Welcome to our guide that explores some of best Home Theater Systems currently available on the market based on performance, popularity and price
Your favorite movie on the crisp, immersive display of your favorite big screen TV is not complete without a robust sound system to truly bring your movies or games to life. To recreate that cinema-like experience, one cannot rely on TV speakers, as they often sound tinny and muddy, with loud bass sounds often sending the overall low-mid-treble frequencies into a frenzy, losing much of the important qualities that make up an immersive experience.
5.1 and 7.1 systems are ideally what you should be getting if you are looking for the full on experience, however, it may be overkill for someone looking to just improve their TV sound. Not everyone is a home audio aficionado either, and therefore we thought it important to include 2.1 sound bars too. Bare in mind, a 5.1 and 7.1 system will more than likely require an AV receiver to power your speaker setup. Depending on your receivers capabilities, it should also also assist in decoding your favorite films or games into the full surround sound. Without further ado, here is our list of popular home theater systems available today.
Best Home Theater System under $200
The GPX HT050B 5.1 channel virtual surround sound speaker system offers a reasonably powerful performance at a decent price, with most users. Reports point to a good performances from the 6 speakers at medium volumes, but at louder volumes some found that they can distort. The 5 satellite speakers are said to deliver good mid and treble frequencies, but some suggested that the subwoofer could push out more bass. The speakers are surprisingly small according to some users, and produced audio that really did exceed their expectations. The volume and bass controls are found on the back of the subwoofer, which is a rather odd placement and they do not come with a remote control. The GPX HT050B are great for smaller rooms, but push the audio too loud and they may distort.
- Good sound reproduction from satellite speakers
- Compact design
- Good price
- Reported distortion at higher volumes
- May lack bass
The GPX HT050B 5.1 channel virtual surround sound speaker system is more suited for smaller rooms, as they perform best at medium volumes.
The Monoprice 108247 home theater speakers are 5.1 surround speakers are a good choice for those looking for entry level, affordable surround sound. Many customers have made positive remarks on their decent audio quality, saying that 8-inch subwoofer really does have great capabilities in terms of the bass production, and the 4 satellite speakers and center channels produce a clear audio that most found satisfying. The system’s RMS outputs 125 watts of power and it comes with included wall brackets for the satellite speakers. Some users thought that the speakers quality is average, saying that when they received their speakers, parts were broken or not working. The long term durability also comes into question, especially since a few reviewers pointed out that the speakers would blow after a being played too loudly, or they would simply stop working after a few months. The entire frequency range of the speakers and the subwoofer ranges from 50Hz – 20,000Hz. The Monoprice 108247 home theater system is perfect for those looking to get a decent entry level 5.1 surround sound system at an affordable price.
- Excellent price
- Good sound
- Good entry level system
- Quality control
The Monoprice 108247 home theater system delivers good audio and is a solid choice for those looking for an entry level system, but there were various reviewers who mentioned issues relating to durability.
The Acoustic Audio A5170 home theater system has impressed many users with its audio. Users found that for the price, the speaker system is able to deliver a big sound, with the bass often receiving a special mention. The speakers are defaulted to 2.1 sound, requiring one to manually press a button on the remote control to switch to 5.1 surround sound. Many thought they had purchased a faulty device for this reason. Their plug and play connections have been well received by users, suggesting that they can easily connect their preferred playback devices. The frequency response ranges from 20Hz – 20KHz, meaning the bass frequencies really extend quite a way down. The system Works with Flash Drives, SD Cards, has an FM Tuner and allows MP3 Players and pumps out 700-Watts of RMS power, which is more than enough to fill rooms. A few customer reviews pointed towards durability issues, with some having issues with the remote or with speakers not working after a long while. The speakers have a compact design and are easily moved around a room. The Acoustic Audio AA5170 home theater system easily fills rooms with its well reproduced sound and is the perfect option for those not wanting to break the bank.
- Good Sound
- Good bass
- Easy to setup
- Bluetooth connection is solid
- Reasonably priced
- Possible durability issues
- Overall design feels a little cheap
The Acoustic Audio AA5170 reproduces good audio with a solid low end and it is well priced, but they may be design quite poorly.
