As the proud owner of a THX system with separates, I can say that using the included patch cables is a far better move than not using Video Essentials.
I challenge anyone to a blind listening test to prove that expensive cables sound better. Sure they look cool, and may even have better connectors for reliability and corrosion resistance, but assuming everythings in fully working order, you will not hear a PROVABLE difference.
On the other hand, I highly recommend renting video essentials from a local shop or www.netflix.com
. You probably don't need to own it, but a properly setup home theater makes all the difference in the world. Take the $30 you saved by renting instead of buying, and buy the Radio Shack SPL meter. With poor setup you can make a $15k system seem like a $500 system.