browse and play music that is stored on a PC. Comes with the remote and a reciever unit that plugs in to your AV receiver in the lounge room. But as with the apple solutions, you still must have a PC that stores your music and it must be on for playback! The logitech shop sells them for $295 which is a bargain given that they were around $700 not too long ago!

    Last solution, which is what I use at the moment, is this,


    Similar to the above unit but doesnt have a remote that displays your music like the previous unit. The music is all displayed on the large display on the main unit. It does have a basic IR remote to allow you to browse and select music on the main units display. It also uses a touch screen on the main unit itself to allow you to browse and select your music, playlists etc. Big advantage of this model is that it allows for a USB HDD to be plugged in. The USB HDD can store all your music and playback straight from the USB HDD without the need for a PC to be on. A much better solution IMHO.

    Any of these systems can be plugged in to any AV receiver. If the AV reveiver supports dual zone, then music playback in the lounge and a second entertaining area is easy enough too.

    But first things first. Find some speakers you like and an AV receiver to suit.

    PM me if you want any more info!
  10. #10 Dougz, Aug 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    Listen to Bambam. He knows LOTS of stuff!
  11. What dougz said, PS3! i use one as well.
    Plays blue rays, can stream video and music from PC, PLAYS GAMES. :p