Home Theater Package Recommendations

I've been asked by a number of readers to put together a list of home theater package recommendation systems. I've put together some options below, each of which assume you have a television or other display already. Since I know the high-end, high-value Axiom Speaker line up so well, I've used Axiom speakers in all the systems.

If your room is small, say, a den or a bedroom, of less than 1,500 cubic feet (a 10 x 12 x 8 foot room is 960 cubic feet), start by looking at the Epic Midi Home Theater Package. You'll also need an A/V receiver. The $399 (MSRP) Denon AVR 1705 is one we like with this system, as well as the Harman Kardon AVR 235, with a suggest price of $549. The latter receiver will power an additional two surround speakers for 7.1-channel playback. If you don't already have a DVD player, consider the Panasonic DVD-S47, (MSRP $100). Similar models are available that play five discs for slightly more, usually about $20-$30. Sony also makes a good five disc changer, the DVP-NC675P, which retails for $130. Your DVD player will also play CDs, so you can save room in your equipment rack by using one unit for both functions.

Moving into a typical-sized living room, in a standard home or an apartment, 1,500 to 2,500 cubic feet (about 19x13x8 feet is 2,000 cubic feet), consider the Epic Grand Master Home Theater. With this Axiom system, the Denon AVR-1905 is a 7.1-channel A/V receiver that will grow with your needs. MSRP is $499. Also look at the Harman Kardon AVR 335, which retails for $799. For a step above the normal DVD player, look to a Universal DVD player like the Pioneer DV-578A, or the Samsung DVD-HD841. A Universal DVD player will play several formats like DVD-Audio and SACD (Super Audio CD). Once priced at $800 or more, this technology is now affordable - the Pioneer mentioned above has an MSRP of $200; the Samsung is $250

Finally, for large rooms or 'great' rooms with cathedral ceilings, the Epic 60 Home Theater Package will provide excellent movie-theater-like surround sound. Larger rooms need more amplifier power, so look to the Denon AVR-2805 7.1-channel receiver that delivers 100 watts per channel. It has an MSRP of $899. Alternatively, consider the Harman Kardon AVR 635, which has an MSRP of $1299. With this system, consider adding a Universal DVD Player with video upconversion, such as the Denon DVD-2910. The MSRP on this unit is $679, and it will enhance your DVD picture to almost-high-definition quality, so that your video image will be as excellent as your sound. Alternatively, the DVD-755S from Denon is a solid choice for very good DVD playback. It retails for $269.

Axiom has a variety of other speakers and subwoofers that you can choose to tweak your system to match your movie and music preferences exactly. Try the Home Theater Wizard, call one of the friendly, non-commissioned Home Theater Experts at 1-866-244-8796, or send them an e-mail.