- Home theater systems are more affordable than ever before due to technological developments in the past decade.
- Buying a home theater system can help reduce spending on entertainment and redirect that money to other necessities.
- Having a home theater system allows for greater control over your entertainment options and the ability to pause and resume at your convenience.
- A home theater system can elevate the experience of hosting home parties by providing a comfortable and immersive entertainment experience.
- High-quality home theater systems offer better audio and visual quality, enhancing the overall viewing and listening experience.
Home theater systems are audio-visual entertainment devices that recreate a cinema’s environment within the confines of a home. Initially, not many people could muster enough reasons to buy a home theater system.
However, the technological developments of the past decade have allowed consumer electronics manufacturers to produce high-quality home theater systems at a low cost. As a result, home theater systems are more affordable than ever before.
Despite such improvements, you might still be wondering why you need one. This article highlights the primary reasons. We also recommend several products that offer the best value for your money.
If you are on the fence about buying a home theater, read on to see several reasons you could benefit from a home theater system. Let’s get to it!
1. Reduced Entertainment Expenses
One of the main reasons to buy a home theater system should be to reduce your entertainment-related expenses. Entertainment is one of the highest non-basic spendings in many households. That’s because it includes activities like going to amusement parks, the cinema, a live sporting event, and concerts, among others.
Buying a home theater system helps minimize your spending on entertainment and funnel that money to other necessities, like healthcare or savings. For example, you can watch most of your favorite movies at home instead of spending money on tickets and snacks at the theatre.
A home theater system also allows you to watch live sporting events from the comfort of your home instead of spending hundreds of dollars on matchday tickets. Overall, a home theater system is an excellent investment to reduce your outdoor-related entertainment expenditure.
2. Control Over Your Entertainment Options
All forms of entertainment enjoyed outside your home have limitations that can interfere with your experience. For example, cinemas have tight schedules dictating when and where you have to be to enjoy a movie.
Similarly, stadiums and sporting arenas have stringent time constraints, especially when hosting multiple events on the same day.
- Seven piece home theater system with Yamaha receiver
- Yamaha YPAO room optimization
- 4K compatible 5.1-channel stereo
- CINEMA DSP technology with Dolby
Such limitations can interfere with your day in several ways. For example, you might receive an urgent phone call during a movie or game, forcing you to miss part of the action.
On the other hand, having a home theater system helps you avoid such issues. You can watch a movie whenever you want or enjoy music at your pleasure without having to leave your property.
If you need to get something done urgently, you can pause movies, music, and live events and resume at your convenience.
3. Elevated Experience When Hosting Home Parties
When you don’t have a good entertainment system in your home, you, your family members, and your friends are forced to seek entertainment elsewhere. As a result, you will find yourself in crowded, loud spaces like bars or shopping malls that restrict what you can do.
Conversely, a home theater system transforms how you host your parties. The multiple speaker layouts and large TV screen ensure everyone you invite to your home enjoys the movie, game, or music.
Moreover, you can control the number of people occupying your space, improving comfort and the overall value of the entertainment experience.
4. Better Audio-Visual Quality
Sound and video quality influence how people consume audio-visual entertainment. Poor audio or picture quality often undermines people’s attention spans. For example, you may notice people dozing off, using their phones, or leaving.
However, high-quality equipment like home theater systems changes how people consume sound and video. Such a system creates an environment that draws audiences in as they want to listen to incredible sounds and watch captivating images.
Most home theaters have surround sound, which helps engulf a room with thundering bass and fine-tuned treble sounds. Moreover, most home theaters have passthrough capabilities for high-quality video formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+.
5 Best Home Theater Systems
Now that you know the reasons to buy a home theater system, you may want to get one for your space. Below are our top picks for the best home theater systems you can buy today.
Best Overall: Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4
- Four 2-way rear speakers
- 10" wireless subwoofers
- Spatial Surround Elevation SSE Technology
- 3 advanced audio processing engines
Nakamichi is not a brand known to many; however, the brand has over seventy years of experience building high-quality audio devices. The company first gained prominence due to its cassette decks in the 1970s, but today it maintains its reputation thanks to its Shockwafe series of home cinema entertainment systems.
