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The Best Home Theater Systems in 2020: Top 10 Reviews & Buying Guide

Updated: July 18, 2020

For many people, the best home theater systems provide an excellent balance of good quality sound and easy installation.

In 2020, a top home theater system can give you a great audio experience to rival a more complicated setup.

But, without the added complication of buying individual components.

This buying guide will give you the low-down on all you need to know to get yourself up and running.

First, I will give you a general overview of what an all-in-one system is, and some of the features you should be looking out for.

After that, I will give a short review of some of my favorites models and highlight why they may give you a great movie theater experience in your living room.

Top 10 Best Home Theater Systems Comparison Table

Image Model Speakers Wireless Speakers? Dolby Atmos?
Yamaha YHT-4950UBL Home Theater System Yamaha YHT-4950U Home Theater System 5.1 No No Check Price
Sonos 5.1 Home Theater System Sonos 5.1 Soundbar Surround Set 5.1 Yes - all speakers Only with Arc soundbar Check Price
Polk Audio 5.1-Ch Home Theater Speaker System with Denon AVR-S650H Receiver Klipsch 5.1/Pioneer VSX-LX303 Bundle 5.1 1 x subwoofer No (Support for 9.2) Check Price
Enclave Audio CineHome HD Wireless Home Theater System Enclave Audio CineHome HD Wireless Home Theater System 5.1 Yes - all speakers No Check Price
Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment System Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment System 5.1 Yes - surrounds + subwoofer No Check Price
Nakamichi Elite 7.2 SSE Soundbar System Nakamichi Elite 7.2 SSE Soundbar System 7.2.4 2 x subwoofer Yes Check Price
VIZIO SB46514-F6 5.1.4 Home Theater Sound System VIZIO SB46514-F6 5.1.4 Home Theater Sound System 5.1.4 1 x subwoofer Yes Check Price
Bose Soundbar 700 5.1 Home Theater Set Bose Soundbar 700 5.1 Home Theater Set 5.1 Yes - surrounds + subwoofer No Check Price
JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar Surround System JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar Surround System 5.1 Yes - surrounds + subwoofer No Check Price
Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System Logitech Z906 5.1 Speaker System 5.1 No No Check Price

What is a Home Theater System?

It may seem like a stupid question, but one of the most difficult things is to pin down exactly what a home theater system is.

In simple terms, a home theater package makes it easy to improve the audio in your room. It allows you to turn off those terrible TV speakers and get a bigger and more satisfying sound when watching a movie.

All without needing a qualification in electrical engineering!

The problem is, there are different ways of doing this. So, the term 'home theater system' might mean something different to different people.

No wonder people get confused when trying to research this stuff!

When you search for the best home theater equipment to buy you are usually confronted with a long list of AV receivers, soundbars, surround sound speaker packages and all-in-one systems.

So, how do you decide what is best for you? Well, let's go back to basics and simplify this a little.

In my opinion, there are two main ways for home theaters to get good quality audio:

  1. to buy an AV receiver and a separate speaker package
  2. to buy a home theater system or soundbar

This article isn't about the first option. If you want to buy a receiver or separate surround sound speakers, then go to the following articles:

However, for many people, buying a separate amplifier and speakers is too complicated. They want an easier solution.

For them, the best option is to look for an all-in-one system or soundbar. These are systems that include an amplifier and speakers all in the same box.

When you buy one of these, you have everything you need without worrying about buying extra components.

This is what I will be looking at here.

Home Theater System Buying Guide

So, to recap, a complete all-in-one system designed for home theaters will combine an amplifier and speakers in the same package.

A few years ago, an all-in-one system was a different beast than it is today.

Previously, a system would often include an amplifier, a DVD player and surround speakers. All in a single package. This was often called home-theater-in-a-box.

However, times change, and this type of system isn't very common now. You may still see some budget home theater models around. But I wouldn't recommend these for great home theater sound. 

I think you should spend your hard-earned money on something better.

At present the main choice is between two types of system:

  1. All-in-one home theater systems: these come with some form of an amplifier and a complete set of surround sound speakers and subwoofer.
  2. Soundbar systems: all the speakers are built into a single, stylish and compact unit that you install under (or over) your TV. Some of these have separate surround speakers and a subwoofer to install around your room. Most have all the speakers contained in one box.

So, the first choice you need to make is, do you want a more traditional all-in-one system – or a soundbar system?

So, what are some of the points to look out for?

Do I Need to Buy an Amplifier or Speakers?

Every complete system will include these.

The main advantage of an all-in-one system is that you will be getting an amplifier and speakers designed to work well together.

You don't need to worry about matching the speakers with the amplifier. And, you don't need to be concerned with many of the technical details which confuse many people.

