Updated September 02, 2018 by Ben G

The 10 Best Home Theater Systems

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This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in December of 2015. If you've already gone to the expense of purchasing a high-definition television, then take full advantage of its capabilities by adding one of these nifty home theater systems to your entertainment center. Many include Bluetooth compatibility, HDMI connectivity, and powerful speakers to make your audio experience for movies, music, and games come to life. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best home theater system on Amazon.

10. Sony 800 Watts

9. Panasonic SC-XH105

8. Samsung HT-J5500W

7. Pioneer HTP-074

6. Bose Lifestyle 650

5. Yamaha Theater In A Box

4. Onkyo HT-S5800

3. Enclave CineHome

2. Paradigm Cinema 100

1. Elac Debut

What Makes Up A Home Theater

These offer plasma screens with impeccable black level and contrast ratio, which are two characteristics that are ideal for the dark environment of a home theater.

A home theater is more than just a place where a family watches movies. The term home theater applies to an entertainment room designed to resemble a commercial movie theater, but made with the conditions of a living space in mind. Some people just set up a few audio/video devices in a living room, while others master the art of transforming a garage into a home theater. A true home theater exits in a room that is only used for that purpose, to provide the most immersive entertainment experience, void of any distractions.

One of the more popular viewing systems that has been in use since 1895 is the projector because it offers a much larger medium on which to view one's movies than most televisions do. There are, however, several television manufacturers that now cater to the home theater experience. These offer plasma screens with impeccable black level and contrast ratio, which are two characteristics that are ideal for the dark environment of a home theater.

No home theater would be complete without surround sound speakers, which create the fully immersive experience of a movie theater, delivering audio from every direction. All surround sound speaker systems feature 5.1 channels. Five of those channels represent speakers in the front left, center, front right, rear right and rear left parts of the room. The point one part of the system is the subwoofer which helps deliver some of the lower sound effects like explosions.

Bonus Features That Boost Your Experience

With the many technological advancements and trends of recent years in mind, there are a few bonus features that will make a home theater not only easier to set up but far more enjoyable. Bluetooth connectivity will allow the user to play media from various devices, including their tablet, computer, and smartphone. This makes for a less cluttered home theater since people don't need many hookup cables.

These will allow users to connect almost any device they want.

If one decides not to purchase a Bluetooth capable system, the next best option is one with both USB and HDMI ports. These will allow users to connect almost any device they want. While streaming is the preferred form of media watching today, people may still want a system that has a DVD/Blu-Ray player, for those rare programs that aren't available online. If someone hates having to get up once the movie has started, they should look for a system that comes with a remote control that manages both the audio and video devices.

Some movie lovers want to create a discreet look and don't like too many clunky electronics interrupting their decor. These individuals should either look for compact systems, with small speakers that can be kept in a cabinet, or elegant ones designed to compliment a modern room. Some systems, for example, have tower-shaped, ultra-sleek speakers that resemble pieces of modern art. Serious gamers know that sound is an important part of the player’s experience, if you are of the same opinion choose one with high quality subwoofers that won't distort the booming sounds of your media.

The History Of Home Theaters

Home theaters have been popular in the United States since the 1960s when Kodak released projector equipment capable of playing 8 mm film — the standard motion picture film format of the time — at an affordable cost. By the 1980's, the creation of LaserDiscs made it even easier for families to keep complete movie collections in their homes, without large, clunky film reels. LaserDiscs, however, proved to be too expensive and VHS, though it fluctuated in popularity over the years, was ultimately more successful. Some media experts even say that VHS is regaining a following and may make a comeback.

High Definition TV — or at least the version consumers know of today — came out around the same time.

In the late 1990's DVDs came on the market dominating the scene. They are still the most commonly used optical movie disc in use by home consumers. In the 2000's, Dolby Digital released the first 5.1-channel audio system, making surround sound available to consumers. High Definition TV — or at least the version consumers know of today — came out around the same time. The term high definition has been around since 1936 but at the time televisions only earned that name by providing better quality visuals than previous generations of televisions. Since then, television manufacturers have constantly competed to set the standard for high definition.

The early 2010's saw the first 4k high definition systems, which is the minimal required capacity of any television to be called HD today. Since then, companies have created both 5k and 8k systems. In 2006, Blu-ray discs hit the market and the early 2010's saw the emergence of 3D-ready television sets. 3D technology has been available since the 1890's when British film pioneer William Friese-Green filed a patent for it. After that, there were 3D cameras available on the commercial market, and 3D films being aired in movie theaters. But the first 3D-ready television available for home use wasn't available until 2011, and this was a large improvement for home theaters everywhere.

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Ben G
Last updated on September 02, 2018 by Ben G

Ben is a writer from California. He mostly dives into film, videogames, and science fiction literature. Also Hello Kitty. He likes Hello Kitty a whole lot. Ben holds a bachelor's from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a major in literature and a minor in linguistics. He has worked as a technical writer and edited his own online magazine and podcast. His expertise is in electronics, decor, textbooks and nonfiction, especially in the sciences and humanities.

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