ya listen is best start as these system generally line the isle in stores like best buy and circuit city. i "listened" for myself and i liked the yamaha and lg systems best, bought the lg system. its pretty sweet in my bedroom, has all skinny towers looks good sounds good. the dvd/receiver combo on this unit however is completely reliable, is also noisy for some reason. i have reason to believe that the yamaha and onkyo may be better in this department of reliability which is an issue with this stuff it in the box approach to home theater. don't know if i steered u into the right direction or worsened the situation, but like berny states, these htib systems are generally easy access to listen to for urself. one thing i would like u to do just for ur own satisfaction as i wished i had done bfore i purchased mine.. play at a low volume and listen to the dvd/receiver component itself and see if u hear any noises coming from it. at very low volumes i.e. dvd b4 bedtime if u will, u will want a quiet performing receiver/dvd combo, sorry for the ramble had a few beers
Just be wary...make sure that you can return it. We have the Onkyo HTS-780 at my store. In my opinion, it's the best sounding system under $500. But in our huge open floor, it sounds terrible. The woofer is shot, and barely rumbles, the left speaker is completely out, and they're all lined up on top of a TV, so you can't even feel the surround sound part of it all. From what I know of circuit city, their displays end up about the same as ours. They put them out on the floor, line up all the speakers in a big open room, and then everyone gets to play with them so the settings end up all messed up. You definitely need to listen and play with them. But make sure, if you're not satisfied, that you'll be able to return or exchange.