Best home theater system: creating the perfect home cinema

The best home theater systems are proof of how times have changed. It wasn’t long ago that the idea of ​​a home theater system was a ridiculous idea – held back by small TV panel sizes, poor screen resolution, and sub-par audio quality.

These days, however, the time has never come to create a home theater system worthy of big screen movies.

Why? For one thing, televisions are getting bigger and bigger. The average television sold today will be a 55 “screen while the best 65” televisions are the fastest growing part of the market. 4K TVs are also capable of packing in 8 million pixels of detail – or even 33 million pixels for the 8K TVs that are coming out now (though there isn’t really enough 8K content yet to justify this ).

The growth of 3D audio codecs like Dolby Atmos and wireless speakers also means you can recreate cinema audio in the comfort of your living room, making watching movies at home more immersive than ever.

So what kit do you really need to create the best home theater setup on your street?

Making a decision can be difficult, so we’ve put together this handy list of the best gadgets in each category. However, if you want to do a little more research, be sure to check out our dedicated guides on the best TVs, sound bars, Dolby Atmos speakers, surround sound systems, Bluetooth speakers, and 4K Blu-ray players.

Of course, by the beginning of 2021, we’ll see new AV hardware worth adding to this list, but right now these are the devices that are really worth buying for the best home theater system you have to be able to imagine.

LG CX OLED

(Image credit: LG)

The TV: OLED TVs from the LG CX series

A fascinating OLED television

Specifications

Screen size: 48 inches, 55 inches, 65 inches, 77 inches

Resolution: 4K

Plate type: THEY ARE

Smart TV: webOS

HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision

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Reasons to buy

+Excellent picture quality+Gorgeous super slim design

Reasons to avoid

Heavy bass can be distortedNo HDR10 + support

The LG CX OLED is certainly the best OLED TV we’ve seen so far, and while a new model could overtake it in 2021, the CX is still the TV to buy for the best home theater system today.

With mesmerizing picture quality and an outstanding webOS Smart platform as well as some modern updates like HDMI 2.1 and an a9 Gen 3 processor, it fires on all cylinders – and the smallest 48-inch OLED TV size means it can fit into a multitude of homes . With a sleek design and support for Dolby Vision and Atmos – along with the roaring built-in audio – it’s a fantastic choice in any size.

LG also wants to delight gamers with extremely low input lag, support for Nvidia G-Sync and compatibility with 4K / 120Hz gameplay for next-gen consoles. You’re not going to get an HDR10 + here, unfortunately, and British viewers are missing out on all of their favorite catch-up apps, but make no mistake – this is an amazingly good OLED TV.

It’s worth noting that the sound isn’t quite as good as the picture, but if you’re putting together a whole bunch of home theater system devices, the soundbar or speakers listed below should fix this.

Read the full review: LG CX OLED

Sonos Arc

(Image credit: Sonos)

The soundbar: Sonos Arc

The best soundbar you can buy right now

Specifications

Dimensions: 1141.7 x 87 x 115.7 mm (W x H x D)

Speaker configuration: 5.0.2

Dolby Atmos: Yes sir

Connections: HDMI input (ARC), optical digital audio to HDMI converter, bluetooth, ethernet connection, 802.11b, g Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, IR receiver

Reasons to buy

+Dolby Atmos, TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus+Discrete all-in-one soundbar+Amazing surround sound and music playback

Reasons to avoid

Doesn’t fit in every room

Sonos offers a new surround sound solution that is completely contained in a single soundbar called Arc.

We are not sure whether the device got its name from the HDMI interface used, from the curved sound it emits or the fact that it is perhaps metaphorically a vessel that provides impressive surround sound for the modern minimalist home delivers whatever the system is out to short out the surround sound game.

The Sonos Arc leverages Dolby’s latest TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus sound codecs to deliver the best lossless audio quality found on cutting-edge Blu-ray discs and some of the leading streaming services. Then the 3D soundscape is enhanced using Dolby Atmos object tracks to bounce certain sounds off the walls around you, making them feel like they’re coming at you from all directions.

All of this may sound complicated, but Sonos Arc setup couldn’t be easier and only requires a few steps in the smartphone app. The minimalist cable connections and all-in-one system construction add to that straightforward feel and streamlined aesthetic – making it the best soundbar you can buy in 2021.

Continue reading: Sonos Arc rating

A photo of the Focal Sib Evo speakers

(Image credit: Focal)

The speakers: Focal Sib Evo Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 speaker system

A sound system to win over technology freaks

Specifications

Dimensions (Sib Evo): 252 x 162 x 162 mm (H / W / D), subwoofer 305 x 282 x 299 mm (H / W / D)

Dolby Atmos: Yes sir

Speaker configuration: 5.1.2

Reasons to buy

+Stylish room-friendly design+Excellent subwoofer integration+Integrated Dolby Atmos module

Reasons to avoid

Bell wire speaker connections

Do you prefer a true surround sound setup from a soundbar? The French specialist Focal has produced a Dolby Atmos sound system that could win over even the most reluctant technology freaks.

