I am setting up a home theater system for a new 50 inch TH-50PH9UK display. I already have a progressive scan DVD player with component video output (not HDMI) and digital audio output. I am mounting the display over a fireplace, so it will be higher than normal viewing height. As such, I am looking for an A/V receiver that supports multiple inputs and HDMI output. I will then run all devices into the A/V receiver and run one HDMI leg from the receiver to the display through the wall cavity over the fireplace.
The layout in the room is a bit of an odd arrangement for home theater requirements as most of the seating will be off to one side or the other. Also, the floorplan is open (see diagram below for reference), so there will be some viewing from stools at a high countertop in an adjoining room, though I am not concerning my self with providing speakers specifically for these outside viewpoints.
For a speaker arrangement, I was thinking of a 5.1 arrangement, utilizing only the front left right and read surround speakers full time and including the center channel if I am watching a movie. I would like to mount all speakers high on the walls in the corner, where the walls and the ceiling meet, with the speakers angled downward. I know the suggestions and requirements for home theaters are to keep speakers at ear level, but what are the effects of high mounted speakers? Given the height of the display, is this configuration acceptable?
Also, is it possible to mount the surround speakers behind viewers as opposed to the side of the viewers as such an arrangement would put the speakers right next to the viewers ears, which I don't think would be good. Again, I would like to mount these rear surround speakers high on the wall.
If the rear surround speakers will not work, I suppose I could try a2.1 arrangement or some virtual surround system. If this is the case, could somebody recommend one that supports HDMI output? Also, is it possible to install a 5.1 A/V receiver but only use the front left/ right channels and subwoofer, or would there be audio content that would then be excluded completely? The reason being that I could use the same 5.1 receiver in a future home theater in a different room/ house.
Given the parameters above, could somebody recommend an A/V receiver, ideally 5.1 with HDMI output and analog to HDMI up-conversion? Additionally, does anyone have any input/recommendations on the speaker arrangement I have proposed, and/or brands?
Floorplan Diagram _____________________________ | F+ ==== + | F - Full Height Wall | F | H - Half Height Wall (raised countertop) | H C C | S - Bar Stool | H C C | C - Couch | HHHH C C | R - Recliner | S S S RR | = - Plasma Display Mounted Over Fireplace | | + - Desired Speaker Placement (High Wall Mount) | +____________+| | | | |__________ | |