What are the Best Entry Level Home Theater Systems? Anyone who wants to watch movies at home knows they need two things: a television and either a media console (such as a Blu-Ray player) or a streaming device (like a Roku stick).
Of course, you could get around this with a Smart TV, but you get the idea. However, if you’re a true cinephile, you’ll recognize that audio is only half of the experience.
There are several options for entry-level home theater systems. Some of the best options include:
• Pioneer 5.1 Home Theater System
• Yamaha 5.1 Home Theater System
• Roku Stream bar
• Klipsch Reference Theater Pack
• Vizio Elevate soundbar with subwoofer and rear speakers
Other good options can be found on websites that specialize in home theater systems, such as The Home Cinema Guide and Life wire.
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While many TVs come with built-in speakers or you can get a soundbar for a reasonable price, a true home theater requires the booming bass and crisp mids of a surround sound system.
But what should you do if you aren’t an expert on cinematic audio gear? To get started, you can buy an all-in-one theater-in-a-box system. On the following list of entry-level home theater systems, we’ve gathered the ten best.
WHAT IS A HOME-THEATER-IN-A-BOX?
All complete “theater-in-a-box” systems include two distinct components: a set of speakers and a receiver. The purpose of the speakers — which will vary in quantity, size, and type — is fairly obvious: they are the devices through which the sound is projected.
A surround sound system will typically include a combination of high- and mid-range speaker units, as well as at least one subwoofer for bass, though this can vary depending on the brand, technology, and overall price of the system.
These devices work together to produce a wide range of cinema-style audio. However, without a receiver, they are practically useless.
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9 Best Entry Level Home Theater Systems
1. PIONEER 5.1 HOME THEATER SYSTEM
- Dolby TrueHD Dolby Pro Logic IIz/Dolby Digital Plus
- Digital Core Engine with Texas Instruments Aureus DSP
- HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC)
- Pioneer Auto MCACC Room Calibration
- iPod digital transmission via front USB terminal
You don’t need deep pockets to get a home-theater-in-a-box with all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from modern technology — this Pioneer home theater system has them all.
This system comes with a receiver that can handle Ultra HD, HDR, 3D movies and video games, as well as Dolby-tuned audio and video for high-resolution sounds and images no matter what you’re watching, listening to, or playing. To top it all off, it has Bluetooth compatibility for wireless control. That isn’t even the end of what this system has to offer.
2. YAMAHA 5.1 HOME THEATER SYSTEM
- 5.1 channel powerful surround sound
- Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. Rated Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven) 100W (8 ohms, 0.9% THD); Rated Output Power (20Hz 20kHz, 2ch driven) 70W (8 ohms, 0.09% THD); Maximum Effective Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven) (Jeita) 145W (6 ohms, 10% THD)
- HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.2 (4 in/1 out)
- 4K Ultra HD support, HDR10, Dolby vision, hybrid log gamma and BT.2020
- YPAO auto calibration technology for ideal sound, Exclusive Yamaha Cinema DSP technology supports playback of HD Audio (Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio, etc.), providing natural and expansive sound imaging
In terms of price and features, this Yamaha system is comparable to the previous Pioneer option, but it lacks one major feature that the Pioneer system does: YPAO optimization. YPAO is a system that automatically reads the space where you’ve placed your speakers and optimizes them for that space.
That means you can get the best sound for the room of your choice with just a simple plug-and-play system. And if you ever move or switch rooms, it’s just as simple to re-optimize.
Combine that with a full suite of surround sound speakers, 4K Ultra HD support, and Bluetooth compatibility with a compressed music enhancer, and you have one of the best bang-for-your-buck systems available.
3. POLK AUDIO BLACKSTONE & DENON 5.1 HOME THEATER PACKAGE
- CREATES A SOUNDSTAGE COMPARABLE TO ANY LARGE SYSTEM. Features two (2) 2.5" drivers, a 0.5" silk dome tweeter & injection molded cones. The APERIODIC-TUNED REAR PORT delivers bass extension and boosts the audio on a shelf or mounted against the wall
- UNIQUE CURVED SHAPE BASED ON "TIME LENS TECHNOLOGY" – It is specially designed to align the acoustic centers of the tweeter and mid-bass in the same plane, reducing diffraction & distortions, and ensuring the right sounds reach you at the same time
- BUILD YOUR OWN 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 HOME THEATER SYSTEM – According to you room size & requirements, create an immersive surround sound system by adding four to eight satellite speakers and a subwoofer of your choice to this center channel
- EASY TO CONNECT AND OPERATE – No matter how you choose to set it up, the center channel easily connects to a receiver, just like any other speaker
- POLK'S UNMATCHED QUALITY AT A SURPRISINGLY LOW PRICE. With this value-priced center channel, you can now enjoy premium audio, expert engineering, solid construction, and a spectacular theater experience right at home
Polk Audio, which was founded in 1972, has been a trusted name in audio systems for nearly as long as they’ve been in business. While other low-cost options may come from relatively trustworthy brands with a wide range of product types, Polk has remained almost entirely focused on audio products, such as home theater systems.
