I started into Home Theatre the summer between my 1st and 2nd year at the U of S (which would be the summer of 1997). I had received a Zenieth 25" set for a high school grad gift and for Christmas during my 1st year of school I received a RCA 4-Head Stereo VCR. All I needed to complete a basic Home Theatre was a set of speakers. One day in Costco I noticed the Home Theatres in a box. More specifically the Pioneer HTP100. $400 CDN. Thought about it for a while and decided it was a great idea. Oh how little I knew then. I thought it was just great.
Then in December of my 4th year at the U of S I purchased a set of Klipsch Promedia V2-400 computer speakers. My family was just starting to get into DVDs, and at this point in time I could only watch them on my computer while I was at school. So during December I watched a few movies on my computer (cuz I had my snazzy new speakers). However, for Christmas that year my brother and I were given a Panasonic A120 DVD player. Great, now I could watch DVDs in the living room. Problem was, I kind of noticed the difference in sound quality between the Promedia's and the Pioneer HTP100. My computer was a better Home Theater than my living room system. This just wouldn't do.
The Promedias were great so I was fixated on Klipsch. Started doing some research, learned a bit, but I still wish I knew then what I know now. Any ways, went and bought a Pioneer VSX-D507 receiver, 2 pairs of Klipsch KSB1.1 monitors, a Klipsch SC1 center and Paradigm PDR-10 sub. I ended up waiting for almost two months to get the KSB1.1 monitors, which sucked. Krazy Kylie's was terrible for costumer service in this re guard. I heard at least 8 different stories over the two months as to why they weren't here and when they would arrive. Sparing the details, I went and yelled at them about half way through this wait and managed to get them to cough up a demo pair they had until mine arrived. So now I had the system (except I was missing the surrounds).
One thing the wait did do though, was give me a lot of time to read about Home Theatre, during which time I learned a lot. One thing I learned was the numbers game manufactures play while rating there receivers. The Pioneer I had purchased played such games. So after a while I decided the Onkyo TXDS-575 was within my budget. Went to Audio Express and asked for an in home demo so I could compare against the Pioneer I had purchased. That day I went and payed for the Onkyo and 2 weeks later sold the Pioneer at a $60 loss. Shortly after this I received my KSB1.1 monitors and the sound system was complete.
Then in May after my 4th year, I decided the Zenieth just wasn't good enough. I figured I could swing $2000 CDN on a TV so I started looking. I narrowed it down to a Toshiba 43" (can't remember the model number anymore) and the Sony KP43T70. I had A&B Sound set them up side by side. The Toshiba definitely had a better black level, but the Sony had better color and a sharper picture. Plus the Toshiba's top wasn't deep enough to support a center channel speaker. Then, when even after haggling the Toshiba was going to cost more, it became an easy decision. Having obtained a nice TV, Shaw cable just wasn't going to hack it. Being able to read the questions from who wants to be a millionaire on channel 9, when millionaire is on channel 8 just was not acceptable. Not to mention Shaw are dumb asses. So I got an ExpressVu 4700 DSS receiver, installed it and my very reasonable Home Theatre was complete. Total cost for everything came to a little under $5500 CDN.
Since then I have upgraded the sub and DSS receiver. There was a lot of upgraditus going on and I was looking at moving up to the Paradigm Monitor series with a PW2200 in the summer between my 5th and 6th year. But as luck would have it, I was turned onto DIY, and managed to get it through my thick head that this incremental upgrade process was just going to cost me money. End result, I built the Tempest Sonosub which now makes my sub easily the best piece of equipment I have and I've decided to wait until I can move to a sound system I won't be able to justify the cost of upgrading from for a long time. I went from an ExpressVu 4700 to a 5100 DSS receiver. The 5100 is a PVR (personal video recorder). I love my PVR.
I broke my promise to myself. After building a new sub for my parents I felt they really needed better speakers and given my current situation I resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to build any other speakers for me for at least a year, likely more. Given my experience with the JBL Studio series I helped a roommate pick out, I decided to offer my parents my old speakers at a reasonable price, which when subtracted from the cost of a JBL Studio series package, made one more incremental upgrade a reality.
After a little over 3 years with the 43" Sony I've managed to make the dream of a projector come true. I'm now the proud owner of a Panasonic PT-L300U. After a year with a 98" diagonal 16x9 DIY screen I finally moved to a slightly larger 2:1 screen with a 3 way manually adjustable masking system.