The Good, The Better, & the Best

Got money? HT editors tell you the best value for your $$$.

As editors of Home Theater, everyone asks us questions about the consumer electronics business. This is fine—it's our duty to help those who may not have the time to spend all day playing around with really cool gear. Some questions are easy, like "How do I hook this up?" or "What does anamorphic mean?" Unfortunately, the one question we get all the time is not as simple to answer: What gear should I buy?


If there were one simple answer to this question, the home theater world would be rather dull. Everyone would own the same DVD player, the same TV, and the same speakers. Thankfully, we have choices, and those choices are based on two things: what we would like to buy and what we can afford to buy. For those of us who live in the real world, price plays a huge role in our decision-making process. Our question is not simply, "What is the best system?" Rather, it's, "What is the best system for $1,500?" "$3,000?" "$5,000?"

Today, we're going to answer that question. Home Theater editor Maureen Jenson gave three of our editors a price point (a good one, a better one, and the best one) and sent them on their way. Their mission: to find a complete system for that price at one retail establishment. Associate editor Geoffrey Morrison got the entry-level $1,500 price point, while convergence editor Chris Chiarella had the middle-of-the-road $3,000 budget. Features editor Darryl Wilkinson had the most money to burn: $5,000. What did they come up with? Read on to find out. With any luck, you can find the system of your (and your checkbook's) dreams.