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The Best Home Theater Systems in 2019: Top 13 Reviews & Buying Guide

The Best Home Theater Systems: Top 10 Reviews & Buying Guide: a modern home theater room
Updated: November 05, 2019

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

In 2019, 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 be perfect for your room.

Top 13 Best Home Theater Systems Comparison Table

Image Model Channels Wireless Speakers? Dolby Atmos?
Onkyo HT-S9800THX Home Theater System Onkyo HT-S9800THX Home Theater System 7.2 No 5.2.2 Check Price
Sonos 5.1 Home Theater System Sonos 5.1 Soundbar Surround Set 5.1 Yes - all speakers No Check Price
Yamaha YHT-4930UBL Home Theater System Yamaha YHT-4930UBL Home Theater System 5.1 No No 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
Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar System 7.1 Yes - surrounds + subwoofer 7.1.4 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
Nakamichi Elite 7.2 SSE Soundbar System Nakamichi Elite 7.2 SSE Soundbar System 7.2 2 x subwoofer 7.2.4 Check Price
Klipsch Bar 48 5.1 Surround Sound System Klipsch Bar 48 5.1 Surround Sound System 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
Onkyo HT-S5800 Home Theater System Onkyo HT-S5800 Home Theater System 7.1 No 5.1.2 Check Price
Pioneer HTP-074 Home Theater System Pioneer HTP-074 Home Theater System 5.1 No No Check Price
Onkyo HT-S3910 Home Theater System Onkyo HT-S3910 Home Theater System 5.1 No 3.1.2 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 system 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 a home theater system 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 to get good quality audio in your home theater:

  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 an AV 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 home theater 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 home theater system will combine an amplifier and speakers in the same package.

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

Previously, a system would often include an amplifier, a DVD player and surround sound 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 low-budget models around. But I wouldn't recommend these for 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 system: this comes with some form of amplifier and a complete set of surround sound speakers and subwoofer.
  2. Soundbar system: 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 home theater 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 may also include all the extras required to get it all up and running. Like speaker cable, for example. However, you may want to double-check this.

Obviously, if you are buying a wireless home theater system, then speaker cable 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 connection. 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 sound system, and then buy the right product for your needs.

What Surround Sound Speaker Layout Do I Want?

As these 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 speakers. In this case, the front left, center and front right speakers will be in the soundbar.

A few systems may support the newer 3D audio formats of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

Some soundbars have Dolby Atmos too. However, these extra speakers are usually built-in to the soundbar – rather than as separate 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.

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 home theater 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 AV 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 a home theater 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 home theater 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 AV receiver and speaker system 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 sound 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 surround speakers. All-in-one systems are more likely to rely on cables – but not all.

How Good Is the Sound Quality of a Home Theater System?

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

Although, as in life, not always! 

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

However, if you are an audiophile, a separate AV 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 systems. 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's 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 good sound quality.

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

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

If you don't already have a dedicated music system – then a home theater 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?

So, before buying a home theater system, think about these issues:

  • Type: do you want a more traditional all-in-one surround system - which comes with an amplifier and surround sound 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. The more you are prepared to spend, then the more features you get – and better sound quality.
  • 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 speaker? This should help speech to be clearer. Or is stereo enough? Most all-in-one systems will have dedicated center speakers. 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 surround speakers that you need to install around your 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? Streaming services like Netflix or Spotify?  
  • Wireless: do you want a wireless speaker system? Some soundbars have a wireless subwoofer and options to add wireless surround speakers. 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. Onkyo HT-S9800THX Home Theater SystemSee Price

The Onkyo HT-S9800THX is from the top-end of the Onkyo home theater system range. Onkyo is highly-regarded for its AV receivers.

They are also one of the few receiver manufacturers that produce a dedicated home theater system.

Their background in making quality AV receivers should give you confidence in this system.

Onkyo HT-S9800THX Home Theater SystemImage Credit: Onkyo

Onkyo HT-S9800THX Highlights

This is a 7.1 channel system, with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Therefore, out-of-the-box it will support up to 7.1 surround sound or 5.1.2 if you want to play object-audio soundtracks.

7.2 and 5.2.2 surround layouts are supported as it has a 2nd sub output, but you will have to buy another subwoofer.

Dolby Atmos support is rare for a dedicated home theater system. So, this is a killer feature if you want to experience this relatively new audio format.

It offers full support for 4K video, so you can be sure you will be able to watch Ultra HD through this device.