That is, they are specially designed to provide excellent sound in a theater-in-a-box system. Take, for example, the Blackstone & Denon system shown here. This home theater system provides booming cinematic sound without being gaudy or cumbersome, thanks to a suite of compact, out-of-the-way speakers.
4. ENCLAVE AUDIO CINEHOME HD 5.1 HOME THEATER SYSTEM
- THE SOUND OF AFFORDABLE LUXURY - The Enclave CineHome II is an affordable luxury with premium quality sound. This plug-and-play surround sound system delivers immersive surround sound and sets up in minutes, with no AVR or WiFi required.
- WHAT’S INCLUDED - This system includes an Enclave CineHub wireless transmitter, 5 custom-designed & tuned active speakers, an 8-inch wireless subwoofer, an HDMI cable, power cords, a quick start guide, and a remote control.
- PLUG & PLAY SETUP - The CineHub is equipped with ARC for a simple setup process. Connect the HDMI cable provided to the ARC port of your TV, ensure the sound output is set to HDMI ARC, and you’re done!
- DOLBY & DTS AUDIO - Hear cinema-like surround sound with Dolby Audio and DTS encoding technologies, even from stereo signals. Experience your favorite shows and movies how the director intended, with clear vocals and rich, room-filling sound.
- ALL ABOUT THE BASS - To maximize your bass experience, simply add additional subwoofers to your CineHome II system. This will also even out any dead spots across your listening space.
Whereas most traditional home theater audio systems require a receiver to serve as a central hub, a few new brands are emerging that have recognized the potential in smart technology to replace that outmoded format. Enclave is one such company, as their CineHome HD system does not use a traditional receiver.
Rather, the Smart Center (a stand-alone device) replaces it entirely as a two-in-one receiver hub and wireless speaker. It is accompanied by four smaller speakers and a subwoofer for powerful bass.
5. ONKYO 5.1.2 DOLBY ATMOS HOME THEATER PACKAGE
- 4x Klipsch Satellite Speakers - 1x Center Speaker - 1x Subwoofer - Klipsch 5 Year Limited Warranty - Onkyo TX-NR696 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver
- The Klipsch Reference Cinema System 5.1.4 with Dolby Atmos combines Reference Series acoustics with Dolby Atmos technology
- Featuring four satellite speakers outfitted with Dolby Atmos technology
- Connecting easily to your A/V receiver, this compact system is perfectly tuned for maximum impact
- Ideal for movies, music, and gaming, Dolby Atmos brings sound to life from all directions, including overhead
Unless you’re intimately familiar with home audio equipment, you’ve probably never heard of Onkyo. But we’ll be the first to tell you: they have an exceptional grasp on the aforementioned technological gear category.
Their Dolby Atmos-ready Home Theater Package is an exceptional home-theater-in-a-box that even the most enigmatic audiophiles and film buffs can appreciate. It is a simple-to-use system with a plethora of built-in features.
Among these features are eight built-in HDMI ports for all of your peripherals, Bluetooth compatibility, and a diverse set of built-in technologies ranging from Chromecast to Spotify and more. If you want a top-of-the-line system at a mid-range price, look no further.
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6. SONOS 5.1 BEAM HOME THEATER SYSTEM
The Sonos Beam Home Theater System, the second setup on our list that eliminates the need for a receiver entirely, is one of the most streamlined smart home-theaters-in-a-box on the market today. That’s because their system is based on their Beam soundbar, a smart device that supports Bluetooth, Alexa, and AirPlay 2 and looks as good as it performs.
Even better, it’s simple to connect to your television and expand your surround sound setup with additional speakers. Whether you want a simple home theater audio setup or a multi-room speaker system, this kit is the best place to start when user-friendliness and ease-of-use are your top priorities.
7. SONY 7.2 HOME THEATER SYSTEM
- CINEMATIC SOUND AT HOME: Enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows and more with theater like sound in the comfort of your home
- BREATHTAKING AUDIO: Dolby Atmos and DTS:X deliver multi-dimensional and object-based surround sound
- STUNNING 4K QUALITY: 4K HDR pass through with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Hybrid Log Gamma provides greater and clearer color, contrast, and brightness
- GET CONNECTED: 4 in/1 out HDMI each and 1 optical / 1 coaxial digital and analog audio connections
- AUTO CALIBRATION: Advanced D.C.A.C. analyzes and adjusts the audio for optimal sound in every room
Sony has been producing consumer electronics for a long time, including audio systems for music, movies, and video games. And, because they have such a diverse range of products, it’s in their best interests to release home theater systems that work well with their other products, such as the industry-leading PlayStation 4 console.
