Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Phew... it's over

As we've all heard by now, the format war is over. Even NPR covered it. Absolutely the best situation possible, and a much earlier conclusion than anyone thought possible. As I said at the time, the Warner Bros exclusivity was really what got the ball rolling... it just got to the bottom of the hill about 5 months earlier than I thought it would. I would have been fine with combo players becoming the norm, but this is obviously much better.

SO. Now I have some things to contemplate. Obviously a PS3 is going to be on the to buy list soon. Before that happens though, I need to decide on a receiver. Which is going to be difficult... the one I want (see Alan's post about his Denon 3808CI) just isn't going to happen right now. Or in the forseeable future, with Anna going back to school soon. I've considered a few models from Onkyo, but I've read of lip-synch issues on the models I was considering; most of which are correctable, but apparently with the PS3 video games are fine but BluRay playback needs an adjustment (which throws off video games once changed). It's a frustrating situation, but basically... I HAVE to get a receiver sometime soon. Our current set only has one HDMI input, so I'm going to need a receiver with at least three, and I'm not looking to break the bank - I don't need monstrous sound either, just something with decent volume and good clarity. I'm sure this will be an issue that will puzzle me for months until I make a decision compromising.


Alan Wild said...

When you are really ready to start shopping. Some lessons I've learned:

1) Obviously search the Internet using pricegrabber, google product search, etc. I don't believe this works real well for these kinds of electronics purchases, but it will give a an idea of what's possible and make you better prepared to judge a deal to see if its really good or not. I do believe it's better to buy from an authorized reseller (and not all of the sites on these price search engines are), particularly since you will find good deals from them

2)Sites like J&R, 6th Avenue Electronics, Onecall, and several others that aren't coming to me at the moment. Are generally authorized resellers and will often offer discount prices when you call for a price quote over the phone that they won't like on their web site. I got my line doubler (years ago) from onecall for about $300 less then what they were selling it on the web site because I called and asked. Same thing with the Receiver. Since then I've heard of even better deals. Also, they will often price match each other... so if one has a financing promotion you want, but not the best price... make them compete! Which leads me to #3

3) Check out and search There will often be posts mentioning specific sales people that will give you the deals. So you can call and ask for "Steve" or whoever and say, "Hey I saw on that you are selling their members this receiver for $XXXX.XX" It appears to be the best way to get a good price

4) Finally, go ahead and call local electronics stores and see how close they can come. In the case of my first receiver, they were close enough and I felt more comfortable knowing that the local shop would be available to handle warranty issues should they arise. In the case of the 3808CI... they couldn't come close, but it certainly doesn't hurt to call or swing by.

Point is... you might be surprised how good a deal you can get. In my case I got the 3808CI for $1370 shipped with 18 months no-interest, no-payment financing. I've heard of others getting it for about $1000 without the financing deal. That's a huge discount over the $1600 MSRP. So it definitely pays to do your homework.

You may also want to think about the 2808CI... you give up the on-screen GUI, some power, and an HDMI port for sure, but its MSRP is about $500 cheaper to start with. I haven't compared them too closely, but it's certainly something to consider.

Alan Wild said...

One more follow-up... I didn't realize that the 2808CI only has 2 HDMI ports... so you would be giving up 2 of them... which frankly is a bit much for me, but I don't know what your planned purchases are... I have no direct experiences with the Onkyo's... in general I like them as a brand and a friend recently got one of the ones that I believe that you were referring to... and he's really happy with it, but he's definitely not a hard-core gamer subject to some of the timing delays to which you speak. :)

Aaron Newton said...

Yeah, I looked at the 2808CI and the HDMI ports were the first thing I looked for. I feel like I absolutely need three... if I could get four I would be thrilled, but I think I could live with three. We're pretty happy with our current upscaling DVD player and want to keep that on HDMI, the PS3 is intended to go to HDMI, and when we move off of Insight's cable box, I'd like the HD TiVo to go in HDMI as well.

The Onkyo model I'd settled on for price/perfomance was the TX-SR705 . I know I can get it at least as low as $640, and I'm comfortable with that price if I can't get it any lower. But that sound sync issue is puzzling - it's one of those things I can't believe isn't worked out yet.

It may be i just have to wait a bit before I can get a truly RELIABLE 3 HDMI receiver that does trueHD and DTS-HD MA for a price I'm willing to pay.

And I haven't even started thinking about speakers yet.