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Any man living on his own must have a suitable home theater. I believe that is Man Law #47, after the one about not being allowed to wear pink, though I break that one at least once a month.

Now that I'm on my own, I took a quick survey of the home theater equipment I owned or had stored after moving out from my last apartment. When that list is composed of a 19" TV/VCR combo (with an old school curved TV tube) and an Xbox 360, it's time for an upgrade! After a fair amount of deliberation, I decided upon the following two items:

  • Westinghouse LVM-37W3 37" LCD 1080P TV
  • Onkyo HT-S790 7.1 receiver/speaker set
I also have an HD set top box from Millennium and upgraded the Xbox 360 to a VGA video connection and toslink audio connection. Actually, here is how it's all hooked up:

  • Audio
    • PC to TV via analog stereo audio
    • TV to receiver via analog stereo audio
    • Xbox 360 to receiver via toslink
    • STB to receiver via toslink
  • Video (all to TV)
    • PC via DVI
    • Xbox 360 via VGA (meaning 1080P for DVDs, HD-DVDs and games)
    • STB via DVI
So everything is digital except the Xbox 360 video (it doesn't support it at all) and the PC audio (my sound card doesn't do digital, though I could fix that with a $20 Chaintech card). At Kat's place, she had a 42" rear projection 1080i Panasonic TV and a $199 Sony home theater system. I would play the 360 with it connected to the TV via component and analog audio. The TV then ran analog audio out to the receiver. It sounded fine and I had no complaints. With the new system? Night... and... day. Unbelievably cleaner and clearer sound and the video is just that much crisper. I also think her TV needs a good calibration and it helps that I did the THX quick and dirty calibration on mine.

For $1,500, I'm quite happy. This should hold me over until I get a house and can do some real work.