What’s the best home theater system? Well, it depends on you, the one in the driver’s seat. There are so many different ways to deliver on a killer home theater system across a variety of room types, budget types, and personal preference. And we cover them all right here. A good sound system will make any TV look BIGGER. A killer surround sound speaker system will give you goosebumps. And the ultimate Dolby speaker system will truly suspend your disbelief and transport you to other galaxies. We’re here for all of it.
There are three types of home theater shoppers. Some folks love the process and dive in head first, reading about all the options, researching how different component combinations deliver different results, and so on. Other folks could care less about options, details, and specs – they just want an awesome home theater, thank you very much. And then there’s the biggest group: everyone in the middle. Our “Best Home Theaters” guide was written for all, but especially those looking for veteran experts to share their picks of the best home theater systems.
Below you’ll find our picks for best home theater systems in a variety of categories: best for the money, best looking, best in show, and so on. Along the way: no hype, no bull – just some occasional we-can’t-help-ourselves honest enthusiasm for a great home theater experience. You can also check out our recommendations for surround sound systems and speakers here. With more than a dozen World Wide Stereo home theater pros leading the way – and also standing by to answer any and all questions – you got this.
Enclave CineHome II 5.1 Wireless Home Theater Surround
3.5mm ANALOG, BLUETOOTH INPUT – Don’t let that vinyl go unheard! With a 3.5mm analog your turntable can be connected with ease. Stream all your music? We’ve got you covered with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity for simple use with any mobile device or tablet
Klipsch HDT-600 Home Theater System
Four high gloss satellites, one center channel and one subwoofer
Exclusive Klipsch horn-loaded technology
Dimensions: Satellite: 6″ x 3.6″ x 3.85″; Center channel: 3.6″ x 9″ x 3.85″; Sub: 14” x 13.5” x 13.5”
8-inch down-firing, fiber composite-woofer
Amplifier: 100 watts
Sonos Arc - The Premium Smart Soundbar for TV
Voice control – Amazon Alexa is built right in, so you can play music, check news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, completely hands free
SAMSUNG HW-Q950A 11.1.4ch Soundbar
Package Quantity: 1
Package Dimensions: 129.54 H x 27.94 L x 60.96 W (centimeters)
Package Weight: 27.216 kilograms
Country of Origin : VietNam
Harman Kardon HKTS 16BQ 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker
Complete 5.1 channel home theater surround sound system
Voice-matched, two-way, 120W satellite speakers
Powerful, down-firing, 200W subwoofer
Bass-boost controls and phase switches for subwoofer
Upgradable to 7.1 channels
Onkyo HT-S3900 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver
120 W/Ch. (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 Channel Driven) with discrete output stage circuitry and six-channel analog amplifiers
What is a Home theatre System?
The answer may be obvious, but the definition is sometimes confusing- some people have different ideas on what it is. But, for the most part, a home theatre is essentially a high-quality sound system. There’s a large gap in sound quality between a standard speaker and a home theatre system, which is more extensive. Immersion is what makes watching things on TV more enjoyable and having a good home theatre system will give you that and much more.
A home theatre system is essentially a combination of 5 speakers, and a subwoofer plugged into an AC receiver in a way so that the audio resembles surround noise, similar to that of an actual movie theatre.
How many speakers will you need?
As a thumb rule, the more speakers you get, the better. You can enjoy a home theatre-like experience with a few speakers, but to have an authentic home theatre experience, you need to have at least 5. In this speaker combination, there will be one in the centre in front of you, two on your left and right and another two on each side of your rear. There will also be a subwoofer.
The centre speaker will sound out most of the dialogue while the rest of the audio will be distributed evenly across the other speakers. That way, you get the audio coming from all around you.
What do the channels mean?
You’ve probably seen some home theatre systems use 5.1, 7.1 and other similar numbers. These mostly refer to the number of outputs the audio can be channelled through. So, in other words, the numbers are how many speakers the system uses. For instance, in a 5.1 home theatre system, there are 5 speakers. The .1 part indicates if the system uses a subwoofer or not. So, the 1 means there’s 1 subwoofer.
Some home theatre systems also have another number to them, like 5.1.2. Here, the 2 means that there are 2 Dolby Atmos speakers.
Although a lot of music formats only need two channels (left and right ones), having more channels adds to the level of immersion the home theatre system can offer. You should at least go for five channels, or even seven if you can. With seven, you can have the equivalent of a full-fledged cinema sound system at home.
Home theatre Vs. Soundbars
Home theatres are an excellent choice for speakers in your home. However, you also have an alternative; a Soundbar. They aren’t all that great when it comes to immersion, but they do provide good bass and low-frequency sounds. More importantly, they’re still a huge step up from a TVs in-built speaker. High-end TVs usually have pretty good speakers, but having either a soundbar or home theatre with one will still enhance the sound significantly.
So, if you want a bit more of an affordable option as an upgrade for TV speakers, then soundcards are a good choice. They’re compact, easy to set up and have decent sound. Although, you still won’t be getting the immersion of a cinema-level sound system. That’s where home theatre speakers excel at. They take some time to set up, but these speakers are easier to put in different locations, and you also get several options based on room size like 5.1, 7.1.2, and so on.
Things to consider before buying the best home theatre system in India
One surround system isn’t necessarily suited to every activity. Every one of the surround systems we’ve listed is excellent, but you probably won’t have much use out of them if you use them where they aren’t all that needed at.
In other words, you have to consider what you’re going to use them for. If you want to play games or run regular music playlists, then 5 speakers aren’t all that important. You can go for systems with fewer speakers.
However, if you intend to watch movies, then a bigger system will undoubtedly be beneficial.
2. Room Size
The size of your room will determine the placement of all the speakers of the home theatre system. Based on it, you’ll likely be paying a lower or higher price for the theatre system.
