The sound quality at the movie theater can be hypnotic. Inside the theater, it is always a special experience, even if the film itself is not so great. For this reason, many people would like to recreate this experience in their own home. With today’s home theater systems, it is possible to do just that. These systems project surround sound so that viewers can fully immerse themselves in the experience in their own homes.

Depending on your budget and the space available in your home, you have a number of choices in home theater systems. Purchasing a home theater can be a complex decision because each model has a huge range of features. However, this detailed guide should tell you everything you need to know to make the best possible purchase for your style and budget.

Key Facts

  • Some of the best home theater systems come with a built-in Blu-ray player. This can be convenient if you need one (perhaps you want to upgrade your current player or need a new one). It is important to consider which formats are supported by the various systems.
  • 500W is generally sufficient for most situations. If you would like a system suitable for a large room or for somewhere which will accommodate a large number of people, ideally, you will want a system with 1000W or more.
  • Wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity options allow users to play movies and videos directly from a mobile device. If you are looking for a home theater with superior music streaming capabilities, you should look ford this type of connectivity.

Ranking: The Best Home Theater Systems on the U.S. Market

You deserve to enjoy your movie collection or your streaming subscription to the fullest extent. This means a high-quality home theater system. You have plenty of options to choose from in home theater. If you are looking for the best home theater at the right price for your budget, this list should be extremely useful.

No. 1: Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

This home theatre system comes from Logitech, a well-known brand and one which is synonymous with “quality.” This system offers 5.1 surround sound using Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Certified technology. The system also has a powerful 165 watt subwoofer.

With THX certification, you can be assured that these speakers will deliver authentic cinema-quality sound. The 4 satellite speakers each blast 67 watts of power and can be wall-mounted. Altogether, the system delivers powerful sound and deep, intense bass. The system can be connected to up to six different devices: TVs, computers, music players, gaming consoles and more.

No. 2: Yamaha YHT 5.1 Channel Home Theatre System

Yamaha has been one of the most recognized brands in electronics for decades, and it continues to deliver great products, including this 5.1 channel home theatre system. The compact system means that you can easily fit the speakers into even the smallest spaces, while still offering 5.1 channels of surround sound. You can easily connect the system to your devices with Bluetooth, meaning no need for unsightly cables all over your living room!

The system comes packed with features, including 4K Ultra HD pass-through with HDCP 2.2 support. Rated Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven) : 100 W (8 ohms, 0.9 percentage THD). It also has YPAO sound optimization for easy, automatic speaker setup. Its powerful 100-watt subwoofer delivers strong, quality bass.

No. 3: Sony S200F 2.1ch Sound Bar with Built-in Subwoofer and Bluetooth 

Give your favorite shows and movies the sound they deserve with a 2.1ch soundbar and built-in subwoofer.

This space-saving solution is designed to match the décor of your home, and puts you in the middle of the action with S-Force Pro front surround. HDMI ARC2 and Bluetooth technology1 ensure a seamless connection with your TV without all the wires. NFC: No; Input Output Terminals: HDMI™(ARC), Optical-audio input, USB type A

No. 4: Monoprice 5.1 Channel Home Theatre System

Surround yourself in high-fidelity sound with the Monoprice 5.1-channel Home Theater Speaker System!

This home theatre system from Monoprice is great for those on a budget. It is a 5.1 channel system, with four satellite channels, one center channel, and one subwoofer speaker. The subwoofer is not the most powerful available with 60 watts of power, but still delivers high-quality bass.

The system in general is rated for 125 watts of power at 8 ohms. The satellite speakers can be wall mounted for improved sound and to take up less space. This set even comes with its own mounting brackets.

No. 5: Sonos Playbar

Another compact option for those seeking to save space is the Sonos Playbar wireless soundbar. This model provides crisp, powerful sound from its nine amplified speaker drivers. Not only great for hooking up to the TV for movies and TV shows, you can also stream music wirelessly from your online music subscriptions.

PLAYBAR connects to your TV using a single optical cable and power cord and plays everything that is connected to your TV, from cable boxes to gaming consoles. Connect PLAYBAR or BRIDGE to your wireless router and link all Sonos players wirelessly with one touch.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Home Theater Systems

If you want to enjoy a film, a TV show or your favorite video game with the best possible sound quality, you need a home theater system! A home theater system will give you the bass and  sound effects that will create a unique atmosphere that your ears will love. In order to understand how to choose the best home theatre system for you, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

Home theatre systems let us watch our favorite TV shows and movies as they should be enjoyed.
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What is a home theater system and how does it work?

Basically, a home theater system, or home cinema, is one or more pieces of equipment designed to produce superior sound quality. It improves your experience when watching movies and TV shows, or when playing video games. You can install a system that meets your own specific requirements, as you can adapt it to almost any space or room configuration.

The best home theater systems have a panel which shows the high-frequency speakers and subwoofers that the model has.