A complete package will usually include all the extras required to get it all up and running. Like speaker wire, for example. However, you may want to double-check this, as some may not.

Obviously, if you are buying a wireless system, then speaker wire won't be an issue!

Also, be careful when you are searching for these systems. You will find all types of products under this category – including complete surround sound speaker packages – with no amplifier included.

Many people get confused about this. They can end up buying a speaker package without realizing that they will need an amplifier to make it all work.

All the systems I mention on this page are complete systems with speakers and amplifiers.

What Connection Types Do I Need?

This is where it can get a little tricky. The point of improving your sound is so that you can hear the audio from your devices.

So, do you just want to hear the sound from your TV? 

Or, what about your Blu-ray player too? Some systems allow you to connect your Blu-ray player directly. Others don't.

What about Netflix or Amazon Prime? Or, your games console? 

Maybe allow for future purchases too?

You need to be clear what you want to be able to playback through the speakers - and then choose the right system that allows this.

Some systems will have one, or more, HDMI inputs. This will allow you to connect your games console or Blu-ray player with a single HDMI cable. Or, anything else that has an HDMI output.

HDMI, optical and coaxial connections on the rear of a media player

Others may have optical or coaxial audio inputs for audio only. Some may have all of these.

However, a few systems are limited in their input connections. 

A soundbar especially may have very few inputs. These are mainly designed to just play audio from your television. However, some models do offer more input options.

The way many modern soundbars get the sound from your TV is via an HDMI ARC connection. HDMI ARC allows the TV to send the audio down the HDMI cable into your soundbar.

However, if you have an older TV, you might not have an HDMI ARC connector. HDMI, yes, but maybe not the ARC version - which is newer.

In this case, you might need a system that has an optical connection. This is more common on older TVs.

Be clear on what you want to connect to your new audio system, and then buy the right product for your needs.

What Surround Sound Speaker Layout Do I Want?

As these speaker systems are for home theater, most will come with subwoofers and surround speakers. The most common layouts are 5.1 and 7.1.

For example, a surround sound 5.1 speaker system has a center speaker, two front left and right speakers, and two rear speakers.

The .1 refers to a subwoofer, which provides extra bass.

Some systems may not include surround sound audio and simply offer 2.1 or 3.1 instead. 

Maybe this is all you want?

My article on setting up surround sound gives more detail on these different layouts.

5.1 Surround Sound Speaker Layout5.1 Layout for Surround Sound

Systems with a soundbar usually have all the speakers in one box. These are all placed at the front of your room under the TV.

However, some soundbar systems do come with separate wireless rear or side speakers. In this case, only the front left, center and front right speakers will be in the soundbar.

A few all-in-one systems may support the newer 3D audio formats of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. A Dolby Atmos home theater system with upfiring or height speakers isn't that common - but there are some available.

Some soundbars have Dolby Atmos too. However, these extra speakers are usually located in the soundbar – rather than as separate rear or height speakers around the room.

Dedicated speakers around the room will give a much better surround sound experience. 

If this is important to you, decide which speaker layout you want, and buy the model that provides this.

Whatever speaker layout you go for, you should also consider the speaker placement in your room to get the best sound from your system.

How Much Power Does My Home Theater System Need?

This is an interesting one. When buying a separate amplifier and speakers, one of the main specs to look out for is the power rating.

The power rating gives a guide to how loud a system will be in the room. And how well an amplifier will drive a set of speakers.

When it comes to all-in-one systems and soundbars, my general advice would be to forget about power ratings.

I have found that getting power ratings that allow you to compare one system with another is almost impossible.

Some models like the Yamaha and Onkyo all-in-one systems give power ratings like they do with their standalone audio/video receivers. They are specifications measured against an accepted standard.

With these, you can compare one device with another. And, with experience, you have a fairly good idea of how loud it will be just by looking at the numbers.

Power Rating of a Yamaha YHT-4950U Home Theater SystemPower Rating of a Yamaha YHT-4950U Home Theater System

However, with many all-in-one systems and soundbars, this pretty much all goes out the window.

Some brands offer ratings that sound impressive because they are very high. However, they aren't measured against the same standards as those by Yamaha and Onkyo.

Any system which declares it has 1000 watts of power isn't really telling me much. Well, that's not quite true. They are telling me that I can't rely on their numbers to know how loud their system is.

In the real world, their systems won't be as loud as the specifications suggest.

Some manufacturers like Sonos and Bose don't offer any power ratings at all.

In some ways, this may be the best way to deal with the power rating for an all-in-one system.

The amplifiers and speakers are built to work well together. They are designed to fill an average-size living room.

As a rough guide, if your viewing distance is around 6-12 feet, then any system or soundbar should be suitable.

