You need HD equipment to get the most from the 2008 games, and Justin Worthy’s starter systems are just the ticket for bringing the Olympics into the living room, whatever your budget.

Getting set up for the games

To paraphrase Paul Revere from 1775, “The Olympics are coming! The Olympics are coming!” On the memorable date of 8 August 2008 (8/8/8, geddit?!) the Olympic games kick off in China and Australia’s hopes for gold are high, naturally. What you’ll be seeing leading up to that time, as home entertainment buffs, will be every electronics manufacturer scrambling madly to come up with the most attractive possible offer to you, the consumer, in order to shift stock and fill their coffers. So this is a good time to be thinking about buying a new system in preparation for the Olympics spectacle, and of paramount importance for that system will be the ability to record.

So this article is meant as a guide to buying a great home entertainment system to help you enjoy the Games. Citing HD and Full HD products according to designated budgets, we’ll give you an idea of what can be had at certain price points, but a guide is just that; use your own judgement, particularly by using your own eyes and ears when you visit stores, as to what looks and sounds best to you. Remember that, even if you’re not too experienced and need to adhere to these recommended systems a bit more faithfully, you can always ‘mix and match’; swapping, say, a DVD recorder in one setup for a PVR in another.

Now, just to make a quick point about the pricing. Since many manufacturers choose not to put recommended retail pricing (RRP) on their websites, and most of you will be using the Internet to research your purchases, most if not all of the prices we’ve quoted are ‘average selling prices’, based on data collected by Gfk, a highly respected market research agency. So, when you’re out shopping for any of this stuff, bear in mind that there can be some quite significant variation – with flat panel TVs over 40 inches (101 cm), this can vary by as much as $500 or $600 – so it definitely pays to shop around.

Oh, and if anything actually adds up to 100 percent of the quoted budget, that’s more by chance than design, as we’re allowing for such price variations, along with money needed for extra AV cables, speaker cable, batteries and whatever else. Very roughly speaking, we’ve gone for about 50-60 percent of your budget on the flat panel TV, and about 20 percent each on the recording solution and audio. All prices quoted are approximates only.