The Frisby FS-5010BT home theater system offers good 5.1 quality sound at a decent price. They are not very loud according to some reports, so are more suited to smaller home theater setups. They have a reliable Bluetooth playback with a range of about 30-feet, and are able to take USB, SD and MMC memory cards. One is able to control the levels of each speaker individually so you can get the optimal sound for your room. They simply plug in through a 3.5mm auxiliary cable to any playback device when one is not using Bluetooth. The subwoofer has the controls for the system and has the inputs for the USB, SD and MMC memory cards. It also has a LCD screen that displays the volume and where you can adjust the EQ level. The system does not seem to switch off, but instead only goes into standby mode, with one user pointing out that one can hear a persistent hissing sound coming out the speakers, which is quite annoying. The Frisby FS-5010BT home theater system is a good value for money 5.1 surround system that has a reliable Bluetooth strength and convenient plug and play features, but it is less suitable for larger rooms due to its reportedly low volumes.
- Good sound
- Value for money
- Ability to control each speaker's levels individually
- Not suitable for larger rooms
- Does not switch off, but instead only has stand-by mode
The Frisby FS-5010BT is more suitable for smaller rooms due to its lower volume output, but the sound quality is good and it has a reliable Bluetooth connection.
The Yamaha NS-SP1800BL home theater speakers do not come with an included speaker receiver, so these are more suitable for those who already have a receiver or who are planning on purchasing one. Many users reported that the satellite speakers deliver clear sound and that the center speaker as well as the subwoofer are powerful and reasonably accurate in their delivery of sound. The entire setup’s frequency response ranges from 28Hz – 50000Hz and the 10-inch subwoofer is 100 watts. The satellites speakers are 2-way speakers, meaning they have a tweeter and a small woofer. Many users found that the included wires were pretty flimsy and cheap feeling, suggesting that it’s wise to purchase additional wiring. All-in-all, the Yamaha NS-SP1800BL offer good sound quality and have a powerful subwoofer, but you will need a receiver and some additional wiring to set them up properly.
- Good sound quality
- Powerful subwoofer
- Doesn’t distort at higher volumes
- Included wires seem flimsy
The Yamaha NS-SP1800BL is a home theatre speaker package that requires a receiver, but they deliver great sound and have a powerful subwoofer. Their wiring may need replacing though.
The Polk SB5000’s 31-inch wide soundbar may only be a 2.1 channel soundbar, but it delivers crisp and clear sound that many home theater aficionados have praised. The full range audio delivered with the 6.5-inch 120 Watt subwoofer can get loud enough to fill smaller sized home theater rooms rather easily according to reports. The soundbar is fitted with two 80-watt 2.5-inch full range drivers and it is 2.25 inches deep, fitting easily in front of your TV. The Bluetooth wireless technology has aptx technology, which allows for CD streaming quality from your Bluetooth enabled audio source. The convenient “SmartBar” programming allows your SB5000 to learn your TV’s remote control, but if this does not work correctly, there is an included remote control. The built-in keyhole slots make it easy to mount and the wireless lossless technology drivers means that you can place the subwoofer within 50-feet of the soundbar and receive instantaneous subwoofer responses. It comes with a six-foot optical audio cable, plus analog audio cables for connecting to your TV set, and many users pointed out that the setup is really straightforward and easy. Some were rather disappointed that it couldn’t connect via HDMI, however. The Polk SB5000 makes a great addition to small home theater setups thanks to its awesome audio capabilities.
- Easy setup
- Wireless subwoofer
- No HDMI connection
- Some reports of Bluetooth connection issues with subwoofer
The Polk SB5000 soundbar has convenient Bluetooth technologies, but that does not mean it is always reliable. Its sound is great though and it has impressed many a user.
Best Home Theater System under $400
The Sony BDV E3100 5.1 channel home theater system offers a decent performance for the price tag. While the sound is described as decent by most of those who own this system, the bass was lacking somewhat for those who enjoy a low end rumble. Its Bluetooth streaming is said to work without a hitch and the Blu-ray player upscales non-HD material to near HD quality. The Wi-Fi connectivity gives you access to the Sony Entertainment Network, which gives you access to streaming services such as Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, YouTube, HuluPlus, and a few others. Another cool feature is its ability to display your multimedia from your PC through the use of DLNA, which really is rather convenient. The BDVE3100 is able to decode Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio for a full cinema feel. Some found that the included remote control is rather confusing and it includes some redundant buttons. The system is quite easy to setup as everything is clearly marked according to customers. The Sony BDV E3100 delivers a decent audio performance for the price and it is packed with neat features that will makes your viewing experience significantly more convenient.