Larger spaces might still be fine, but it all depends on how loud you want to have the sound. If you have more specific needs, then maybe an all-in-one system isn't the right choice for you?

In this case, a separate home theater receiver and speakers will give you more options to increase the volume in the room.

Anyway, if you're interested, read the articles about AV receiver power ratings and matching amps and speakers.

You will learn that power specs may not be as important as you first thought.

Do I Need Wired or Wireless Speakers?

A few years ago, you had no choice, but there are now some serious options if you want wireless speakers. 

Some people will wonder if you can get the same audio quality as with using a good old cable. Others will care less and can't wait to remove all those annoying speaker cables. 

Which are you?

Many soundbars come with wireless subwoofers and surrounds. All-in-one systems are more likely to rely on cables – but not all.

How Good Is the Sound Quality of Home Theater Systems?

If sound quality is important to you, then a rule-of-thumb is you get what you pay for. 

Although, as with many things, not always! 

It will probably come as no surprise if the higher-end models sound better than the budget systems. 

However, if you are an audiophile who is looking for the best audio performance, then maybe a separate receiver and speakers might be a better bet - rather than an all-in-one system? 

There's no right and wrong here. We all have different views on what sounds good – and what is good enough. 

What sounds great to one person, won't be so good for another. I have friends who absolutely love the sound of their home theater setups. I might have another view! 

There's always a trade-off against what you are willing to pay. And, what you consider to be value-for-money.

For soundbars, any soundbar will improve on the sound that you get from your TV speakers. Even the cheapest models. So, if that is all you need, there's no need to break the bank.

However, if you want something that sounds good for TV, movies and music, then you will need to up your budget a little more. I would suggest the $400-$500 range as a minimum.

You'll need to go higher if you are critical about audio and want the best sound quality.

Do soundbars and budget all-in-ones sound as good as proper hi-fi amplifiers and good-quality tower or bookshelf speakers?

Honestly, no. But it does depend on what you are used to listening to.

If you don't already have a dedicated music system – then a complete system will probably be fine for your music listening needs.

Bigger speaker cabinets and drivers with dedicated hi-fi amplifiers will always sound better than the small speakers you get in soundbars and most all-in-one systems.

But, they cost more too.

How Do I Choose a Home Theater System?

Before buying a home theater package, think about these issues:

  • Type: do you want a more traditional all-in-one surround system - which comes with an amplifier and home theater speakers - or a more modern soundbar system? Also, don't forget that you could also buy an AV receiver and a separate surround sound speaker package.
  • Price: your budget will quickly narrow down your choices. The cheapest home theater system is a simple stereo soundbar. Surround sound is better for movies, but you don't have to have this. For systems with a bigger price tag, then you will generally get more features, better build quality and improved sound quality. You just need to decide what price bracket will buy the best home theater system for your home.
  • Speakers: how many speakers do you want? Do you just want stereo sound? Or a stereo 2.1 system with a subwoofer? From here you can get 3.1, 5.1 surround sound… or more. Dolby Atmos systems have elevated channels for immersive 3D sound. These might be 5.1.2 or 7.1.4.
  • Center Speaker: Do you want a system with a dedicated center? This should help speech to be clearer. Or is stereo enough? Most all-in-one systems will have dedicated centers. Some soundbars have a center speaker built into the unit along with the front left and right speakers. Some don't and are stereo only.
  • Surround Sound: do you want a system with dedicated surrounds that you need to install around your living room? Most all-in-one 5.1 systems will have this. Most soundbars will have all the speakers contained in the actual soundbar itself. But there are some soundbar systems that do allow for rear-mounting surround speakers.
  • Connections: what external devices do you want to connect to your system? Or, do you just want to hear the sound from your TV? Do you want to connect a Blu-ray player? Or your mobile device via Bluetooth? Also, check how the system connects to your TV. Many soundbars use HDMI ARC – so your TV needs to support this.
  • Features: which other options do you need? Bluetooth? Music streaming capabilities? Video streaming services like Netflix or Spotify?  
  • Wireless: do you want wireless speakers? Some soundbars have a wireless subwoofer and options to add wireless surrounds. Many all-in-one surround sound systems will use wires to connect the speakers. Some don't.

Top 5 Home Theater Systems Reviews

When buying home theater equipment, one of the most difficult things is narrowing down your choice. With all the options out there, looking for the best surround sound system can make your head spin.

Hopefully, the points above will have given you a better idea of what you are looking for.

What I will do now is give you a rundown on some of my favorites.

I've tried to include systems at a range of prices, so there should be something for all budgets. 

