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Best Overall: Pioneer 5.1 HTP-074 at Amazon
"The 5.1-channel receiver supports Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby ProLogic II."
Best for PC: Logitech Z506 Surround Sound at Amazon
"Its THX-certified speakers are wall-mountable to create a truly custom surround sound experience."
Best Wireless: Enclave Audio CineHome HD 5.1 Wireless at Amazon
"The entire system is wireless, eliminating the need for connection cables and allowing you to customize your setup."
Best Under $500: Yamaha YHT-4930UBL at Amazon
"Calibrates itself to your living room, basement, or media room to deliver an optimal listening and viewing experience."
Best Under $1,000: Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V at Amazon
"It delivers powerful bass as well as crisp mid- and high-range sound."
Best for Music: YAMAHA YHT-5950U with MusicCast at Amazon
"You can connect Spotify, Pandora, Sirius internet radio, TIDAL, and other music streaming services directly to the receiver."
Best for Small Rooms: SVS Prime Satellite at Amazon
"The speakers include a single aluminum dome tweeter for exceptional high tones and four slim mid-range speakers."
Best for Basements: Klipsch RP-260F Bundle with Yamaha RX-A850 at Amazon
"This system has five robust speakers and a hearty subwoofer to help create the perfect listening and viewing experience."
Best for Samsung Smart TV: Samsung HW-R550 with Wireless Subwoofer at Amazon
"This simple home theater system is optimized specifically for use with Samsung smart TVs."
2 energy saving modes
Reports of DOA receivers
Reports of dead speakers
Whether you’re buying your first home theater system or you're an experienced A/V nerd looking for a well-rounded system, the Pioneer HTP-074 is the best home theater system on the market. The receiver features ultra HD (UHD) passthrough to support the 4K resolution and a playback rate of up to 60fps (frames per second). It’s also 3D ready for an extra layer of entertainment whenever you play movies.
The 5.1-channel receiver supports Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby ProLogic II for superior surround sound and audio quality. The receiver also has Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream movies and music from your laptop or mobile device. The system comes with five compact speakers and a single subwoofer, making this system ideal for small living rooms and apartments.
The system has two different Eco Modes that balance energy savings with audio quality for a great listening experience while going easy on your electric bill.
THX certified speakers
Speakers are wall mountable
Connect up to 6 devices
Reports of failing receivers
Reports of failing speakers
If you’re an avid PC gamer (or use your computer to stream movies and music on a regular basis), check out the Logitech Z506 home theater system. The entire system is optimized for use with computers, game consoles, and mobile devices. Its THX-certified speakers are wall-mountable to create a truly custom surround sound experience.
The receiver is compact, perfect for small TV stands or desktops with limited space, and features both digital and analog connections, so you can use it with everything from modern PC rigs to retro game consoles. You can connect up to six different devices and switch between them easily with the included remote control.
As a whole, the system delivers up to 500 watts of stable, consistent power, and peaks at 1000 watts when you need absolutely room-shaking sound. The speakers and subwoofer utilize 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound so you never miss any audio details in your music, movies, and games.
Fast and easy set up
Analog, optical, and Bluetooth connections
Reports of inconsistent performance
Reports of speakers disconnecting from receiver
Reports of bad remotes
The biggest hassle of setting up any home theater or surround sound system is figuring out how to best place and hide the wires that connect the speakers to the receiver. With the Enclave Audio CineHome home theater system, you won’t have to worry about that. The entire system is wireless, eliminating the need for connection cables and allowing you to customize your setup to accommodate oddly shaped rooms. The Smart Center acts as a central hub and allows you to connect several systems together without needing a second receiver.
The five speakers utilize 5.1-channel Dolby Digital surround sound to provide a truly cinematic experience. The Smart Center features three HDMI inputs as well as an HDMI pass-through, CEC, and ARC connections. The receiver also has Bluetooth connectivity and utilizes an app to connect your smartphone or tablet to the system and download firmware updates. Setting up the CineHome system is fast and easy; the system is ready to go right out of the box with a plug-and-play set up process.
Auto-calibrates to your environment
Reports of audio distortion
Reports of DOA units
May not work with older game consoles
If you’re looking to buy your first home theater system, but don’t want to break the bank, take a look at the Yamaha YHT-4930UBL home theater system. With a price point that’s easy on the wallet, the system still packs quite a punch. The receiver has Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music and movies from your smartphone or tablet. It also has Ultra HD pass-through, allowing you to watch movies and TV shows in 4K/60fps.
The entire system also automatically calibrates itself to your living room, basement, or media room to deliver an optimal listening and viewing experience no matter where you are. The subwoofer and speakers have an extra bass setting that converts a few speakers into secondary subwoofers for truly deep bass when you need it. The glossy black veneer on the speakers, subwoofer, and receiver add a touch of modern style to almost any home theater decor.