Always count for the room’s size before you get the speakers- compact speakers might look good, but if you have a large room, then you’re better off getting bigger speakers.
Also, do note that the room you install a home theatre system in should be about at least 15 ft long, with a 12 ft width and 8 ft ceiling height for a proper home theatre experience.
Consider what sources you’re going to connect to the system before you get it. There are various systems which have different numbers of connectivity options. If you want to connect your mobile with the system to play something, then you should look out for the models that include Bluetooth and NFC.
4. Audio Quality
Of course, to get the best home theatre system for yourself, you have to make sure the speakers of the system stand up to the mark in terms of quality. Generally, the best audio is offered by theatre systems with more speakers, like the 5.1 ones, where there is RMS power support. This support enables the speakers to create high-quality audio with no left out details. Although most makers test their systems for the bass, dialogue and surround sound quality, you can still get an idea of the quality by yourself.
In a 5.1 Home theatre System, you can take a look at the two main speakers to get a feel for the quality. For the most part, these speakers handle all the dialogue and other sound audio. They come with a switch that allows you to run certain speakers rather than all at once. You can use the switch to make sure each speaker provides good audio.
Another thing to take a look at is the subwoofer- generally, home theatre systems have subwoofers with good bass. If you go for a system with a dominant subwoofer, then you can get an idea of its energy volume through the RMS power rating. You can also get an idea of its capabilities looking at the subwoofer’s peak power.
The entire home theatre system is centred around the Audio-Visual (AV) receiver. It’s responsible for interpreting and processing audio signals from a TV and sending them out to the speakers.
In terms of features, you don’t really need to get much as you likely wouldn’t have a use for the additional features. So, you can opt for a reasonably cheap AV receiver with essential features and still be satisfied with it. That is, unless you’re a full-on audiophile. In that case, you probably should get an AV with extra capabilities in case you need them later on. However, you should at least get an AV receiver with 5.1 output.
You’ll get more usability and quality in the long run if you choose to get one with Dolby Atmos and with seven channels rather than five. Although, you should only get the latter if you know your room can support it.
It would be best if you thought about getting a good AV receiver because such a receiver can correctly process the audio signals and send them to the proper channels. It can also serve as a central unit for all the wireless and wired speakers around your home. Better yet, if the AV receiver is wireless, it can stream things as well, like music and even podcasts.
Lastly, some can also offer you various audio modes so that you can select them based on the condition of the area surrounding the speakers.
When it comes to design, there’s a wide choice available to you for a home theatre system. Some come with streamlined accent, eye-catching symmetry and even glossed surfaces. With such a large variety, you won’t have any problems finding something that fits into the decors of your home. Generally, the high-end home theatre systems come with universal designs that can fit into different kind of homes.
7. Build quality
Getting a stylish sound system at a reasonable price may seem like an excellent deal. However, do make sure to consider the rest of the build quality before making your purchase. Doing this is important because the build quality will have a direct impact on sound quality.
If you’re picking speaker cones, then getting ones made with glass fibre is an ideal choice. That’s because you also get a practical benefit with these- this kind of material enables broader frequency, leading to better overall sound quality and faster responses.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to save as much power as possible, you can go for speakers that have magnetic fluid. Additionally, they also offer excellent audio clarity and fluid suspension. There are also speakers that come with mica-reinforced cones, which can stretch the consistency of sound pressure. As a result, there’s an improvement in frequency extension.
Some systems are also designed to be compatible with floor stands, which enable you to raise the speakers to ear levels.
8. Wattage and Compatibility
Home theatre systems are based around two main components- the receiver or amplifier and the speakers. The receiver needs to send enough power to the speakers to make the whole system function properly. To make sure it can do that, you can refer to the RMS or Root Mean Square wattage levels.
The RMS wattage, also sometimes referred to as continuous wattage, indicates the amount of power a receiver can provide to a speaker over a period amount of time.
Although, you should also keep in mind that RMS and Dynamic wattages are not the same thing. You have to make sure both are in the same range as the amplifier range that’s indicated on the speaker. For instance, if the amplifier range of a set of speakers is 20-150 watts per channel, then you have to get a receiver with an RMS and Dynamic power in the same range.
It would be best if you make sure these are in range. Otherwise, The speaker will get damaged when you run high-quality audio tracks for a long time. To keep everything functioning at highest potential, you should use a receiver with less RMS power than the speaker’s maximum range.
One more thing you should check is the power that’s supplied to the device at a certain resistance level. It should be somewhere on the box with the Ω(Ohm) symbol. You have to make sure the value of the symbol is the more than the speaker’s requirement. For example, if a speaker requirement says it needs 60W of RMS amplifier power at 10Ω, then you should see if your receiver can produce more than 10Ω.
9. Additional Features
Once you’ve made sure that the base audio fits your taste, there are certain features you can keep an eye out for, which can improve your home theatre experience. Such features include remote controls, backlit/LED display, Bluetooth support and Music/Video streaming capabilities.
When it comes to sound equipment, brands really play an essential role. There are some brands like Sony, who have perfected the art of audio production and have been making audio devices for a long time. If you want the best home theatre systems in India, then you should look towards these brands. They can also offer you good build quality, reliable warranty and excellent customer service.
Warranties vary by the product and brand. Generally, you get at least a year of warranty if you buy the system from an authorised dealer. It’s best to get a product from a popular brand in this scenario, as later on, you can get repairs done to the system within the warranty period. A popular brand is ideal because they fix up devices much faster than the brands that aren’t as well-established.
Budget is going to really decide what your final purchase will be. If you’re going for cheaper systems, you might have fewer speakers, compatibility and average sound quality. If you want to save some money, then you should go for a 5.1 Home theatre System, or a 7.1 one if it fits your room and is within your budget.