The usual set-up will have 5.1 surround sound (four treble speakers and a subwoofer). However, there are also 7.1 and 11.4 versions. These will be connected to your AV receptor or a built-in amplifier which allows the system to produce a broad range of frequencies.

What are the advantages of buying one of the best home theatre systems?

At this point you may be wondering if it’s worth the expense of buying a high-quality home theater system. If you are a movie buff, if you using streaming services, or if you play video games, then the answer is “Yes!” A system like this can take your viewing and gaming experiences to the next level.

Advantages: A home theater system delivers realistic surround sound. Thanks to the wide range of models available, you will be able to find a system which suits your own particular space and budget. The combination of multiple speakers and a subwoofer allows you to play bass, mid and treble frequencies with more accuracy than other options such as traditional speakers.

Some models come with built-in high-resolution video players, which are compatible with a range of formats. Those that have Bluetooth connectivity open you up to a world of possibilities via your mobile devices.

Disadvantages: Because these are usually complex systems which can take up considerable amount of space, installation can be costly. The best models themselves can also be quite expensive, although this cost is mitigated by their longevity and the innumerable benefits they offer.

What different types of home theater are available?

The first option in home theatre systems is the number of speakers and subwoofers that the model comes with. This is indicated by the number given to that model. The most basic is the 2.1, however, this option can’t really be considered a “home theatre system,” since its features are quite limited. For home theatre systems, this option really starts at 5.1.

When buying a home theater system, you’ll find that some come with a built-in DVD and Blu-ray player.
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You can also distinguish between two different types of home theater systems based on their connectivity options: wireless home theater and HDMI home theater. The former largely or completely eliminates cables and works through wi-fi or Bluetooth systems, among others. The second type, HDMI, uses cables to transmit audiovisual information.

In recent years, other options have been added to the list (which may or may not fit the classification by connectivity). These include home theater projectors, which use a projection device, rather than your TV, to transmit the images. The other option is 3D, which provides an even more realistic and enveloping sound.

Stanley KubrickAmerican film director, screenwriter, and producer

“A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”

How do I install a home theater system?

The first important factor to consider when installing one of the best home theatre systems on the market is space. Think about the size of the speakers or the subwoofer. Verify that they will comfortably fit in the room where you’re planning to use them. Once you have purchased your system, position the speakers as evenly-spaced as possible throughout the room.

Once the speakers and the subwoofer are in place, it’s time to connect them. If you purchased a wireless home theater system, you will not need to worry too much about the cables. Otherwise, be sure to read the instruction manual for how to connect and turn on your new speakers and subwoofer.

There’s no point having the latest home theater system if it is not compatible with your TV.
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Finally, you must connect the receiver to the television, projector, computer or other device you are planning to use (provided they are compatible, of course). Now you can turn on your home theater system, TV or other playback device and make sure sound is coming from each of the speakers.

What type of speakers do the best home theater systems have?

The best wireless or wired home theater systems can have up to four different types of speakers. Equally, each type can offer one or more individual speakers. This depends on whether the system is 5.1, 7.1 or 11.4. The different types of speakers include front speakers, center speakers, back-surround speakers and side-surround speakers. Let’s break them down:

  • Front speakers: These are the foundation of the speaker system. They are placed on either side of the screen. To obtain the best results, they should be directed towards the viewer or viewers. That is, they should be placed in front of the viewers at an optimal distance.
  • Center speakers: In general, these speakers are placed behind the television, computer or projection screen. They are responsible for providing the intensity and power of the main sound of a movie, TV program or video game.
  • Back-surround speakers: These speakers are ideally placed on either side of the viewers. They play the rear audio channel, adding to the surround sound effect. Not all systems include them (for example, Dolby Digital surround).
  • Side-surround speakers: These speakers are placed on either side of the viewer(s). They do not need to provide exceptional sound quality, since they are intended only for the reproduction of certain sound effects.

What is a subwoofer in home theater systems?

The subwoofer in a home theater system is nothing more than a speaker. Of course, it has certain features which make it special. In fact, the subwoofer is what can make the difference between a mediocre or a quality home theater product. The subwoofer’s main purpose is to produce sounds of the lowest frequencies. This gives the sound more depth, guaranteeing a hyper-realistic experience.

Passive Active
Advantages A quality amplifier can promote a range of low frequencies. Active filters moderate the sound once it leaves the amplifier of the player.
Sound quality Vibrant sound similar to being in a movie theater. They allow a much sharper and brighter sound. Powerful in terms of decibels and level of noise produced.
Internal amplifier Lacking an internal amplifier, it is limited to receiving and reproducing auditory information The internal amplifier is a key component, so it is important this is of high quality.
Price They are usually the less expensive option They tend to be somewhat more expensive, although their level is generally higher.

Why do some home theater systems come with a player?

