I think that today, your friend ought to be able to land himself a damn good sounding system for the $2K that he is proposing to spend. You also said that he would want separates as well. Well........ hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think that he's going to be getting any separates for his $2,000.00. Not unless he's willing to settle for something that is hopelessly behind the current technological curve. And before I do that, I would just rather get a nice receiver instead. But the way I would divide up the system budget is this:
Speaker System -- $700.00-to-$1,000.00
Audio/Video Receiver -- $500.00-to-$900.00
DVD Player -- $300.00-to-$500.00
Cables -- No more than $150.00
And with that said then, then here are the following I would recommend:
Speaker System: Energy Take 5+1, Mirage AVS + LF-100, Paradigm System Two (Atom (Fronts) + CC-170 (Center) + ADP-170 (Di-Polar Surrounds) + PDR-8 (Powered Subwoofer)), and the PSB Alpha Series -- $700.00-to-$1,000.00
Audio/Video Receiver -- Marantz SR-6300, NAD T752, Onkyo TX-SR600, Outlaw Model 1050, or the Yamaha RX-V730 -- $500.00-to-$900.00
DVD Player -- Philips DVDQ50AT -- $400.00 (there is only ONE choice at this price..... to get a player that is significantly better than this one, he may have to spend upwards to about $1,000.00....... perhaps more)
Cables -- Monster Cable -- $150.00 (look at the "M" Series of audio and video cables)
He is just going to have to compare the various components that are listed above and then come up with a combination that he is happy with and can live with over the long haul.
Good Luck and Happy Shopping!!!!