The 10 Best Home Theater Systems

Updated December 28, 2017 by Ben G

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. 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 picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best home theater system on Amazon.

10. Sony 800 Watts

Cover all your bases with the Sony 800 Watts. It is a dependable and moderately-priced option offering an integrated Blu-ray player supporting 1080p video playback, 5 satellite speakers, and an FM stereo tuner for listening to the radio.
  • 3d active shutter glasses included
  • access to sony entertainment network
  • automatic reboots are annoying
Brand Sony
Model BDV-E3100
Weight 29.6 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Panasonic SC-XH105

Turn your ordinary movies into pure cinematic joy at a price that won't break the bank with the Panasonic SC-XH105. It is capable of both up-converting your DVDs to full high-definition video, while also being able to connect to your television using a single HDMI cable.
  • selectable speaker layout
  • also supports usb and hdd playback
  • the remote is a pain to use
Brand Panasonic
Model SCXH105
Weight 19.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Samsung HT-J5500W

With its Smart Blu-ray technology and built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, the Samsung HT-J5500W can transform your living room and television into a relatively modern entertainment center complete with 3D video support and 5.1-channel surround sound. But it only has 1 HDMI input.
  • dvd up-conversion
  • access to opera tv store apps
  • rear speakers are rather soft
Brand Samsung
Model HT-J5500W/ZA
Weight 26.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Pioneer HTP-074

Equip yourself with a modern entertainment system using the Pioneer HTP-074. It includes a 5.1-channel AV receiver, 5 compact satellite speakers, and it also offers 4 HDMI inputs with Ultra HD pass-through technology for enjoying the latest in superior video standards.
  • bluetooth compatible
  • eco mode for low energy consumption
  • instructions are a bit confusing
Brand Pioneer
Model HTP074
Weight 38 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Bose Lifestyle 650

Perfect for your man cave or large living room, the Bose Lifestyle 650 comes with 6 HDMI inputs, so that you can plug it in to every HD device you could possibly need to. It also works with the Bose SoundTouch app to make streaming music easy.
  • intuitive and simple setup
  • powerful bass output
  • too expensive for the quality
Brand Bose
Model 761683-1110
Weight 70 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Yamaha Theater In A Box

Unique to the Yamaha Theater In A Box is its exclusive YPAO system that is designed to calibrate your listening environment for optimal sound performance. Its Virtual Cinema Front configuration lets you enjoy the experience of surround sound without rear speakers.
  • discreet amplifier design
  • 100-watt powered subwoofer
  • enhanced low-frequency sounds
Brand Yamaha
Model YHT-3920UBL
Weight 54.4 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Onkyo HT-S5800

Whether it's hearing every nuance of a multidimensional soundtrack or precise MP3 streaming from a mobile device, the Onkyo HT-S5800 has you covered. Its 5-inch mid-range drivers, AccuEQ room calibration, and balanced-dome tweeters ensure equal and focused audio coverage.
  • supports dolby atmos
  • up-firing for realistic acoustics
  • accepts 4k ultra hd video signals
Brand Onkyo
Model HT-S5800
Weight 75.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Enclave CineHome

True to its name, the Enclave CineHome serves as an entertainment hub for your equipment by delivering a 24-bit, high-definition audio signal, which projects an intense surround sound experience comparable to the acoustics found in many professional theaters.
  • connects to television with 1 cable
  • three hdmi inputs
  • wireless remote for subwoofer
Brand Enclave Audio
Model 006007
Weight 64.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Paradigm Cinema 100

Not having a ton of room doesn't mean you have to have a bad listening experience. Whether you're in an apartment or just need a setup for a smaller office, the Paradigm Cinema 100 can provide you with similar sound to a full system without taking up all the space.
  • impressive dialogue clarity
  • integrated cooling system
  • wall mounting brackets included
Brand Paradigm
Model Cinema100CT
Weight 48 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Elac Debut

The Elac Debut is a collection of two towers, a center, a subwoofer, and two bookshelf speakers that are ready to be put together into the ultimate home theater experience. The bass can even be controlled from within an app, so the rumbling doesn't bother your family.
  • impressively natural midrange
  • doesn't distort at high volumes
  • compatible with bluetooth
Brand Elac
Weight 159.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

What Makes Up 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.

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.

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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Last updated on December 28, 2017 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.

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