The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 is our top pick for the best home theater system you can buy. The Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 delivers unrivaled surround sound thanks to its multiple speaker arrangements.
It includes a soundbar, a wireless subwoofer, two side surround speakers, and two rear surround speakers. The multiple speakers offer numerous placement options, making the device ideal for any space, including large rooms.
This home theater system also has Nakamichi’s proprietary Spatial Surround Elevation (SSE) technology, which helps enhance audio output. The technology’s Spatial aspect enhances audio detail and maximizes a room’s volume to improve the surround sound effect.
The Surround aspect up-mixes the 9.2 channels to 9.2.4 channels and guarantees uniformity of the surround sound effect. Lastly, the Elevation aspect analyzes formats like Dolby Atmos and Dolby DTS:X to incorporate height into sound processing, allowing listeners to experience sound from multi-directional vertical angles.
Regarding connectivity, the Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 has one HDMI (ARC) out, three HDMI in, a USB-A port, a coaxial and optical port, and a 3.5 mm analog input. The device also has Bluetooth support.
Ultimately, experiencing the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2, even when walking past an appliance store, will give you enough reasons to buy a home theater system.
Best Premium Option: Sonos Ultimate Immersive Set with Arc
Sonos entered the audio equipment industry quite late compared to its major competitors like JBL, Sony, LG, and Bose. However, that did not deter the company from creating a niche in the industry’s high-end segment.
One of the company’s best-performing devices is the Sonos Arc soundbar, which delivers impeccable surround sound and offers high-quality sound processing. However, you can improve your experience by buying the Ultimate Immersive Set with Arc. The set includes the Sonos Arc, Sub (Gen 3) wireless subwoofer, and two Era 300 smart speakers.
The three devices offer the perfect balance of low- and high-frequency sounds. The Arc has eleven amplifiers consisting of three tweeters dedicated to high-frequency sounds and eight elliptical woofers that produce mid-range frequencies.
- Features Dolby Atmos
- Enhanced Trueplay tuning technology
- Support for AirPlay 2 as well as many favorite music streaming services
- Blends in beautiful underneath a TV
The Sub has two amplifiers dedicated to frequencies as low as 25 Hz. Meanwhile, the Era 300 has six amplifiers consisting of four tweeters that produce high and mid-range frequencies and two woofers for low frequencies.
The sound output is further improved by surround sound and Dolby Atmos technology. The four devices pair with each other to fill every corner of the room with multidirectional and voluminous sounds.
The Arc, Sub, and Era 300 speakers are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible, which minimizes the need for cables. You will only need power cables for each device and an HDMI cable to connect to other devices like TVs. They also support voice command features like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Sonos Voice Control.
In addition, all three devices have attractive minimalist designs. The Arc has an elongated cylindrical shape that complements the TV. In contrast, the Sub (Gen 3) has a cuboid shape with a rectangular cut-out in the middle, complementing the interior decor.
Best Surround Sound: Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 System
- Tractrix 90° X 90° horn technology
- Copper cones add a classic feel
- Front and back speakers for 360-degree sound
- Aluminum tweeters
As the name suggests, the Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos is a 10-channel home theater system that delivers incredible surround sound. It comprises two side speakers, two rear speakers, a soundbar, and a woofer.
The device has numerous features that help amplify its surround sound capabilities. For example, it has aluminum tweeters with Linear Travel Suspension (LTS), reducing sound warping and producing better sound definition.
On the other hand, its Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) woofers are light and firm, guaranteeing low-frequency sounds and bass with minimal interference.
Overall, the Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 offers surround sound with a better height definition than most home theater systems and amazing sound clarity.
Best Budget Option: Sony HT-S40R
Not everyone can spend $500 or more on a home theater system. Some consumers want a decent and affordable system like the Sony HT-S40R home theater system.
