The Best Home Theater Setups of 2021

Everything for your ideal entertainment center.

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If your family room just has a basic TV, you might want to consider upgrading to a complete home theater. With a good home theater setup, gamers can enjoy their favorite titles in high resolution and with vivid surround sound, and friends and family can gather to watch sporting events, movies, and shows. 

Creating a home theater can be kind of a pain when you pick up items one at a time. You have to make sure your receiver is compatible with your speakers, and let’s not forget to mention all of those pesky wires. We rounded up three different home theater setups at different price ranges. Each of these setups include a TV, a soundbar for easier setup, and a cabinet to store your accessories and hide your wires. Check out our picks for the best home theater setups below.

Best Budget Setup

low end
What We Like
  • Clean and simple look

  • Fits with most decor

  • Good quality at an affordable price

What We Don't Like
  • No backing to the TV stand

  • Soundbar doesn’t have the strongest bass

  • Not ideal for extra large rooms

Getting an entire home theater setup that includes a TV stand, TV, and soundbar for around $450 may sound too good to be true—like you would wind up with a setup that’s not worth even spending the money on. But, prices on TVs and soundbars have declined over the past few years, and you can find budget options that will get the job done well.

The Lancaer TV Stand by Ebern Designs has a simple but clean look, with two cloth drawers for holding remotes, game controllers, or other accessories. There are also two shelves which can hold consoles, BluRay players, or cable boxes. It provides just what you need without all of the extras. The only thing we don’t like is that it doesn’t have a backing or a good solution for hiding wires.

Every home theater setup needs a good sound system, and the Vizio 36-inch 2.1 Channel Soundbar sounds good, and won’t hurt the wallet too much. It includes two front-facing speakers and two internal subwoofers. You’ll be surprised at the quality sound you get for the affordable price. Connect the Vizio soundbar to the TCL 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart ROKU LED TV. For around $260, you get plenty of screen space and a beautiful 4K picture, perfect for binging movies or watching the game. Having ROKU already integrated means you won’t need to fuss with any external devices in order to start enjoying your new setup right away.

Best Mid-Tier Setup

mid tier
What We Like
  • Alexa built in

  • Excellent sound

  • Modern design

What We Don't Like
  • Soundbar is on the larger side

  • No drawers in the TV Stand

Our selection for best mid-tier setup sees a jump in total price to around $1000, but you get a higher quality setup for that price point.

The Javier TV Stand by Brayden Studio has a modern look with clean sharp lines. It includes four open shelves that can hold any decorations or electronic devices you may need, and there is also a backing which will help keep wires organized and hidden.

The Sony HT-X8500 Soundbar is a big step up in quality. It includes Dolby Atmos/DTS X with Vertical Sound Engine and dual subwoofers, and you will get a simulated 7.1.2 surround sound experience for much less than buying a full surround sound speaker setup. Plus, you won’t have to worry about a receiver and hiding all of those wires around the room.

The SAMSUNG 55-inch Class Crystal UHD TU-8000 Series will provide you a crystal clear picture for less than $600, which is a pretty good value. You get a 4K smart TV that has Alexa built in, Bixby built in, and plenty of apps, allowing you to get watching with less devices. The crystal display displays clear brights and darks, and small details like the ability to hide wires in the legs of the stand means no eyesores while you enjoy your home theater.

Best High-End Setup

high end
What We Like
  • Spacious entertainment stand

  • Huge sound with minimal speakers

  • Outstanding TV picture

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

When you want to go all out for your home theater setup, we have the perfect selection. For a whopping $4,500, most of which is dedicated to the TV and sound system, you can be sure you are getting a top notch home theater package.

The Alisee TV stand is attractive and sturdy, available in either Black or Espresso. It features six cubbies for all of your storage needs. There’s a built-in cable management system that’s well crafted, ensuring you can be confident placing your expensive TV on it. 

If you’re looking for a sound system that will give you that movie theater feeling, the Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar System can do the job without breaking a sweat. The 7.1.4 channel system clocks in at 512W, and it comes with a soundbar, two satellite speakers, and a dedicated eight-inch subwoofer. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, so it can do double duty playing your favorite tunes. With a slim look and great performance, this soundbar packs a punch.

The SAMSUNG 75-inch Class QLED Q80T Series promises to deliver that wonderful eye-watering picture you have always wanted, even if some of that water is due to the price. The QLED picture provides amazing color and deep, rich blacks. Add to that an anti-glare screen, built in Alexa, and a Quantum 4K processor, and you start to see what makes this TV so great. The TV also includes 4K upscaling, and enhancements to gaming with Real Game Enhancer+. This huge TV will eat anything you throw at it, and ask for seconds.

Nice to Have

nice to haves

Projector: Anker Nebula Mars II Pro

Instead of having a fixed home theater setup in one place, you could instead go for a more portable choice which looks to bring the movie theater to wherever you like. The Anker Nebula Mars II Pro provides a 720p picture and can project from 30 inches up to 150 inches. It also has an internal battery, meaning you can watch a movie outside without messing with extension cords.

Projector: Aeon Fixed Frame Projector Screen

If you are going to go all in for an actual home theater with a home theater projector, you’re going to want to invest in a screen like the Aeon Fixed Frame Projector Screen. This screen costs around $340 dollars, but it’s quality construction will make you glad you spent the extra money, especially when you see how good your projector looks on it. You can hang it with a border, or using the Aeon Edge Free Screen.

Bluetooth headphones: Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System

Sometimes you want to watch the game or your favorite loud movie and really hear everything, but you don’t want to disturb the rest of your home. In that case, the Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System is the answer to this dilemma. With good sound, punchy base, and background noise reduction, you can truly get into whatever you are watching. The headset is comfortable, so you won't be hurting after a long movie. You can also add a second headset to the system so you can watch with someone else.

Media playback: Roku TV Stick

If you are going to be spending a lot on all of these devices for your entertainment, then you are going to need to get some actual entertainment, especially if you opt for a non-smart TV. 

The Roku Streaming Stick+ will let you use all of your favorite apps while also being tiny enough that you will forget it exists. Just a little bit bigger than a thumb drive, you can plug it in and quickly watch Netflix, AppleTV, Prime Video, and more in full 4K HDR. It even has features to let you control volume and other TV functions, so it can be your one remote to rule them all.

TV Mount: Cooper Square Full Motion Tilt/Swivel/Articulating/Extending Arm Wall Mount

There is something special about having a TV mounted on the wall. This Cooper Wall Mount will handle TVs from 37 inches to 70 inches. The best feature of this mount is the ability to tilt, swivel, and extend, letting you set your TV to the perfect viewing angle, and making it possible to change that angle should you ever rearrange your furniture.

Gaming console: PS5, PS4 Pro, Xbox X/S Series

There may not be anything better to test out just how beautiful and impressive your home theater setup truly is than a modern console capable of 4K resolution, like the PS5 or the XBox X Series. Amazing graphics combined with system testing surround sound will let you feel like you are really in the game. These systems can also double as your central entertainment hub, including all of the most popular streaming apps.

About Our Trusted Experts:

Erika Rawes has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 125 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets. Erika currently writes for Digital Trends and Lifewire.

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