This system is one of the most comprehensive on our list, with nine individual units ranging from a booming subwoofer to a Dolby Atmos-equipped receiver that will make you feel like you’re in a full-sized IMAX theater inside your own home. It also supports 4K video, HDR, and other features. It’s a complicated setup, but anyone who hears it will be impressed.
8. FOCAL SIB EVO & YAMAHA 5.1.2 HOME CINEMA SYSTEM
- Sib Evo is composed of a 5″ Polyflex speaker driver and a 1″ silk dome tweeter integrated into a sizeable enclosure in order to give it extended frequency response.
- The Dolby Atmos loudspeaker is equipped with an additional 3″ full-range Polyflex speaker driver on top dedicated to the Atmos effects.
- The Cub Evo subwoofer recalls the same design codes as our Hi-Fi subwoofers in a ‘‘lifestyle” product.
- This new Sib Evo edition completes the first: the two systems are perfectly compatible. The performance has been improved and the size has been increased.
- The 5.1.2 set-up is a very coherent system providing you with unprecedented sensations!
If you want a setup that provides exceptional sound as well as unique and stylish device designs, the Focal Sib Evo kit shown here might be a good place to start. With five wide-range speakers and a very powerful subwoofer, this home theater system delivers cinematic sound in a more subtle package than many of the other options on the market.
It also includes one of the industry’s most trusted receivers, a Yamaha RX-A780, to ensure proper operation. That means it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Spotify built-in (along with a number of other audio streaming services), 4K and HDR support, and so much more.
9. KLIPSCH & YAMAHA 5.1 HOME THEATER SYSTEM
- 2x Klipsch Reference R-610F Floorstanding Home Speaker (Black Textured Wood Grain Vinyl) - Magnetic Grille - Injection-Molded Feet & Screws - Klipsch 5 Year Limited Warranty - Bundle With: - Reference R-52C Two-Way Center Channel Speaker (Black) - Reference R-12SW 12" 400W All-Digital Powered Subwoofer (Brushed Black Polymer Veneer) - 2x Reference R-41M Bookshelf Home Speakers (Black Textured Wood Grain Vinyl) - Yamaha RX-V385 5.1 Channel Network AV Receiver with Bluetooth
- 1" Aluminum LTS tweeter
- 90x90 Square Tractrix Horn
- Single 6.5" Spun-Copper IMG Woofers
- Bass-Reflex via Rear-Firing Tractrix ports
Besides designing and manufacturing absolutely stunning and iconic audio equipment, Klipsh is one of our favorite audio brands for their unimpeachable dedication to making all of their gear sound as good as possible at any volume. As you might guess, their Home Theater System you see here is definitely no exception to that rule.
This cinematic system comes with a reliable, top-of-the-line Yamaha RX-A760 receiver, as well as dual tower speakers, surround speakers, a center channel speaker, and a massive subwoofer.
It’s a bit more cumbersome than some other options, and thus better suited to a home than, say, an apartment. Of course, if you’re a total audiophile, they also offer even more comprehensive setups. When it comes to home theater systems, you simply cannot go wrong with Klipsch.
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CONCLUSION on the Best Entry Level Home Theater Systems
The only thing better than going on a date to the movies is being able to enjoy the same high-quality cinema experience from the comfort of your own home.
You can save money on expensive popcorn and avoid distracting background noise while still enjoying the incredible immersive audio that immerses you in your favorite films. Because there are so many options on the market, we’ve narrowed it down to the best quality mid-range home theater speakers.
FAQs About Entry-Level Home Theater Systems
Is 5.1 or 7.1 surround better?
A 7.1 system is ideal for larger rooms where sound can become lost in the space. It offers a more immersive surround sound listening experience. Theater quality media designed for a 7.1 system will be heard more clearly than on a 5.1 system.
What does 5.1 mean in terms of surround sound?
Surround sound audio systems are commonly referred to as 5.1 surround sound (“five-point one”). In home theaters, the most common layout is 5.1. It makes use of five full-bandwidth channels as well as one low-frequency effects channel.
How many watts of home theater do I need?
The higher the wattage power under the hood, the better your theater will sound. And, strange as it may seem, a high-power theater appears louder at lower volumes. Without fear of running out of power, 125 watts per channel is the ideal amount to have.
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