home theater speakers newbie question

Can I use different brand of center channel and front/surround speakers?
(new to home theater)
What brands are good for a low budget? (<$1000)
You can, but you probably shouldn't, especially if you are a newbie. It is critically important that the front and center speakers match very closely. You can be a bit more forgiving with the surrounds.

$1000 for what, an entire 5.1 speaker package? In that case, you should definitely audition Paradigm. They do low-cost speakers about as well as anybody.
You can but, it is not a good choice. Try and keep all of the speakers in you system from the same manufacturer.

Good luck.
If you are willing to go used, my recommendation for used would be a full complement of NHT Super=zeros all around. With subs, these are very fine little speakers and should cost you about $400 not counting a sub. For a little more you could have Super ones up front (left right center) and use the zeros for surrounds.
I would keep the center channel and the front left and right as close to being the same as you can...if you have 6 1/2" drivers in the fronts, then go with 6 1/2" drivers in the center...and yes, definetly go with the same brand of speakers as well! I would look at the PSB image line...they offer quite a nice sound for the money!...you should be able to get a good deal on them here on Audiogon...good luck and happy listening!
Absolutely!! Patrickachs remark is very good. As long as you try to match the speaker quality and size (quality more important) you don't have to match. The center in home theater is for dialogue the l/r for music and effects. Unless you are going to seriously listen to sacd or dvd-a don't worry about using different speakers, you won't notice any difference.