Best Acoustimass system
Great for large rooms
Color coded cables/connections for easy set-up
Wall mounting brackets not included
Reports of damaged speakers
Cable management may be difficult
If you’re willing to spend a bit more on your home theater system to achieve a higher caliber listening and viewing experience, turn your head to the Bose Acoustimass 10. This system is the best-performing Acoustimass product and produces the high-quality sound you’ve come to expect from Bose. It delivers powerful bass as well as crisp mid- and high-range sound.
The speakers have been redesigned with a slimmer profile for a more modern style and flush wall mounting. Setting up the Acoustimass 10 system is fast and easy with the color-coded cables and connections. The subwoofer module features downward-firing drivers that utilize your floor to create a greater bass impact for a more dynamic listening experience. The module also has rubber feet to protect your hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring from scratches and dents.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
Stream music from multiple sources
Calibration process might confuse
Folks looking for a home theater system to primarily stream music ought to consider the Yamaha YHT-5950U system with MusicCast. This receiver is Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled for connecting to a wide variety of devices, televisions, and computers. It also features AirPlay, so you can stream your iTunes or Apple Music playlists with ease. You can connect Spotify, Pandora, Sirius internet radio, TIDAL, and other music streaming services directly to the receiver as well.
The system is compatible with MusicCast 20 and MusicCast 50 wireless speakers for true surround sound. You can place them in different rooms in your home so you can enjoy your music no matter where you are. The system also has the Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO) and a microphone designed to precisely adjust the audio from your system by listening to how the sound reacts to the room.
Ultra compact design
Tweeter speaker included
SoundMatch tech for smooth transitions
No receiver included
If your living room or media room is short on space, but you want a home theater system that’s big on sound, check out the SVS Prime Satellite speaker system. The five speakers and subwoofer feature an ultra-compact design that’s perfect for rooms where space is at a premium. The subwoofer measures just 13 inches so it can be tucked away behind a couch, TV stand, or even a curtain. It is built with an aluminum shorting ring to reduce distortion and a cast ABS plastic and fiberglass basket to precisely align components for superior bass.
The speakers include a single aluminum dome tweeter for exceptional high tones and four slim mid-range speakers to provide a fuller sound when streaming music or movies. The system utilizes SoundMatch 2-way crossover technology for smooth transitions between sound frequencies and directional sound. Its Black Ash veneer adds a touch of classic style that will complement almost any living room or media room decor.
Rich, full sound even at low volumes
7.2-channel surround sound
Setup is complicated
If your media room is in your basement, you know that balancing sound can be difficult with the lower ceilings and thicker walls. The Klipsch RP-260F home theater system has you covered. This system has five robust speakers and a hearty subwoofer to help create the perfect listening and viewing experience in your basement. You can use the place the pair of tower speakers on either side of your television while the satellite speakers fill in dead space, for a fuller, richer sound.
The subwoofer measures just 12 inches, allowing you to hide it away behind TV stands or other furniture while still delivering a powerful bass tone. The system comes with a Yamaha RX-A860 receiver that is capable of 7.2-channel surround sound and 4K UHD picture quality. It also features Yamaha’s signature YPAO calibration microphone to make sound optimization a breeze. The matte black and metallic copper color scheme of the system will add a bit of modern industrial style to almost any space.
Auto calibrates settings
Dedicated game mode
Reports of subwoofers resetting to factory default settings after power down
When looking for a sound system that will work with your smart TV, it can be a hassle to make sure everything is going to work together. Thankfully, the Samsung 2.1 Soundbar is here to take out some of the guesswork. This simple home theater system is optimized specifically for use with Samsung smart TVs so you never have to worry about connectivity or compatibility issues. The soundbar and subwoofer are wireless, allowing you to place them wherever they are needed to provide the best listening experience.
The soundbar has a Game Mode that utilizes bespoke, gaming-specific settings to boost in-game sounds that make you feel like you’re right in the action. The soundbar also automatically analyzes your media to optimize the sound to get the best listening experience out of your living room or media space. The system can also be expanded with the wireless surround speaker kit for even more immersive sound. The home theater system is easy to set up with its plug-and-play connectivity, and you can control both the soundbar and your television with the Samsung OneRemote.
Surround sound - Do you want to be surrounded by the action of your favorite films? For those seeking a room-encompassing experience, keep your eyes peeled for 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound offerings. A 5.1 system will offer two rear, two front, one center channel, and a subwoofer, while a 7.1 will include two additional speakers for the sides.
4K and HDR - Not every receiver will support newer technologies such as 4K video or standards such as Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range). If your television supports these abilities and you wish to take advantage of them, make sure your receiver can handle the job.
Pass-through - How many items do you have in your home theater system? Be sure to select a receiver that can handle the number of devices that you will want to use. For example, someone with a cable box, Apple TV, PlayStation, and Xbox will need at least four inputs.