- Decent audio
- Convenient smart features
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
- Lacks bass
- User interface not too polished
The Sony BDV E3100 5.1 channel home theater lacks the powerful bass that some desire, but its Wi-Fi connectivity allows for many great functions, such as streaming and syncing with your home network.
The Samsung HT-J5500W surround system is packed with some pretty cool features and has decent audio, despite some finding the bass to be underwhelming. It comes with one center speaker, two front speakers, two wireless rear and a passive subwoofer, with a total output of 1000 watts. The Blu-ray player not only plays 3D and 2D blue-ray discs, but it also upscales the video resolution of DVDs to near HD quality, producing clearer videos of your favorite old movies. Bluetooth enabled devices can stream through the HT-JW5500W too, and while some have pointed out that while streaming stereo music the two rear speakers do not work, Samsung have provided a troubleshooting guide for sorting out this issue, which seems to be related to users not changing the playback mode on the home theater system. The internet access allows one to transform their Smart TV into a Smart TV, allowing access to Opera TV store and the hundreds of apps available. This also give you access to the hundreds of movies, games, shows, and general information on Opera TV, improving your entertainment experience. The HT-J5500W is also easy to setup, with most users not experience real issues connecting it up to their television and Wi-Fi. It is Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound ready, immersing you both in beautifully crisp images and audio. The Samsung HT-J500W is a versatile home theater system that has a lot of neat functions and online capabilities, but its subwoofer is slightly underwhelming.
- Blue-ray player
- DVD resolution upscaling
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Clean, crisp mid and high frequencies
- Screen mirroring function
- Underwhelming subwoofer
The subwoofer threatens to underwhelm the overall experience for those who love deep bass, but the Samsung HT-J5500W offers users a Smart Blu-ray type experience with tts Internet connectivity and its DVD quality upscaling is also a great.
The Pioneer HTP-074 home theater system comes with a 5.1 channel AV receiver that has reliable Bluetooth technology. Its ultra HD pass-through allows for 4K viewing, considering your television, as well playback devices that pass through the receiver are HDCP 2.2 compatible. The speakers, coupled with the subwoofer, are said to offer a great home theater experience, delivering an immersive audio experience. It has an ECO Mode feature: Eco Mode 1 allows the system to operate with high quality sound while still saving energy; Eco Mode 2, which is high energy saving, allows for okay sound quality, suitable for more dynamic sound content, according to the product description. The receiver is packed with functions, and includes a front USB input. It supports Dolby TrueHD as well as DTS-HD Master Audio surround tracks, and the Advanced Sound Retriever has the ability to restore details in compressed audio tracks. The speakers are 150W each, while the subwoofer pushes out a 100W, with some users reporting that the system is not quite loud enough for large rooms. The Pioneer HTP-074 home theater system seems more suited to smaller rooms, but its immersive audio and 4K capabilities really makes this worthwhile purchase.
- Immersive and clear sound
- Packed with features
- Clean bass reproduction
- Next generation video standard ready
- Volume output
The Pioneer HTP-074 5.1 home theater system is more suited for small to medium size rooms according to some users, but it drives out good audio and is packed with features and next gen capabilities.
The ZVOX SB500 sound bar has been really well received by users. It has two really useful features: Output Leveling (OL) and AccuVoice. Output Levelling (OL) compresses the harsh volumes of commercials, while Accuvoice reproduces voices in a significantly clearer way. The overall sound qualities are good, with the SB500 making use of three speakers and two subwoofers that supposedly delivers a decent low end that reaches 42Hz. One gripe that some had, however, was that if they wanted even lower bass that could only be produced by an external subwoofer, they could not plug it into the SB500, as it does not have an output to cater for an additional subwoofer. The cabinet is made from aluminium and the SB500 can be programmed to work with any remote according to the product description. CNet has also described the design as “the best-looking“ ZVOX they have ever tested, and have suggested that is among the best for the money. The ZVOX SB500 delivers clear speech and great overall audio with a good bass for a sound bar, but it cannot take an additional subwoofer due to not having the necessary output.