I've only included soundbar systems that have dedicated surround sound speakers. If you want to look at a full range of soundbars - from budget to high-end - take a look at my guide to soundbars for your TV and home theater.

1. Yamaha YHT-4950U Home Theater System

The Yamaha YHT-4950U Home Theater-in-a-Box System is a 5.1-channel surround system. It is an excellent mid-range choice for people who want a good home theater sound but don't want to spend too much.

As Yamaha makes many high-quality surround receivers, this system is essentially an audio/video receiver bundled with a 5.1 compact speaker package. So, it's a good option if you are interested in buying an AV receiver system – but don't want the extra trouble of pairing it with a set of speakers. 

Yamaha YHT-4950U Home Theater SystemImage Credit: Yamaha

Yamaha YHT-4950U Highlights 

The home theater speaker package that comes with this system comprises of compact black gloss speakers. The front left and right, center channel and satellite speakers have single 2 ¾" full-range cones.

This smaller size will provide unobtrusive speakers that won’t take over your room.

If you set the crossover frequency at the right point, you can still get a full sound from smaller speakers. The subwoofer will handle the lower frequencies that the small front/surrounds might not do justice to.

To help with that, you can use the supplied microphone and YPAO room optimization software to analyze your room and set the best parameters. It will find the best crossover points and speaker distances automatically.

This is something that most all-in-one systems don't have and so is a good extra for this Yamaha all-in-one.

The subwoofer has an 8" cone and is rated at 50 watts (5 ohms, 100 Hz, 10% THD). This should offer enough bass for movies and music, without taking up too much floor space.

All the speakers are wired - and the speaker cable is included as part of the package.

If you are interested in a system like this  - but with wireless speakers – then you might be interested in the Yamaha YHT-5950U home theater system - the next model up from this one.

This supports Yamaha's MusicCast Surround system, where you can add wireless speakers around your room.

It also has built-in WiFi for connecting to streaming music services.

However, if you don't want the wireless features, then the YHT-4950U is probably the better value.

Yamaha YHT-4950U Home Theater System Features
Channels HDMI In/Out Other Inputs Network / Wireless?
5.1 4 / 1 1 x Optical / 2 x Coaxial / 3 x Analog L/R / 3 x Composite Bluetooth
Power (W/Ch)* HDR? Front/Surrounds Subwoofer
70 4K/60p / HDR10 / Dolby Vision / HLG 2-3/4" (70mm) full-range cone 8" (203mm) cone / 50W
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.09% THD, 2 Channels Driven

The receiver doesn’t have as many input connections as some of Yamaha's higher-end models. But, there are still more than many home theater systems offer.

There are 4 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. All with 4K/60p Ultra HD pass-through and HDCP 2.2 support.

If you are interested, you can buy the receiver that comes with this system separately. It is the Yamaha RX-V385.

HDR pass-through is available for the most common versions. Therefore, you have support for HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and BT.2020 out of the box. 

On top of that, you have 1 optical audio, 2 coaxial audio, 3 analog audio and 3 composite video inputs. There is also a single composite video output.

If you want to stream audio from your handheld device into the sound system, then this unit has Bluetooth support. And, you aren't limited to just streaming into the receiver.

The YHT-4950U system will also connect to Bluetooth headphones and speakers. Something that not all devices with Bluetooth will do.

Thumbs Up

  • Yamaha makes quality home audio equipment
  • Full 4K Ultra HD support
  • HDR10/Dolby Vision/HLG pass-through
  • Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD Master Audio support
  • Yamaha YPAO™ room optimization
  • Bluetooth connection for wireless streaming - both in and out
  • Compact speaker package for smaller rooms
  • Reasonable power specification
  • Good value for money

Thumbs Down

  • No wireless speakers for 5.1 surround sound

2. Sonos 5.1 Soundbar Surround Set

I thought twice about including this Sonos system here. Nothing to do with the quality, but because it doesn't fit into my traditional thinking on what a home theater system is.

Sonos is a multi-room wireless speaker system for the whole house, isn't it?

There's no receiver (as such). Where do you plug everything in? Where are all the wires? For an old so and so like me, this is waaaaay out there!

However, once I thought about it, I concluded that it fits exactly here. This is the future. Well, part of it at least.

And, it does many of the things any other home theater system does. So, why not?

Anyway, many people don't know that Sonos wireless speakers can double-up as a 5.1 surround sound system. Or, was that just me?

So, let's start again… 

Sonos 5.1 Soundbar Surround SetImage Credit: Sonos

Sonos Soundbar 5.1 System Highlights

Did you know Sonos wireless speakers can double-up as a 5.1 surround sound system? No? Well, they can!