Onkyo HT-S9800THX Home Theater System Specifications
Channels HDMI In/Out Dolby Atmos? Network / Wireless?
7.1 (7.2 supported) 6+1 / 2 5.2.2 Ethernet / Wi-Fi / AirPlay / Chromecast / DTS Play-Fi / FireConnect
Receiver (W x H x D) Front / Surround Speakers (W x H x D) Center Speaker (W x H x D) Subwoofer (W x H x D)
17-1/8 x 6-13/16 x 14-7/8 in (435 x 173.5 x 378 mm) / 22.0 lbs Front: 6-1/4 x 17-1/16 x 7-13/16 in (158 x 433 x 199 mm) / 11.7 lbs
Surround: 7-7/8 x 10-13/16 x 6-5/8 in (200 x 275 x 169 mm) / 7.7 lbs
17-1/16 x 6-1/4 x 7-13/16 in (433 x 158 x 199 mm) / 11.7 lbs 14-15/16 x 17-1/2 x 16-7/8 in (380 x 444 x 429 mm) / 12" cone / 125W / 34.2 lbs

This is a fairly powerful system that is rated at 100 W/Ch (8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven). As discussed before, supplied power ratings for HTiB surround sound systems vary quite a bit.

Onkyo uses standard power ratings so we can be sure it will pack a punch.

In some systems, connectivity can be limited, but there will be few issues here as it is a normal AV receiver. It has 6 HDMI inputs on the rear, one input on the front and 2 HDMI outputs.

There are several inputs on the rear for connecting a range of different devices. You will find component and S-Video inputs, optical and coaxial digital audio inputs, and several analog stereo inputs.

This top-end model is also THX® certified. This means it has been engineered to very high standards for the best sound quality. 

Thumbs Up   

  • Dolby Atmos / DTS:X
  • Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD Master Audio
  • THX certification
  • Numerous input connections
  • Powered Zone 2
  • Supports HDR10, Dolby Vision™, BT.2020, 4K/60 Hz and HDCP 2.2

Thumbs Down   

  • The included speakers are designed for a 7.1 configuration. Dedicated Dolby Atmos speakers aren’t included, you must buy these separately. However, you can use the extra surrounds as your height speakers in a 5.1.2 configuration.
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2. Sonos 5.1 Soundbar Surround SetSee Price

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 5.1 System Highlights

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

You can get a basic 3.1 setup using either a Playbase, Playbar or Beam which you can pair with a Sub. The Playbase/Playbar/Beam will act as the center, front left and front right speakers. The Sub will act as the... subwoofer!

From this point, you can use the Sonos App to add surround speakers. The following speakers can be used to create surrounds:

  • Sonos One
  • Play:1
  • Play:3
  • Play:5 (gen2)
  • A Connect:Amp or Amp powering your own speakers
  • One SL

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 Specifications
Channels HDMI In Other Inputs Network / Wireless?
5.1 Playbar/Playbase - None / Beam - 1 HDMI ARC 1 x Optical Wi-Fi
PLAYBASE
(W x H x D)
PLAYBAR
(W x H x D)
PLAY 1 / 3 / 5
(W x H x D)
SUB
(W x H x D)
28.35 x 2.28 x 14.96 in (720 x 58 x 380 mm)
18.85 lbs
35.43 x 3.35 x 5.51 in (900 x 85 x 140 mm)
11.9 lbs
PLAY 1: 4.69 x 6.36 x 4.69 in (119.7 x 161.45 x 119.7 mm) / 4.08 lbs
PLAY3: 10.6 x 5.2 x 6.3 in (268 x 132 x 160 mm) / 5.71 lbs
PLAY5: 14.33 x 8.03 x 6.06 in (364 x 203 x 154 mm) / 14 lbs
15.8 x 15.3 x 6.2 in (402 x 389 x 158 mm)
36.3 lbs

So, how do you get movie audio into the speakers? The Playbase, Playbar and Beam all 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 DD from the optical output. Some can, and some can’t. You might find this article on 5.1 surround sound passthrough on TVs helpful. 

The Sonos Beam also has an HDMI ARC input which you can connect to a suitable HDMI port on your TV.

If you have a Blu-ray player you have two options:

  1. Connect the Blu-ray player to the TV via HDMI, and pass through the 5.1 DD via optical to the Sonos (or via HDMI ARC for the Beam).
  2. Connect the Blu-ray player to the TV via HDMI for the picture, and have an optical connection direct from the player to the Playbase/Playbar/Beam

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.

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

Thumbs Up   

  • No wires
  • Three front speakers merged into one compact device
  • Able to add extra Sonos speakers in other rooms
  • Upgradeable. You can start with a 3.1 system and add rear speakers later
  • Works with Alexa

Thumbs Down   

  • Input connections are limited to a single optical port (plus HDMI ARC for the Beam). However, that may be all you need to get movie surround sound from your TV and DVD/Blu-ray player. 
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3. Yamaha YHT-4930UBL Home Theater SystemSee Price

The Yamaha YHT-4930UBL Home Theater-in-a-Box System is a 5.1-channel surround sound system. It is aimed at the mid-range of the market, so might be a good choice if you want to keep the cost down a little.

As Yamaha makes many high-quality AV receivers, this system is essentially an AV receiver bundled with a 5.1 compact speaker package. 

Yamaha YHT-4930UBL Home Theater SystemImage Credit: Yamaha

Yamaha YHT-4930UBL Highlights 

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

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

The subwoofer has a 6 ½" cone and is rated at 100 watts. It should offer enough bass for movies and music, without taking up too much floor space.

