How we pick our products
Do you love movies and want to go to the cinema every day? Then a home cinema system might be something for you. Because going to the cinema can get quite expensive in the long run and doesn’t always fit in with your plans. A home cinema system allows you to bring that special cinema feeling into your living room.
In our home cinema system test 2023 we show you the best and latest devices from various categories. We also give you important tips and tricks on how to use home cinema systems. Whether you are interested in an external soundbar, surround sound speaker systems or 3D/Blu-ray player home cinema systems, you will find the best home cinema systems on the market.
- Home cinema systems allow you to turn your living room into a cinema and experience audio and video content with a special feeling.
- Basically, a distinction is made between sound bars, surround sound speaker systems and 3D-capable Blu-Ray home cinemas.
- Home cinema systems are suitable for both small and larger rooms. Intelligent and technically clever systems provide your walls with optimal sound and leave nothing to be desired in terms of a comprehensive cinema experience.
The best Home Cinema System: Our Picks
Guide: Questions to ask yourself before buying a home cinema system
What do you need for a home cinema system?
What are the advantages of home cinema systems?
Is the home cinema system also available wirelessly?
How much does a home cinema system cost?
|soundbar||from 200 euros|
|complete audio system||from 300 euros|
|3D-Blu Ray player home cinema complete set||from 500 euros|
Soundbars are available from around 200 euros. Multi-part complete audio systems without TVs cost from around 500 euros in the entry-level segment, while complete 3D Blu-Ray systems tend to be more expensive. Professional devices or special editions tend to be priced at several thousand euros.
Can I rent a home cinema?
Decision: What types of home cinema are there and which is right for you?
Basically, there are many types of home theatre systems and components. The choice of your favourite home cinema depends on the functionality offered, the construction and the design, and is sometimes determined by an existing device. Home cinema systems usually focus on the movie experience as a whole in terms of picture and sound. In particular, the combination of the respective devices allows for a logical distinction. Thus, it is always about complementing the image projection with one of the audio or playback technologies below. Thus, either a flat-screen TV (common technologies such as plasma, LCD, LED, OLED, …) or a projector or beamer with an associated screen serves as the basis for displaying the picture. You can also choose a complete system or individual components: Home cinema systems:
- External soundbar
- Surround sound speaker systems
- 3D/Blu-ray players Home cinema systems
The functionality and design of each of these types is slightly different, which brings with it individual advantages and disadvantages. Depending on how you like to enjoy movies and what you value most, a different type of home theatre system is best for you. In the following, we’ll help you find out which entertainment system or component is best for you. To do this, we’ll review each of the types of home theatre mentioned above and give you an overview of their advantages and disadvantages.
What is a home theatre with an external soundbar and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
In this type of home entertainment, the TV is connected to an external soundbar (a speaker) that produces the sound.
Also called a sound projector, this is an audio device up to one metre long that is usually set up near the TV. This solution is space-saving compared to the surround system explained in the next section, but still offers high-quality sound. Surround sound cannot be generated, but only simulated.
How does a surround sound speaker system work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
The special thing about a surround system is that it offers a versatile multi-channel sound system. So you have the advantage that you can choose and adjust a sound system according to your needs. While the well-known Dolby 5.1 was the first home cinema system with five speakers to come onto the market, there are also alternative systems in the spirit of technical development. These have a lower or higher number of speakers or more or fewer channels.
All surround home entertainment systems have in common that the speakers are distributed around the TV set or projector and the screen, as well as around you or behind you in the room, so that the most realistic spatial sound is possible.
What advantages and disadvantages does a 3D/Blu-ray player home cinema system offer you?
For some time now, the variety of available media carriers and the advent of 3D technology have also been available to you in the area of home entertainment. The advantage for you here is clearly the possibility of enriching your picture experience with 3D effects (picture and sound).
This means that from now on, your 3D Blu-ray home cinema system will give you an even more realistic experience of going to the cinema right on your sofa. The following areas in particular are to be distinguished:
- 3D picture as an extension to the 2D picture
- 3D sound as an alternative to Dolby ATMOS
3D home cinema systems, just like the Dolby surround systems presented in the previous section, are partly available in integrated form, so that you can get a complete system relatively easily.
Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate home theatre systems based on these factors
In principle, every customer defines his or her own buying criteria. However, we would like to help you find out which primary features you can use to make your decision. In the following, we will show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate a home theatre. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:
- Size / Dimensions / Weight
- Ease of set-up and operation
- Features and functions
In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.
Size / Dimensions / Weight
A large home theatre system always takes up space – don’t forget that. Depending on how often you sit in front of the TV or turn up your favourite music, you will want to give such a device more or less space in your household. The most space-saving solution is the soundbar described above. Large home cinemas with many loudspeakers and subwoofers, on the other hand, take up more floor space, but are usually a real eye-catcher that deserves a special “place”.