First, you can get a compact 3.0 speaker system using one of the four soundbars:

  • Arc
  • Beam
  • Playbar
  • Playbase

If you don’t know, a 3.0 speaker system has a front left, front right and center speaker to really bring the audio from movies and TV shows to life.

Then you can add the Sonos Sub to fill out the sound with some real low bass action. This is known as a 3.1 speaker system.

From this point, you can use the Sonos App to add surrounds to get yourself a 5.1 system. The following speakers can be used in pairs to create the rear surround speakers:

  • Five
  • One
  • One SL
  • Play:1
  • Play:3
  • Play:5 (gen2)
  • Two of your own speakers using the Amp or Connect:Amp

You just need to make sure the two surrounds are of the same type.

Once the app has created your surround setup, you are good to go.

Sonos 5.1 Home Theater System Features
Channels HDMI In Other Inputs Network / Wireless?
5.1 (Arc System: 5.1.2) 1 x HDMI ARC (Arc/Beam only) 1 x Optical (Playbar/Playbase only - adapter provided for Arc/Beam) Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Sonos App / Airplay 2 / Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant
(W x H x D)
(W x H x D)
(W x H x D)
(W x H x D)
45 x 3.4 x 4.5 in (1141.7 x 87 x 115.7 mm)
13.78 lbs
25.625 x 2.7 x 3.94 in (651 x 68.5 x 100 mm)
6.2 lbs
35.43 x 3.35 x 5.51 in (900 x 85 x 140 mm)
11.9 lbs
28.35 x 2.28 x 14.96 in (720 x 58 x 380 mm)
18.85 lbs
(W x H x D)
(W x H x D)
One SL
(W x H x D)
(W x H x D)
14.33 x 8.03 x 6.06 in (203 x 364 x 154 mm)
14 lbs
4.69 x 6.36 x 4.69 in (119.7 x 161.45 x 119.7 mm)
4.08 lbs
4.69 x 6.36 x 4.69 in (119.7 x 161.45 x 119.7 mm)
4.08 lbs
15.8 x 15.3 x 6.2 in (402 x 389 x 158 mm)
36.3 lbs

So, how do you get TV and movie audio into the speakers?

The Playbase and Playbar both have an optical audio input. Connect the optical output from your TV into the Sonos unit and you will hear 5.1 Dolby Digital sound in your speakers.

One thing you should be aware of. You need to make sure that your TV can output 5.1 Dolby Digital from the optical output.

Some can, and some can’t. Some will for internal TV apps - but not for external devices connected via HDMI directly to the TV.

You might find this article on 5.1 surround sound passthrough on TVs helpful. 

Alternatively, the Sonos Beam and Arc have an HDMI ARC input which you can connect to a suitable HDMI port on your TV. The Arc also supports eARC for sending high-resolution audio formats.

If you only have optical audio outputs on your TV, you also get an adapter to connect the optical output to the HDMI input.

If you want to connect an external Blu-ray player to your Sonos surround sound system you have two main options:

  1. Connect the Blu-ray player to the TV via HDMI - and send both audio and picture to the TV. Then, pass the 5.1 audio from the TV optical output to the Sonos - or via HDMI ARC for the Arc/Beam. This is the recommended way to connect a Sonos soundbar.
  2. Connect the Blu-ray player to the TV via HDMI - for the picture only. Then use an optical connection direct from the player to the Playbase/Playbar/Beam/Arc. Some Blu-ray players have two HDMI outputs. If so, you could also use this for sending audio to the Arc or Beam. The downside of doing this is that the soundbars only have a single input. So, connecting multiple devices can get tricky.

So, even though the connection options are fairly limited, for many people this will be all you need to get surround sound in your living room.

The main potential problem is that older TVs may not pass-through some surround and high-resolution audio formats - and Sonos doesn't support any DTS audio formats. You should check what audio formats your TV will output before you buy to avoid disappointment.

There are other differences between some of the products.

For example, the newer Sonos Arc also supports Dolby Atmos and has extra up-firing and surround speakers for reproducing 3D audio.

One of the advantages of the Sonos ecosystem is that you can mix and match any of the speakers listed above and get a solid 5.1 surround sound system. Or put it together step-by-step as your budget allows.

Plus, you can add further speakers around your home for a powerful multi-room sound system.

Take a look at this official Sonos video which shows how all the different Sonos speakers can be used throughout your home:

Thumbs Up

  • Three front speakers merged into one compact device
  • Upgradeable. You don't need to buy the complete package all in one go. You can start with a 3.0 soundbar and add the sub and surround speakers later
  • No speaker wires
  • Able to add extra Sonos speakers in other rooms for multi-room audio
  • Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

Thumbs Down

  • Input connections are limited to a single optical port (plus HDMI ARC for the Beam and Arc). However, that may be all you need to get movie surround sound from your TV and DVD/Blu-ray player.
  • No support for DTS audio

Buy the Sonos Family at Amazon

5.1 Surround Set with Arc

3. Klipsch 5.1 Reference Theater Pack with Pioneer VSX-LX303 AV Receiver

I'm going to cheat a little on my next suggestion. While this article is about all-in-one home theater systems, this option is a bundled product of a 5.1 speaker system and a home theater receiver.

