The 7 Best Home Theater Starter Kits to Buy in 2017

Bring the movies into your home

If you’re serious about getting the very best movie or TV experience in the comfort of your living room, you need a home theater system. The good news is we’re taking the work out of hunting down the speakers, the receiver, the cables and putting it all together in one convenient list. Home theater starter kits, also known as home theaters in a box (HTIB), offer everything you need for the best audio experience on your own. Surround sound? Check. Receiver? Check. Let’s take a look at some of the best options you can grab today.

The HT-S7700 offers you a superb audio experience with a full 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos experience thanks to one A/V receiver, five satellite speakers, one subwoofer, color-coded and pre-cut speaker cables and one subwoofer cable. With seven HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs, the system supports both TV and video projection without the need to swap cables. You’ll find WiFi, Bluetooth and Ethernet connectivity all standard and Onkyo’s free mobile app allows you to control the entire system from your phone or tablet.

Want to stream music from your computer? You’re covered thanks to the home network features. For those looking at future proofing, the Onkyo supports multidimensional sound for the latest 4K/60Hz games and movies, as well as HDCP 2.2 for future premium 4K releases from Hollywood, satellite broadcasters and Internet video streaming services. In other words, even if you don’t have a 4K-ready TV today, but your Onkyo system will be ready when you do.

Setting up the S7700 is a breeze, with all pre-cut wires matching the color on the receiver’s rear panel and even the color of the cables themselves. Once you’re set up, you’ll want to pop in a movie, kick up your feet and enjoy the full capabilities of the Dolby Atmos immersive audio experience. For the first time home-theater buyer, there’s no question the Onkyo will provide a fantastic and rich experience. 

Often in the world of electronics, the most stylishly designed products don’t come cheap. Such is the case with the Klipsch RP-260F Home Theater System Bundle, a beautiful home theater system that looks and sounds great. The Klipsch RP-260F bundle includes a pair of tower speakers, a pair of surround speakers, one center channel speaker, one subwoofer and a Yamaha RX-A850 surround receiver. All the speakers have gorgeous black and copper accents that will add a distinctive touch to your living room or man cave. To achieve great sound, Klipsch has designed these speakers with a compressed molded rubber construction to create a clean and natural sound.

The Klipsch Gallery G-16 is a 7.1 system that is arguably one of the best sound systems money can buy, though you’ll need a lot of money to buy it. The system includes seven flat panel LCR speakers, a SW-310 900W subwoofer and a Denon AVR-X2100W 7.2 Channel Network AV.

At 16 x 6 x 2.4 inches, the speakers have a sleek and modern design and can each be configured as a left, right or surround speaker. Meanwhile, the 13-inch cube subwoofer employs a BASH Digital Hybrid amplifier and non-resonant woven fiberglass drivers to deliver augmented bass unparalleled by most other systems. This package also includes a AVR-X2100W Denon receiver, which packs in nearly every home theater system feature imaginable: It has Wi-Fi to let you connect to your home network quickly, Bluetooth to simplify playback from your devices, support for next-gen 4K Ultra HD 60Hz sources and displays, extensive input and output options, among other things. It’s an advanced system that might be overwhelming to home theater newbies, so if you’re dropping this much money on system, it helps to know what you’re doing.

When it comes to sound, few manufacturers can top Bose for quality and consistency. If sound quality is your top priority and you’re shopping for a home theater system, you’d be silly to not look at the Bose Acoustimass 6 Series V.

The Bose Acoustimass 6 Series V is one of the most popular sound systems for average-sized rooms because the five included speakers are highly compact, but still offer great sound. The five speakers can be set up to completely surround you or can be mounted on your wall next to your mounted flat-screen television. As for the sound, the system combines to provide lifelike effects at any volume level without any audible distortion. So the next time you watch Twister, the cow scene will scare you even more.

Amazon reviewers have been satisfied with this model. The only complaint is that the instruction guide is a little hard to read, and it didn’t make clear that you can only use the included Bose cables to connect the unit to your TV. But now that we’ve told you here, you should be all set.

The Enclave Audio CineHome HD 5.1 wireless audio home theater system is also a fantastic system. Like the other “wireless” entries on this list, there’s no true wireless solution, just less centralized clutter of wires behind the TV. The Enclave set includes one center speaker/receiver, two front speakers, two smaller rear speakers and a subwoofer. The setup is a snap. Just connect the center speaker to the TV via HDMI, plug each satellite speaker into a wall outlet and, thanks to instant pairing connection, you’re ready to go. Did you notice the catch? You still have to plug each satellite speaker into the wall outlet thereby eliminating the Enclave as yet another truly wireless solution. Aside from that, each wall connector for the satellite is 2x3 inches which can cause some headaches if you have anything else plugged into an outlet.

One other niggle is the delayed startup time from the moment you hit the power button. The price won’t get you the very best in audiophile quality, but this system rivals the Onkyo for overall sound reproduction. You can add extra speakers for 7.1 for down the line, something not available from most of the competitors on this list. And, music fans will be happy to know that wireless audio is simple with any phone or tablet via Bluetooth.

Can you get 7.1-channel surround sound in your small studio apartment? Absolutely. While a sound bar system will never quite rival a traditional theater setup, those living in small spaces will be more than happy to sacrifice for fully functional home theater system.

Nakamichi offers one of the best sound bar surround sound systems on the market. It includes a wireless subwoofer, two rear satellite speakers, as well as a soundbar with Surround Effects Tweeters, five individually sealed speaker chambers and five DSP chipsets. Small spaces will come to life with 400 watts of sound delivering up to 104dB, while the eight-inch subwoofer provides ample compensation for this unit’s small size.

Your theater starter kit will keep up with the times, thanks to the latest firmware updates that deliver compatibility with Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital plus, bringing high fidelity audio resolution to your system. The sound bar connects to your screen with HDMI 4K passthrough, and even is compatible with Bluetooth.

If you’re trying to set up a home theater on a budget, you’ll want a modern receiver that can connect to all your favorite devices, plus a set of speakers and a subwoofer that can get loud while still maintaining good sound quality. Look no further than the Pioneer 5.1 Home Theater System HTP-074, which includes all of that at a very fair price.

The Pioneer 5.1 Home Theater System HTP-074 includes a 5.1-channel A/V receiver, five compact speakers and a subwoofer. The receiver is the star of the show, as it includes four HDMI inputs and Ultra HD (4K/60p/4:4:4) pass-through with HDCP 2.2. It also supports Bluetooth, so you can stream music or other audio types from your phone or laptop.

Customers said the system was “an awesome product for the money” and said this was great for connecting TVs and game systems, so you get to experience great sound no matter what media you’re taking in.

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