The pandemic saw many people invest in home entertainment setups, whether securing a new graphics card or video game system, upping their physical media collection, or building an at-home theater. Movies such as
Judas and the Black Messiah, Godzilla vs. Kong, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Dune, and several other blockbusters hit the small screen on the same day and date (or close) to their theatrical releases.
Now that we’ve come out of lockdown and returned to some sense of normalcy, what will we do with all the home purchases we made? Add to it, of course!
We’re avid fans and collectors, and it would be a shame to see all our purchases go unperfected without grabbing the necessary gadgets to bring it all together.
Check out the guide below to see what you need to build your perfect at-home theater, whether you’re just starting out or have a lot to spend. We’ve included budget items as well as premium, alongside products that can go alongside a few previously owned items, supplement others, or even replace your current living room television.
It’s the perfect compact and-go projector. It has an easy setup process, automatically adjusting the image for your perfect picture; Auto Leveling, Auto Focus, and Auto Keystone technology do the work in seconds. You can stream content, as it comes preloaded with Netflix, Prime Video, and more, watch shows from its free TV service, or play games, all in crystal clear 1080p. But admittedly, it does have a share of problems, including subpar brightness in lighter areas, slight issues with its auto features, and a big price tag despite its budget first-generation kinks. If you want a great smart projector to take around, you’ll want to grab this one on sale. Otherwise, we’d suggest looking into the
KODAK Luma 350 or Anker NEBULA Mars II Pro.
Meant only for the folks serious about starting a home theater setup, the premium XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K delivers high-quality picture projection alongside its premier presentation with its solid build and lavish design. It’s easy to use with its simple setup, comfortable UI, and helpful utilities, such as auto-keystone and auto-focus. It’s an excellent investment, especially if you already have a quality sound system or soundbar. Unfortunately, you’ll need it since its two built-in 8W, 45mm full-range speakers won’t cut the “theater quality” claim the manufacturer boasts. Another annoyance is wireless iPhone setup isn’t as clear-cut as with an android device, which is to be expected since it runs an Android TV operating system. Most egregious, however, is that the XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K has no dedicated Netflix app. You have to figure out a workout to get Netflix, which shouldn’t be too hard if you decide to cast it or plug another device via HDMI that does have it. And despite not having Dolby Vision capabilities, it is still able to produce colorful pictures and sharp images, although the black can sometimes be a bit grey. It’s a terrific value (especially when you can catch it on sale) and could easily replace a television as the main screen in your house, home theater or not.
Fun fact, it can also double as a Bluetooth speaker.
$2199.00 $1699.00 – Amazon
The LG B2 OLED doubles as a great HDMI 2.1, 12oHz gaming display monitor with G-Sync/FreeSync capabilities and a Dolby Vision/Atmos-enabled television. It has
built-in access to Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV app, Disney+, HBO Max, and instant access to over 300+ free LG channels. It supports Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple AirPlay2, and HomeKit for those who have a smart home or like to instantly cast their content from their phone to their TV. The picture is gorgeous no matter how you decide to use it, and it would be an investment for years to come.
The LG G2 OLED is higher-end than the LG B2 OLED. If you want the best picture quality, the G2 gets brighter, delivering a better HDR experience. However, the B2 still delivers the same remarkable darkroom performance, and if you want to place your TV on a table, it comes with a stand, which the G2 doesn’t have. This, too, comes with the same support provided by the LG B2 but with an upgraded a9 Gen5 AI processor over the B2’s a7, which is used to strategically adapt and adjust picture/audio for a more immersive viewing experience. Coupled with that is its upgraded OLED evo display, which focuses on brightness, and voice-enabled controls.
When it comes to a standalone streaming device, it often comes down to the controller, its storage, its capabilities, and its interface most of all. The Apple TV has a streamlined design and controller, comes with up to 64GB of storage, handles Airplay, mirror playing, and other nifty iPhone tricks, and has one of the smoothest interfaces for a streaming device we’ve ever seen.
If you’re less ingratiated in the Apple ecosystem and don’t have the need to pay the Apple tax to enjoy a few features, the Roku Ultra is still a solid option. It has all the important features like 4K HDR and Dolby Vision, all at a cheaper price. The controller is pretty nifty, but the Rolu is less pretty to look at, admittedly. Plus, the controller is pretty traditional, but it does the job very well.
$99.99 $85.50 – Amazon
This Dolby Atmos-enabled mini-tower is an inexpensive alternative if you’re just starting to build up your home entertainment room. The 365T has six drivers, including two 6.5-inch woofers at the side of a 2-inch soft dome midrange, a 1-inch tweeter for the main forward-facing array, and a 5.25-inch woofer with a 0.6-inch silk dome coaxial tweeter for the upward- facing Atmos array. The THX-Cerified speaker utilizes the up-firing driver to bounce off surfaces that deliver a cinematic experience, especially thanks to its Atmos capabilities. If you already have a subwoofer, this is an easy buy to enhance your home theater.
The Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra soundbar package features 9.2.4 DTS:X spatial and Dolby Atmos audio channels, two huge 10-inch high-output amplifier subwoofers, and four surround-sound speakers. It also has Spatial Surround Elevation (SSE) Max drivers, HDMI eARC connectivity, and Bluetooth 5 aptX support. This means it has all the best possible sound connection options while delivering 4K HDR and Dolby Vision pass-through to a TV. The soundbar, the same as the quad modular surround speakers, has extended-range twin-cone drivers, silk dome surround effects tweeters, and high-output amplifiers that deliver strong, pristine sound. It’s usually a pretty expensive buy, but if you get it during March 2023 or during the usual Prime Day/Black Friday/Cyber Monday time of the year, we’ve seen this on sale for as low as $1,200, which is a steal.
$1499.99 $1199.99 – Amazon
These high-end theater seats have a simple, sleek design, premium Italian 9000 leather, a powered, adjustable headrest, and nifty LED ambiance lighting. The armrest has a cup holder, a USB charging port for your devices, and a hidden compartment to store devices and snacks. The headrest can adjust according to your viewing angle, and a wall-hugging reclining mechanism is built for comfort and to conserve space within the room. It has optional attachments like a tray table, tablet holder, or glass caddy. It also has a great delivery customer service experience that takes folks step by step for what they can expect through the process. It will come in pieces, and some adult assembly is required, but it’s well worth the purchase due to its excellent quality.
$2699.99 $2399.99 – Amazon
Made from PU leather, the Homall recliner is affordable, comfortable, and a genuine delight to sit on. The material is easy to clean, which is always a bonus if you touch it with greasy cheesy-puff hands. The sponge used inside the recliner also makes this model extra comfortable. This push-back recliner is designed to open up a world of possibilities regarding your sitting position, bringing an actual home-cinema experience to your home. The footrest is adjustable, and the armrests are curved to make it more comfortable for your arms during longer viewing hours. It can support 265 pounds, and adult assembly is required. However, according to reviews, the chair can hold over 300 pounds if used as a theater chair instead of for daily use, and building it up is relatively easy.
$199.99 $149.99 – Amazon