So, not strictly an all-in-one system. There are two reasons for this:

  1. because it's an excellent system at a good price.
  2. because I want to highlight my earlier point that an all-in-one system isn't the only way to go.

The advantage of this package is you don't have to worry about putting together the receiver and speaker bundle. It's all done for you.

Plus, you can often get a better deal than buying each component separately.

Klipsch 5.1 Reference Theater Pack with Pioneer VSX-LX303 AV ReceiverImage Credit: Klipsch & Pioneer

Klipsch 5.1/Pioneer VSX-LX303 Bundle Highlights

There are two main parts to this bundle. One is the AV receiver and the other is the surround sound speaker system.

The AV receiver included here is the Pioneer VSX-LX303. Pioneer is an excellent choice for a mid-range receiver, and you can be sure of a great sound without breaking the bank.

The Pioneer VSX-LX303 is a 9.2-channel receiver with a power rating of 100 watts per channel (8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven). This will provide plenty of power for most home theater rooms.

Just be clear, this package comes with a 5.1 speaker system. Therefore, you won’t be able to use the full 9.2-channel capability of this receiver out-of-the-box.

However, one of the great advantages of an AV receiver is that it is easy to upgrade using your existing hardware. So, if you want a full Dolby Atmos surround sound system, later on, you can simply buy some more speakers and add them to your current setup.

Another advantage of an AV receiver is it provides more input connections than most all-in-one systems. Here you have 7 HDMI inputs (6 on the back and one on the front) and 2 outputs. Plenty for all your external devices like Blu-ray players and game consoles.

You also get:

  • 2 x composite video inputs
  • 2 x optical audio inputs
  • 1 x coaxial audio inputs
  • 4 x stereo RCA inputs
  • 1 x phono input
  • 1 x Ethernet connection
  • HDR passthrough – HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG

There are also zone 2 and 3 options for sending audio to a different room in your home.

Klipsch Reference 5.1/Pioneer VSX-LX303 Bundle Features
Channels HDMI In/Out Other Inputs Room Calibration
5.1 (Support for 9.2) 6+1 / 2 2 x Optical / 1 x Coaxial / 4 x Analog L/R / 2 x Composite / 1 x Phono MCACC Auto Room Tuning - Phase Control, Subwoofer EQ, Multi-point Standing Wave Control
Power (W/Ch)* Satellite / Center Speakers (W x H x D) Subwoofer (W x H x D) Subwoofer
100 4.38 x 7.75 x 5.37 in (11.1 x 19.7 x 13.7 cm) / 10.75 x 4.38 x 5.37 in (27.3 x 11.1 x 13.7 cm) 11.75 x 13.25 x 11.75 in (29.9 x 33.7 x 29.9 cm) 8" (20.3cm) cone / 50W Power (150W Peak)
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven

Moving on to the speakers, this package includes an excellent 5.1 surround sound speaker system from Klipsch. A respected name for many years in the AV world.

The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack comes with 4 satellite speakers which you will use for your front left, front right, surround left and surround right speakers.

Each of these speakers has a single 3.5-inch low-frequency driver and ¾-inch aluminum tweeter. The low-frequency drivers also have the distinctive Klipsch spun copper IMG cones.

For many people, the small size of the satellite speakers provides the perfect balance between good sound quality – but, without taking up too much space in the room.

The center speaker has two 3.5-inch drivers for the low end and a single tweeter. It provides a perfect match in design and performance with the front speaker pair.

To complete the 5.1 speaker package, the Klipsch Reference Theater Pack comes with an 8-inch down-firing wireless subwoofer.

It comes with a 2.4GHz wireless transmitter system so that you can place the subwoofer anywhere in your room.

If you prefer a wired connection, you can still use a standard LFE RCA cable from the AV receiver.

Rated at 50 watts (150 watts peak), this compact sub will provide plenty of clean low-end frequencies to balance the surround sound produced from the center and satellite speakers.

One thing to be aware of is that this package doesn’t come with speaker wire. This is one downside of not buying an all-in-one system – you might not get all the little extras to make it work out of the box.

However, as I mention in my guide to buying the best speaker wire, you don't need to spend too much money on wiring your speakers. It won't add too much to your budget to get enough decent wire for your room.