All the speakers are wired.

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

You can use the supplied microphone and YPAO room optimization software to analyze your room and set the best parameters.

Yamaha YHT-4930UBL Home Theater System Specifications
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 HDR? Front/Surround Speakers Subwoofer<
70 W/Ch* HDR10 / Dolby Vision / HLG 2-3/4" (70mm) full-range cone 6-1/2" (165mm) cone / 100W
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.09% THD, 2 Channels Driven

The receiver doesn’t have as many input connections as most of Yamaha's standalone 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.

HDR pass-through is available for the most common versions. HDR10 is available out of the box. You may need to download a firmware update to enable Dolby Vision and HLG support.

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-4930UBL system will also connect to Bluetooth headphones and speakers. Something that not all devices with Bluetooth will do.

Thumbs Up   

  • Yamaha makes quality AV receivers
  • Full 4K Ultra HD support
  • HDR10/Dolby Vision/HLG pass-through
  • 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
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4. Enclave Audio CineHome HD Wireless Audio Home Theater SystemSee Price

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 Specifications
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 Surround Speakers 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 speaker system
  • 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 speaker system.
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5. Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment SystemSee Price

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.

The Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment System is their current home theater system. It is definitely aimed at the top-end of the market. It is expensive, but it does have a solid set of features that are worth considering.

Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Entertainment SystemImage Credit: Bose

Bose Lifestyle 650 Highlights

The Bose Lifestyle 650 is a 5.1 surround sound 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 Specifications
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
Console
(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’s not cheap!
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The Next 8 Best HTiB Systems

So, if that wasn't enough choice, I'll complete the top 13 home theater systems by summarizing the next 8.

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. Samsung HW-Q90R 7.1.4-Ch Soundbar SystemSee Price

A high-end soundbar with a wireless subwoofer and rear speaker kit

Samsung HW-Q90R 7.1.4-Ch SoundbarImage Credit: Samsung
  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Dedicated center channel
  • Two upward-firing wirless rear speakers
  • 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
  • 4K and HDR10 pass-through
  • Audio Inputs: 2 HDMI / 1 Optical
  • Game Mode Pro for optimized gaming audio
  • Bluetooth
  • Works with Alexa
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7. Bose Soundbar 700 5.1 Home Theater SetSee Price

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 Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Bose Bass Module 700 wireless subwoofer
  • Dual Bose Surround Speakers - small 4-inch model
  • Integrated WiFi, Bluetooth and AirPlay2
  • Control with the Bose Music App or included remote control
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8. Nakamichi Shockwafe Elite 7.2 SSE 7.2.4-Ch Soundbar SystemSee Price

An advanced soundbar system with 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 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
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9. Klipsch Bar 48 5.1 Surround Sound SystemSee Price

A mid-range 5.1 soundbar system with a wireless subwoofer and two wireless surround speakers

Klipsch Bar 48 5.1 Surround Sound SystemImage Credit: Klipsch
  • Bar 48 soundbar with a dedicated center channel
  • 8-inch wireless subwoofer
  • Dual SURROUND 3 wireless surround speakers
  • Compatible with dual subwoofers
  • Inputs: HDMI ARC, Bluetooth, 3.5mm Analog & optical
  • Backlit wireless remote control
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10. JBL Bar 5.1 Soundbar Surround SystemSee Price

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
  • Detachable, battery-powered true wireless surround speakers
  • 4K pass-through
  • 3 HDMI inputs
  • Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS
  • Bluetooth
  • JBL Soundshift App
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11. Onkyo HT-S5800 5.1.2-Ch Home Theater SystemSee Price

A mid-range 5.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos HTiB

Onkyo HT-S5800 Home Theater SystemImage Credit: Onkyo
  • Dolby Atmos 5.1.2
  • 4K Ultra HD
  • 115W/Ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.09% THD, 1-ch driven)
  • 10” Sub
  • HDMI 4 In / 1 Out
  • Bluetooth
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12. Pioneer HTP-074 5.1-Ch Home Theater SystemSee Price

A budget 5.1-channel HTiB

Pioneer HTP-074 Home Theater SystemImage Credit: Pioneer
  • 4K Ultra HD
  • HDR10 / HDCP 2.2
  • 100W/Ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.07% THD, 1ch driven)
  • 100W Subwoofer
  • HDMI 4 In / 1 Out
  • Front USB connection
  • Bluetooth
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13. Onkyo HT-S3910 5.1-Ch Home Theater SystemSee Price

A budget 5.1-channel home theater system

Onkyo HT-S3910 Home Theater SystemImage Credit: Onkyo
  • 4K/60p + HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR
  • Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer
  • 80W/Ch (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2ch driven)
  • 6 7/16" (16 cm) Sub
  • HDMI 4 In / 1 Out
  • Bluetooth
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Conclusion

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 home theater systems 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 sound 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 surround sound, 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 could be perfect for getting a home theater 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.


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