In principle, it is relatively difficult to directly compare the dimensions of home cinema systems and the corresponding weights because of the diversity and construction of the devices or the combination of several components. The frequently stated dimensions refer in particular to the loudspeaker boxes, which in turn depends on whether they are front, back or centre loudspeakers and what format they are in. In addition, you should also consider the size of the receiver and the subwoofers. Weight specifications are usually reduced to a package weight, which makes it a little more difficult to find out the exact weight of the respective components before you buy. Note that it is not always true that the bigger, the more professional.
The approximate dimensions of home theatre systems can be narrowed down depending on the type:
|Type||Dimensions (LxWxH)||Packaging weight|
|Soundbar home cinema||approx. 30 x 95 x 35 cm to approx. 100 x 50 x 25 cm||approx. 10 to 15 kg|
|Surround sound home cinema||approx. 25 x 15 x 10 cm to approx. 55 x 45 x 80 cm||approx. 10 to 30 kg|
The output power of your sound system is particularly important, although the size of the speakers is not necessarily decisive for their quality. The central “pivotal point” for the power that is often used as an assessment criterion is the wattage. It is important to many buyers, but also depends on many factors. Similar to the size of the speakers, a high number does not necessarily imply better quality. While the wattage is also dependent on the room size, for example, one could possibly say that products with lower values are more suitable for small rooms and those with higher values of 200 watts or more are probably more suitable for large rooms. When searching, you will quickly notice that there are large differences in the products and that you can find devices with over 1,000 watts.
Simplicity of set-up
Space-saving soundbars are easy to set up because they are usually wireless and can be placed directly under the picture. Multiple speakers and subwoofers require more installation from you, since you have to take care of several components. The correct positioning can usually be found in the instructions and is usually done in such a way that the speakers are distributed in the room according to the instructions, connected and then synchronised as automatically as possible. The connection to the TV is ultimately made using the (usually supplied) cables. In the case of HDMI connection, a suitable cable can also be purchased.
Of course, the choice of the right home cinema system is also always a certain design question. After all, due to their size, they are more than incidentally represented in a living room in most cases. A stylish design that perfectly matches the furnishings and all other furniture will certainly not only impress your visitors there, but also contributes to a comfortable “feel-good” atmosphere and often enhances the entire ambience. In principle, two features are particularly important here:
- The colour of the unit
- The shape of the components
The most common colour is black. Depending on whether you prefer a different colour, you can also get certain products in white, silver or a combination of several colours. As far as the shape of the Home Cinema is concerned, you basically have the choice between rather square, block-like or rounded designs. This is mainly due to the fact that the loudspeaker elements in particular are, as usual, rectangular. In many cases, however, it also depends on the size, whereby mostly narrow and tall, but sometimes also cuboid and flat designs can be distinguished.
Convenient extra functions
Especially home cinemas in the upper price segment shine with some extra functions such as wireless elements or a general operation via radio as well as with a high number of multimedia connections such as USB and HDMI Some surround sound systems also offer the possibility to easily find out and adjust the optimal alignment of the speakers at the touch of a button or with the included measuring microphone. Some products are also equipped with dual-band WLAN, which also enables the integration of audio streaming such as Spotify or Apple Air Play.
Of particular interest is the support of external systems, also from other manufacturers, so that combinations work without problems. In this context, you should research whether your TV manufacturer offers other additional items within a series. It is also worth taking a look at the accessories. For example, accessories that are supplied free of charge influence the prices of otherwise relatively comparable products. Non-slip surfaces are secondary but advantageous in order to ensure a certain level of stability.
Facts worth knowing about home cinema
What are the differences between 2.1, 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 or 11.2 home cinema surround sound systems?
You’re probably wondering which of these surround systems is best for you? In particular, it depends on the setup and the difference is made by the number of speakers and subwoofers. Using the number in front of the dot, you can see the amount of speakers, while the number in the back refers to the subwoofer. According to the motto “bigger equals more expensive”, this may mean price differences for you. Nevertheless, in a small room, a 2.1 system can be perfectly adequate. 5.1 systems differ from 7.1 and 9.1 systems in that they have two side speakers (left and right) and two additional tweeters. An 11.2 system, on the other hand, adds higher-positioned speakers and an additional subwoofer.
What is a wireless home cinema system?
With wireless home cinema systems, you benefit from the fact that you can do without annoying cable connections within your rooms. In particular, soundbars from many manufacturers often work wirelessly as opposed to extensive surround systems. Some manufacturers allow you to control and play films and music from mobile devices such as your smartphone or tablet via your home entertainment system by connecting via Bluetooth, WLAN or USB.
Where does the idea of a home entertainment system come from?
The idea for a home cinema system undoubtedly comes from the cinema itself. Every few years, many of these technologies become relatively affordable, leading to a wide range of entertainment devices. In particular, however, this has also changed the manufacturer side to the extent that products for the private sector are increasingly to be found. For film lovers in particular, the need for a high-quality cinema feeling has certainly existed for about as long as there has been a real cinema.
Appealing, high-quality picture technologies as well as sophisticated functionalities and optical refinements will leave nothing to be desired in the future.
Photo credit: Kilyan Sockalingum / unsplash.com