- Good sound qualities
- Output Leveling (OL) and AccuVoice functions
- Good bass reproduction for a sound bar
- No output for additional subwoofer
On top of good sound quality, the Output Leveling (OL) and AccuVoice functions make the ZVOX SB500 sound bar a great addition for home entertainment theaters.
Best High-End Home Theater Systems
The Bose CineMate 15 sound bar has impressed many users with its deep and rich bass reproduction. The low end is not too overwhelming, but present enough to blow away most of those who own this setup. The sound bar itself surprised some customers due to its small size of 3.25 x 12 x 2.75 inches, but their anxieties were quickly dispelled when they heard its audio capabilities. The subjective opinions of the user experiences varied though, with some finding the system is more suited to gaming due to its average dialogue reproduction clarity. The TrueSpace technology recreates detailed, spacious sound from the 12-inch wide soundbar. It has multiple audio inputs: optical, coaxial and analog and it is said to be quick and easy to setup, simply requiring one to plug in the power cable and plug. The Acousticmass module has a bass control on it, but anything else that you want to tweak needs to be done on the included universal remote. The universal remote gave some a headache, finding that it was tricky to set it up with their other components. The Bose CineMate 15 2.1 sound bar produces impressive audio and a sense of space from the small sound bar thanks to its use of Bose’s TrueSpace technology, and the Acoustic module packs a punchy bass that completes the overall great setup.
- Great bass response
- Good reproduction of spacious, open sound
- Ease of use
- Solid build quality
- Universal remote difficult to setup with other components
The 2.1 Bose CineMate 15’s sound bar may only be 12-inches, but its audio reproduction easily blow some of the competitors out of the water.
CNet.com has described the Onkyo SKS-HTH870 7.1 surround system as having an “excellent sound quality”, and this was reinforced by many positive comments from reviewers on Amazon.com. Users thought that from the low end to the treble frequencies, the speakers were able to produce a full bodied sound. Naturally, the subjective experiences of some individuals differed, with some finding fault with various aspects of the sound frequencies. However, positive views outweighed the negative reactions. The only notable critical aspect was that at higher volumes, some found that the speakers did distort somewhat. Most users liked their design and found that the black finish looks professional and found that the speakers are built solidly. The setup includes a center speaker, 2 tower speakers that are on stands, 4 satellite speakers and the subwoofer. The subwoofer is 230 watts with a 10-inch cone, and all the other speakers have a 130 watts maximum power. The Onkyo SKS-HTH870 7.1 surround system has excellent audio reproduction qualities across the frequency spectrum, but some did notice some distortion at higher volumes.
- Excellent sound quality
- Full bass
- Easy to setup
- Well priced for 7.1 surround sound speakers
- Some reports of distortion at higher volumes
The Onkyo SKS-HTH870 7.1 surround sound system has an excellent sound quality, but a few users noticed some distortion at higher volumes.
The Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V 5.1 surround system delivers a pleasing sonic performance for a home theater system. They require a decent receiver as these are passive speakers. Users thought the low end produced by the 2 drivers in the Acoustimass module was powerful and that the mid and high frequencies that the angled drivers inside the speakers drive out is more than satisfactory. Some thought that all the extras that one needed to buy was annoying, especially those who wanted to wall mount their speakers, and those who have pre-wired houses, which saw them requiring adapters for the wiring. Most found that the overall setup of the speakers are reasonably straight forward and the wires are clearly marked. The cube speakers are said to be “Direct/Reflecting” speaker, meaning the drivers have been angled in a way to encourage a more immersive sound. Many reported hearing no distortion at loud volumes and said that the solid and sturdy build of the speakers possibly contributed to this. One may require a few extras for the Bose Acoustimass 10 Series V 5.1 home theater speaker, but they do produce a good sound which made positive first impressions with most users.
- Good sound qualities
- Deep Low end
- No reported distortion
- Sturdy and solid build
- Excellent customer support
- Extras required, especially for pre-wired houses
The Acoustimass 10 Series V 5.1 surround sound system may need quite a bit of extras, but the overall audio with the solid low end frequencies have received quite a few positive remarks from customers.