Thumbs Up

  • Excellent 5.1 speakers and AV receiver package for an excellent home theater system in one bundle
  • Great value for money
  • Very good budget Pioneer AV receiver with plenty of inputs
  • Better speaker package than you get with most all-in-one systems
  • Can add more speakers later for a Dolby Atmos speaker layout

Thumbs Down

  • Speaker wires not included. Make sure you buy enough for your room size.

4. Enclave Audio CineHome HD Wireless Audio Home Theater System

If you are looking for the best wireless surround sound system, then you will be excited by this option. The Enclave Audio CineHome HD Home Theater System has no wires to connect the speakers to the main unit at all.

Plus, it delivers 24 bit/96kHz audio, which should satisfy many of the audiophiles out there. 

Enclave Audio CineHome HD Wireless Audio Home Theater SystemImage Credit: Enclave Audio

Enclave Audio CineHome HD Highlights

The hub of this system is the CineHome HD Smart Center Channel speaker. It’s not just the center channel speaker for the system, it holds all the system controls, inputs and outputs.

There are a reasonable amount of inputs. Three HDMI inputs, 1 optical audio input and analog 3.5mm. Not the most you will find, but this will be fine for many people.

Heck, there’s even an assistance lamp on the rear for those times you are fumbling around in the dark. Cool.

Enclave Audio CineHome HD Home Theater System Features
Channels HDMI In/Out Other Inputs Network / Wireless?
5.1 3 / 1 1 x Optical / 1 x Analog 3.5mm Bluetooth / Chromecast
Supported Processing Front Speakers Surrounds Subwoofer
HDMI 3D / ARC / 4K / DTS Digital Surround 5.1 / Dolby Digital / Dolby Digital Plus / Dolby Pro Logic II Dual 3.5"(80mm) drivers / 0.78"(20mm) fabric dome tweeter Bipole design 8.5" (217mm) cone

There are two solid-looking front speakers with dual 80mm drivers. The surrounds are smaller but are a bipole design that will create a wide sound field at the rear.

The 8.5" subwoofer finishes off the system, and it is great that the system is upgradeable to 5.2 with the addition of another sub if you wish.

Each speaker must be connected to mains power with the included AC power adaptors. Apart from that, the only cable required will be the HDMI output to your TV.

There is an Enclave Audio app that allows for the streaming of music from your mobile device or local network. It also supports Bluetooth and Chromecast.

Thumbs Up

  • A fully wireless home theater package
  • Attention to audio quality
  • Smart, modern design
  • Upgradeable to 5.2

Thumbs Down

  • HDMI is only 1.4b. For 4K video, you will need to connect your Blu-ray to the TV and use the HDMI ARC to send audio to the speakers.

5. Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment System

When it comes to AV technology, there’s no doubt that Bose has many ardent fans. Unlike many AV companies, the look of their product is as important as the performance.

Their products aim to marry style with the latest AV technology, and they seem to be able to win customers for life.

In my opinion, you can often get more for your money with other brands. But, they may not look as stylish as some of the Bose products.

So, just be aware that if you buy Bose, you will be paying a premium for the brand name.

This Bose package is their current home theater system. It is definitely aimed at the top-end of the market. It is expensive, but if you are a fan of Bose, it does have a solid set of features that are worth considering.

Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment SystemImage Credit: Bose

Bose Lifestyle 650 System Highlights

This Bose Home Entertainment package is a 5.1 home theater system. The speaker for the center comes in the form of a 21" soundbar which houses five precision speakers.

The front left/right and surround left/right are called OmniJewel satellite speakers. These are small speakers with a 360-degree sound field and are designed to be smart and unobtrusive in your room.

The rear speakers are also wireless.

Last, but not least, the Acoustimass bass module. Another wireless speaker which, at 12.8" high, is also designed to complement your room – rather than overpower it.

Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment System Features
Channels HDMI In/Out Other Inputs Network / Wireless?
5.1 5+1 / 1 2 x Optical / 2 x Coaxial / 2 x Analog L/R Ethernet / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth / NFC
(W x H x D)
OmniJewel Speakers (each)
(W x H x D)
OmniJewel Center Speaker
(W x H x D)
Acoustimass Wireless Bass Module
(W x H x D)
15.98 x 2.56 x 10.16 in (406 x 65 x 258 mm) / 8.8 lbs 1.84 x 5.77 x 1.84 in (46.5 x 146.5 x 46.5 mm) / 0.78 lbs 21.34 x 1.9 x 1.84 in (542 x 48 x 46.5 mm) / 2.66 lbs 11.61 x 12.8 x 11.61 in (295 x 325 x 295 mm) / 30 lbs

The brain of the system is the console. This is where you connect the front wired speakers and any external hardware.