When looking at the best home theater systems on the market, you will see that some come with a built-in Blu-ray or DVD player. Your decision here will depend on the equipment you already own. Perhaps the speakers are all you need or maybe it would be a good opportunity to upgrade the player you have. It’s up to you.

Keep in mind that a home theater system without a player is usually less expensive. If you are going to buy one which comes with a player, you really want to make sure it can play Blu-ray. If you find one which can play other formats, even better. You should also consider the maximum resolution it allows and its compatibility with your current TV or projector.

HDMI connections are found in most home theater systems.
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What are decoders for home theatre systems?

The film industry has been developing decoding techniques for years which give a rich, three-dimensional texture to their sound. Each format was developed by a different lab and has its own patent. The best home theater systems have decoders which can reproduce the most popular audio systems:

  • Dolby Digital: Widely used in DVD, Blu-ray and digital Television. Specializes in the bass.
  • Dolby Digital EX: Variant of Dolby Digital format. Includes an additional channel. Compatible with the previous format.
  • DTS: The quintessential competitor of Dolby Digital. Similar features and present in a large number of players. Its main advantage is that it plays sound effects on a separate channel. The DTS-ES is the homologous version of the Dolby Digital EX.
  • Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Pro Logic II: These need fewer resources to produce a clearer sound compared to Dolby Digital decoders (both are run by the same company).
  • DTS Neo 6: Like the above format, its technology is based on matrices. It uses five or six channels with high-quality surround sound.
  • THX-Certified: More than a decoder, it is a certification which guarantees that the equipment offers at least the quality standards required to offer cinematic quality sound. It uses an exclusive equalization and is present in actual movie theaters as well as in home theaters.
  • THX Surround EX: Compatible with the previous decoders, it is able to create an atmosphere of surround sound through any source of home theatre audio.

Shopping Criteria

When deciding on which home theater system is best for you, it is not enough to know the basic things about this type of equipment. You should also evaluate a set of factors, for example: the space you have available and budget that you have. To make this easier, we have listed the main criteria that you should keep in mind when buying a home theater system.

  • Budget
  • Your current TV
  • Connectivity
  • Power and speakers
  • With or without a built-in player?

Budget

In general, a home theater system requires a certain investment. On average, they cost around $500, but there are cheaper options, as well as more expensive choices. Obviously, you should base your decision not only on your budget, but also on your needs. For example, if you already have a good Bluray player, why buy a home cinema with a built-in one?

On the other hand, if you are looking for a system with more than four speakers, you will be looking to pay more. Additionally, the best home theater systems that are compatible with laser type projectors usually come with a hefty price tag. You must evaluate all of these factors, as well as the audio quality that you are looking for. But don’t worry, there are many high-quality, affordable options.

George LucasAmerican film director

“In a movie action scene, the sound is fifty percent”.

Your Current TV

It is useless to have the latest home theatre system if it is not compatible with your TV or projector. It is also a shame to buy a compatible system that does not allow you to get the most out of the resolution it offers. For example, if you have a 3D TV, the best option is to buy a home theater system with 3D playback.

On the other hand, if you have a simple TV, you may not be able to afford a wireless home theatre system. You can also try using a projector instead of a regular TV. If you have enough space on the wall, and the room is large, the visual and auditory experience can be incredible.

Connectivity

HDMI connectivity is a feature of most home theatre systems. It should be your go-to option if you are looking for superior video quality and noise-free audio. This type of connectivity is also ideal in the gaming universe. So it is essential if you want to enjoy the latest movies or games with a unique sound.

Additionally, you can look for options like USB ports. These can allow you to enjoy digital content you have saved on your PC or external hard drive (videos, photos, or other types of scanned files). On the other hand, you may be interested in having Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. With it you can play content from your mobile devices.

For more information about connectivity, take a look at this detailed video:

Power and Speakers

Power is an important factor, but not a defining one. This greatly depends on the size of your space as well as the number of viewers who will be enjoying the system. The larger the space and the more people, the more power you will need. But you also don’t need something super-human. With 1000 W (common in many models) you will have more than enough power.

With or Without a built-in Player?

As we have already mentioned, some home theater systems incorporate a player. Decide if you need one, or if you prefer to buy a separate one (like a specific projector). On the other hand, whether wireless or not, think about its manageability. That is, you should be able to control the volume yourself, such as through a mobile device or remote control.

Summary

The best home theater systems offer an unprecedented listening experience. Everyone wants to enjoy movies, TV shows or video games as if they were really there themselves. With this type of device, it is possible to do just that. And even if you are on a tight budget, this doesn’t mean it is beyond your reach.

Of course, remember to assess factors such as compatibility with your TV or projector. In addition, you must decide if you prefer a system that is wireless or with cables, as well as if you want a system with built-in player. Take your time and get ready to start enjoying rich, immersive sound.

We hope this guide on how to buy the best home theater has been helpful to you. If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to share it on social media!

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