The Sib Evo 5.1.2 package combines two compact Sib Evo Dolby Atmos speakers for left, right and height channels with a slim Cub Evo subwoofer and three smaller Sib Evo satellites for center and rear surround.

The Sib Evo main speakers cleverly incorporate a 76mm full-range up-firer for Atmos audio in addition to the front-facing speaker drivers. The entire set looks positive in piano lacquer black.

Despite its compact size, this focal system has range and attack. All satellites share the same mid-range speaker and the same soft dome tweeter, which supports the timbre adjustment.

The subwoofer integration is spectacularly good and crosses effortlessly with the front soundstage at 100 Hz. The sub cannot produce subterranean bass, but is brave thanks to a downward-facing 209 mm woofer and built-in 200 W amplification. The system’s slam to footprint ratio is impressive.

However, if you’re looking for a great looking Dolby Atmos speaker package to partner with a mid-range AV receiver and want to create a stunning surround sound system for your home theater setup, this Focal speaker package is definitely one of the shortlisted options.

Continue reading: Best Dolby Atmos speakers

Panasonic DP-UB9000

The Blu-ray player: Panasonic DP-UB9000

The first 4K Blu-ray player to support HDR10, HLG, HDR10 + and Dolby Vision

Specifications

Supported resolution: 3840 x 2160

Smart TV: Yes sir

Dimensions: 430 x 81 x 300 mm

Weight: 7.8 kg

UHD upscaling ?: Yes sir

Wireless Internet access?: Yes sir

3D support ?: Yes sir

Supported HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10 +

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Reasons to buy

+Fantastic picture quality+Four types of HDR support+Powerful HDR display optimizer

Reasons to avoid

No SACD or DVD audio playback

While more and more 4K quality content is available through smart TV apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime, the number of pixels you end up seeing depends on the strength of your internet connection – and investing in a 4K ultra HD Blu-ray players can be a sensible way to ensure that you are getting the most out of your favorite 4K Blu-ray movies.

The DP-UB9000 is Panasonic’s newest flagship 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player and after Oppo has begun winding down its competing devices, the new model is one of the top spots in the high-end player market.

Beautifully crafted and enviable in specification, this flagship 4K disc spinner is outrageously high quality. Aside from its good looks, the DP-UB9000 is also the first UHD deck from Panasonic to support all major HDR formats: Vanilla HDR10, its dynamic brother HDR10 +, HLG and Dolby Vision.

You will, of course, need a TV that supports these formats: Dolby Vision and HDR10 + are competing formats, with LG TVs supporting the former and Samsung devices packing the latter. If you want your entire kit to be brand compliant, Panasonic high-end TVs are now included in both and should sit nicely above your new Blu-ray player.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the next-generation PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles come with 4K Blu-ray players built into the hardware. So if you are an avid gamer you may already be covered in this category.

Continue reading: Panasonic DP-UB9000 review

samsung premiere

(Image credit: Samsung)

The projector: Samsung The premiere

The next generation of living room projection

Specifications

Projection system: Three laser DLP

Resolution: 4K

Brightness: 2,800 lumens

Projection size: 100-130 inches

Video inputs: 3x HDMI, 1x RF, optical, 1x AUX out

Dimensions: 550 x 141 x 367 mm

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Reasons to buy

+HDR10 + and 40W audio+Complete TV-style smart system

Reasons to avoid

Some rainbow effectOperating system can be sluggish

After more than a decade since its last home theater projector, Samsung has exploded back on stage with the Premiere LSP9T projector.

This ultra-short-throw projector uses 4K HDR laser projection, whereby a three-color laser no longer needs a color filter and the 2,800 lumens brightness of the Premiere really comes into its own. The images are expressive and colorful, and Samsung’s first worldwide introduction of the HDR10 + format, which adds scene-by-scene image calibration in compatible movies and TV shows.

This projector also benefits from the full implementation of Samsung’s smart TV operating system, which – albeit a bit sluggish at times – is incredible on a projector compared to the simple and poorly organized interfaces we’re used to. The built-in 40 W speakers are also above average.

With a maximum 130-inch image, a host of high-end and world-first technologies, and a TV operating system that addresses one of our main complaints about the best projectors available today, Samsung’s The Premiere is a knockout choice for a new home cinema projector.

It’s expensive, at £ 6,999 / $ 6,490 / AU $ 10,999 – but it’s undeniably a great choice for those who can afford it. For everyone else, there are plenty of other great projectors to consider.

Read our full review: Samsung The premiere projector

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