There is a useful number of 5 HDMI inputs on the rear (plus another on the front), and one HDMI output to connect to your TV.

All the HDMI ports fully support 4K/60 video sources with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2.

You also have 2 optical digital audio inputs, 2 coaxial digital audio connections and 2 stereo analog inputs.

That’s a decent number of connection types that should cover most requirements.

To top it all off, you can control your system with the free SoundTouch app

Thumbs Up

  • Modern, compact design
  • Plenty of input connections
  • Wireless surrounds and bass module

Thumbs Down

  • No option to add extra speakers for 5.2 or 7.1
  • It comes with a hefty price tag!

The Next 5 Best HTiB Systems

So, if that wasn't enough choice, I'll complete the top 10 best home theater systems by summarizing the next 5.

You will find plenty more options here, including some budget models if the previous models are more than you are willing to pay.

Depending on your budget/requirements, these are good choices, so don't rule them out:

6. Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2 SSE 7.2.4-Ch Soundbar System

An advanced Dolby Atmos home theater system with a soundbar, dual subwoofers and two 2-way rear speakers

Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2 SSE Soundbar SystemImage Credit: Nakamichi
  • Dual 8-inch wireless subwoofers
  • Dual 2-way rear speakers
  • 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos Speakers and DTS:X support
  • 4K pass-through / HDCP 2.2
  • HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR support
  • Inputs: 1 HDMI ARC / 3 HDMI (v2.0) / 1 Optical / 1 Coaxial

7. VIZIO SB46514-F6 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos Home Theater Sound System

A mid-range 5.1.4 soundbar system with a wireless subwoofer and two wireless surrounds.

VIZIO SB46514-F6 5.1.4 Home Theater Sound SystemImage Credit: VIZIO
  • 5-channel soundbar with a dedicated center channel and upfiring Dolby Atmos speakers
  • 46-inch wide soundbar
  • 10-inch wireless subwoofer
  • Dual satellite speakers with direct and upfiring Dolby Atmos speakers
  • Support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD-Master Audio and DTS Virtual:X
  • Inputs: HDMI ARC, Optical, Coaxial, 3.5mm Analog and Bluetooth
  • Wall mountable
  • Comes with remote control

8. Bose Soundbar 700 5.1 Home Theater Set

A high-end soundbar set for home theater with a wireless subwoofer and dual wireless surround speakers

Bose Soundbar 700 5.1 Home Theater SetImage Credit: Bose
  • Bose Soundbar 700 with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Bose Bass Module 700 wireless subwoofer
  • Dual Bose Surround Speakers - small 4-inch model
  • Integrated WiFi, Bluetooth and AirPlay 2
  • Control with the Bose Music App or included remote control

9. JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar Surround System

A mid-range 5.1 soundbar home theater system with wireless subwoofer and wireless surround speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar Surround SystemImage Credit: JBL
  • Wireless 10-inch (25 cm) subwoofer
  • Dual detachable, battery-powered true wireless satellite speaker
  • 4K pass-through
  • 3 HDMI inputs
  • Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS
  • Bluetooth
  • JBL Soundshift App

10. Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

A budget home theater system with 5.1 speakers

Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker SystemImage Credit: Logitech
  • THX certified 5.1-channel system
  • Dolby Digital and DTS decoding
  • Stereo to surround upmixing
  • Inputs: 3 x 3.5mm surround sound, 1 x stereo RCA analog, 2 x optical audio and 1 x coaxial
  • Comes with 6-feet speaker wire
  • Wireless remote


So, as you can see, buying the best home theater system can be a perfect way for you to get a great surround sound experience.

There are several great home theater packages and soundbars which will provide fantastic sound in any home. 

I don't want you relying on the sound from your TV speakers. That's boring! 

Get a proper speaker system and really enjoy watching that movie.

As you probably know from reading the rest of this site - you have read every page, haven't you? - I think surround sound is fantastic. 

So, if these systems are the best way for you to get a great audio experience, then go for it. You won't regret it.

If you want to keep the cost down. If you don't want to bother with too much setting up and configuration. If you don't want the headache of trying to choose matching amplifiers and speakers. Then, you're in the right place. 

An all-in-one home-theater-in-a-box or soundbar can be perfect for many home theaters and will give you a setup that you will love.

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About Home Cinema Guide

Paul started the Home Cinema Guide to help less-experienced users get the most out of today's audio-visual technology. He has worked as a sound, lighting and audio-visual engineer for around 20 years. At home, he has spent more time than is probably healthy installing, configuring, testing, de-rigging, fixing, tweaking, re-installing again (and sometimes using) various pieces of hi-fi and home cinema equipment.