The system consists of a soundbar, two wireless rear speakers, a wired subwoofer, and a digital amplifier with a power output of 600W. Despite not having Dolby Atmos, the system has a more than capable 5.1-channel surround sound feature powered by Dolby Digital, guaranteeing precise sounds.
Regarding connectivity, the HT-S40R is Bluetooth and NFC compatible. It also has a USB port, an HDMI ARC port, and an optical port. Overall, the Sony HT-S40R offers value for money, given its affordable price.
Best for Large Rooms: Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1.4 Channel
- SSE Technology (3 advanced audio processing engines)
- 105dB of room-filling sound
- 35% wider soundstage
- Newly-designed 8" down-firing wireless subwoofer
The Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1.4 Channel home theater system comprises a soundbar, subwoofer, and two rear surround speakers with thirteen drivers combined. The system has a total audio output of 600W, with 330W produced by the soundbar, 180W by the subwoofer, and 90W by the surround speakers.
The Shockwafe Pro 7.1.4 is ideal for large rooms, as it has an 8-inch down-firing subwoofer that pumps sound toward the floor, allowing low-frequency vibrations and sounds to distribute evenly across the room.
The subwoofer is also complemented by the two rear speakers, which have tweeters that generate high-frequency sounds resulting in an ideal blend of low, mid, and high-frequency audio.
The Shockwafe Pro 7.1.4 has Nakamichi’s Spatial, Surround, Elevation (SSE) Processing Engines, which help distribute surround sound within a room by up-mixing sound, creating height, and incorporating audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS: X.
For connectivity, the system has three HDMI inputs, one HDMI (ARC) output, a USB port, optical input, coaxial input, and a 3.5mm analog input as well as BlueTooth version 4.1.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Home Theater System
Now that you know some of the best home theater systems available today, you must understand what to look for when comparing different models. Below are some factors to consider before buying a home theater system.
Channel layout refers to the number of speakers in a surround sound system and their functions. The most basic one is a stereo sound system consisting of two channels. However, most home theater systems have more than two channels.
Most home theater systems have a 5.1 or 7.1 channel layout. The 5 and 7 represent the ear-level speakers, while the 1 represents the number of subwoofers.
In other systems, you will find arrangements like 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 channels. The number 4 represents the number of upfiring speakers. Compare different models’ channel layouts and pick the option that matches your preference.
The home theater speaker design influences how much flexibility you’ll have when positioning the speakers in a room. Some speakers have stands that allow you to place them freestanding anywhere within a room. Others are smaller and lack stands, meaning you must place them on shelves.
Conversely, some speakers are bulky and large, meaning you must place them on the floor. Ultimately, ensure your preferred speaker design will complement your interior decor and not cause inconveniences, like hindering movement.
A home theater system should be compatible with devices from different brands. Some home theater systems will have issues synchronizing with TVs from other manufacturers, while others will only work with devices built after a certain date.
Other systems only connect with TVs that support wireless connectivity. Confirm the system you want to buy is compatible with the devices you already have at home.
Today’s devices have numerous audio and video formats. For example, some home theater systems have Dolby Atmos and DTS: X, while others have the inferior Dolby Digital and DTS: Surround Sound.
Therefore, before buying a system, check the audio and video formats supported on your TV or laptop and ensure the home theater system you buy supports similar ones.
Connectivity and Smart Features
The home theater system you pick should have several connectivity options to allow you to connect it to multiple devices. That includes having HDMI, USB, optical, and coaxial ports.
It should also have wireless connectivity options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC, if necessary. Ideally, the system should also include smart features like voice control.
|Reasons to Buy a Home Theater System||Best Home Theater Systems|
|Reduced Entertainment Expenses||Best Overall: Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2.4|
|Control Over Your Entertainment Options||Best Premium Option: Sonos Ultimate Immersive Set with Arc|
|Elevated Experience When Hosting Home Parties||Best Surround Sound: Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 System|
|Better Audio-Visual Quality||Best Budget Option: Sony HT-S40R|
|Best for Large Rooms: Nakamichi Shockwafe Pro 7.1.4 Channel|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com.