Are you looking to get a HTIB or build a component system?
I recently installed this Sony HTIB in my parents 20x12 loft and it sounds damn good for the cheap price tag.http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...activeda655-20
I have also heard this Onkyo HTIB in person as well and it is excellent for this price range. http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Produ...TS700S&tp=6452
Most of the new stuff has HDMI out. The higher end A/V receivers have HDMI switching.
In terms of component receivers, I would recommend Onkyo or Denon over everything in the under $1,000 range. And the surround speakers I would go with Polk, Dayton, Klipsch, Infinity, Boston Acoustics, etc.. Even the entry level stuff sounds good in most cases.
I have a component system and I recently purchased a new Onkyo 5.1 Receiver. It blows my previous JVC and Sony Receivers out of the water in regards to sound clarity and surround reproduction.
If you want room shaking bass that is something you won't get on a modest budget. Most HTIB have either 6" or 8" subs with marginal amplifiers. The true ground pounder subs like SVS, HSU, Dayton, Bic, etc.. can be pretty pricey.
I recently upgraded my ".1" channel boomer to an Infinity PS212 400Watt RMS 12" Sub. The Darla tank tapping scene in Finding Nemo now tries to scoot the coffee table across the floor. Played at reference levels it's almost intolerable within 3 meters.