The 8 Best Home Theater PCs to Buy in 2018

Watch your favorite flicks on your computer, just bring your own popcorn

As technology has advanced, the definition of a Home Theater PC has changed. Back in the day, building a home theater PC required careful forethought and planning. With slow streaming speeds, clunkier graphics processors and a lack of entertainment options stored online, you needed the best processors and storage to create your system.

Things are a little easier today. Streaming video on Netflix and Hulu will work on all but the slowest machines, and music services such as Spotify cut back on your required storage. Still, you want a machine that has a powerful processor, video card and plenty of RAM. Your options are either to opt for one of the All-in-One PCs that look like a TV (with speakers and components in the monitor) or to buy a desktop, speakers and monitor separately and assemble your package. Not sure which one to spring for? We've included a few options from each category on the list below.

Best Overall: HP Pavilion All-in-One Desktop

The HP Pavilion sports a 23.8” IPS Full HD LED-backlit touchscreen sports a 1920 x 1080 resolution that looks great in smaller and medium-sized rooms. The cinematic experience is again bolstered by powerful integrated speakers, which fill the room with loud bass and crisp audio.

The Pavilion includes an optical ultra-slim DVD burner, a three-in-one media card reader and a wireless mouse and keyboard. The processor is an ultra-fast Intel Core i3-6100T Dual-Core processor that clocks in at 3.2 GHz and is complemented by 8 GB DDR4 memory. You can store plenty of multimedia files in the 1TB 7200RPM SATA hard drive or stream them over 802.11ac Internet.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: HP Envy 27” All-in-One Desktop

This sleek, high-end all-in-one desktop from HP is a modern and powerful machine that will satisfy all of your entertainment needs. The first thing you notice is its 27” QHD IPS WLED-backlit Micro Edge touchscreen, constructed from floating glass balanced on a thin metal stand. Once you power up the computer it comes to life in Technicolor certified 3.7 million pixels for ultra-sharp definition. The beautiful image is complemented by HP quad speakers that are custom tuned by Bang & Olufsen to make an engrossing home cinematic experience.

The entertainment is powered by the latest and greatest specifications. Included is Windows 10, an Intel i7-7700T processor, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M Graphics and 802.11ac WiFi. These are all top-of-the-line components that you would find in a gaming PC, but conveniently assembled with the monitor. Control the action with a wireless keyboard and use Bluetooth 4.2 to connect any other devices you need. This machine may be pricey, but it does everything and looks great in the process.

Best Value: Acer Aspire 7th Generation Tower Desktop

This desktop tower is simple but packed with powerhouse features at a baffling price. The i5 7400 processor can clock speeds up to 3.5 GHZ, and the 12GB of DDR4 memory supports it with more speed. There’s a 2TB SATA hard drive for what’ll seem like limitless storage and the Intel Graphics 630 graphics card will give you crisp picture performance. There are 4 2.0 USB ports and 3 3.0 ports for ultimate flexibility, and at under 7 inches wide it’s so slim it’ll fit basically anywhere. It runs Windows 10 and offers a DVD-RW drive for burning DVDs once you’ve watched the films. But, as we mentioned up there, the best part is the price… because with all those savings you’ll be able to add a top-notch monitor, an insane speaker set, and even more.

Best Budget: Dell Inspiron 24 3000 All-In-One

Dell’s Inspiron 24 3000 has something for everyone in the family, making it Amazon’s choice for an All-in-One PC. The display is a 24” Full HD wide-viewing-angle screen that is thin and colorful. The attractive display is accompanied by integrated Waves MaxxAudio speakers and powered by a 6th generation Intel i3-6100U processor.

The package also includes an Intel HD Graphics card, 500GB HDD, 8GB DDR3L memory and a four-in-one Media Card Reader. Dual band 802.11ac Internet and Bluetooth 4.0 give you a host of connectivity options, while a DVD drive and several USB 3.0 ports give you more ways to view your media. This PC is engineered for powerful performance, whether it be for gaming or watching 4K media, but is built at a value price. 

Most Compact: Lenovo Slimline 300s

This slim desktop tower will fit nicely in a media center and has the components you need to run all of your multimedia needs at an affordable price. It has a 3.2 GHz Intel Core i5-4600 processor and 8 GB DDR3L RAM, giving powerful speed to handle 4K streaming video. You can store your music, movies and pictures on a 1TB SATA hard drive. You can also burn DVDs and CDs in the attached burner or stream with the 802.11ac Internet connection. Other connections includes a seven-in-one card reader, HDMI, VGA, expansion slots and USB 3.0 ports.

Runner-Up, Best Value: Acer Aspire AIO Desktop

This all-in-one PC from Acer has everything you need for an enjoyable cinematic experience. It looks sharp with a solid black outline surrounding the Full HD 24” screen that features IPS technology. The image works in harmony with lively sound from Acer TrueHarmony and Dolby Audio components. Meanwhile, a 2.8GHz 6th generation Intel Core i5-6400T processor delivers exceptional power, while 8GB of DDR4 memory assure lightning-fast performance. NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics will present Full HD action for your gaming and multimedia needs and an ergonomic tilt can be adjusted for the best viewing angle possible. The best part is that once you invest in this, there is no further purchase necessary. The slim monitor with silver matte finish and included wireless keyboard and mouse are all you need to have an excellent cinematic experience from your PC

Best for Gaming: CybertronPC Rhodium 950 X8

While this is billed as a gaming PC, it can do the job of a home theater PC with ease. CybertronPC builds and manufactures all of their products in the United States. Their team of experts partner with key component vendors to assemble the latest and greatest machines at value prices. That’s why this PC outperforms those at a similar price range and is cheaper than brand-name PCs with the same components.

At the heart of it all is an AMD FX-8300 3.3GHz Octa-Core processor and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Graphics card. Speed is complemented by 16GB of DDR3 memory and all your media can be stored on a 1TB SATA 3 hard drive. Media enthusiasts will also appreciate the six USB ports and DVDRW drive. Finally, the machine has a distinctive blue build that will look great in your home.

Best Processor: HP Envy 34-inch Curved All-In One Desktop

At first glance, you might think the real shining aspect of this all-in-one is the glorious, massive, curved screen. And while that is definitely true—and it makes for a great home theater experience—the processor is nothing to sneeze at either. It’s a 2.9 GHz quad-core intel Core i7 processor that works in tandem with a completely separate graphics AMD Radeon processor and 16GB of RAM to provide truly gorgeous picture and performance. That 34-inch curved display we mentioned offers QHD resolution and the Ban & Olufsen-designed speakers offer mind-blowing sound to go with your flicks. It runs Windows 10 for the most up-to-date performance and the 1TB SATA drive alongside the 256GB SSD provide ample storage for downloaded movies, and expandable accessorization will make it fit any application you can throw at it.


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