Best Home Cinema System 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Home cinema systems are one of the best ways to experience the full effect of your favourite films and TV shows from the comfort of your own home. TVs are becoming bigger and better than ever before, but one of the downsides of having a flat TV is that the sound quality often suffers.

For this reason, lots of people opt for a home cinema systems with surround sound to really make the most out of their viewing.

You can opt for simple all-in-one sound bars, or if you want more of a cinematic experience, a full home cinema system could well be the answer. The most popular setup is 5.1, where you get 5 speakers plus a subwoofer, to boost the bass. But you will find systems in all shapes and sizes to suit your needs as technology moves on. Here are some of our top picks for full home cinema systems.

The Home Cinema Systems – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
YAMAHA YHT1840 5.1 Home Cinema System
  • Type: 5.1
  • Features: Cinema Sound
  • Number of Items: 6
Click for Best Price
PANASONIC SC-BTT405EBK 5.1
  • Type: 5:1
  • Speaker output: 500W
  • Features: 3D compatible, Fixed apps with catch-up services
  • Number of items: 6
Click for Best Price
Sony BDVE4100 5.1 Surround Smart 3D
  • Type: 5.1
  • Speaker Output: 1000 Watts
  • Features: 3D Compatible, Smart Technology
  • Number of Items: 7
Click for Best Price

Best 5.1 Home Cinema Systems

Sony BDVE2100 5.1 Surround Smart 3D Home Cinema System

The speakers and subwoofer from this package combine to give you a really great sound which truly puts the ‘cinema’ into home cinema.

The Blu-ray player is compatible with all Blu-rays and 3D discs, as well as your ordinary DVDs, so you can enjoy all your favourites whenever you wish. If you have made the move over to digital, though, you don’t need to worry – it is packed with Smart TV apps to let you stream films and catch up on your favourite telly on the big screen.

There is one HDMI ARC input, an Optical and an RCA L/R Audio Input, so it should suit every setup. The overall sound quality is great and makes a really noticeable improvement, and the overall interface is great to get to grips with as quickly as possible.

It is best suited to a medium-sized room as the volume doesn’t get to mind-blowing levels, but this is a given because of the more compact size. For under £200, you can’t expect much more yet will be pleasantly surprised at the quality too.

As a bonus, it has features like smart technology and Dolby Atmos, which some twice the price do miss.

Specifications

  • Type: 5.1
  • Features: Smart technology, 1000W power, Dolby sound
  • Number of Items: 7

+ Downloads

Sony BDVE2100 5.1 Surround Smart 3D Home Cinema System User Manual

Download

We like

  • Price
  • Simple to manoeuvre
  • Energy saving mode

We dislike

  • Limit to loudness

Final Verdict

Positioning is flexible enough to cater to every eventuality and room, and it is a very easy system which even tech newbies will quickly love

YAMAHA YHT1840 5.1 Home Cinema System

A very sleek collection made up of 6 speakers and with plenty of lovely extras such as dialogue enhancement and a large wired subwoofer to get the bass thumping.

The AV receiver ensures rich, clear and crisp sound from reception to delivery, with no distortion or crackling. It is compatible with 3D, ARC and CEC sources too, so no matter your chosen format you’re probably safe. There are front, rear and centre speakers to move sound around the room, and allow you to centralise it to where you will be sitting.

We love the fact that there are four HDMI ports, too. Surround sound doesn’t just have to be resigned to your television viewing – hook up the DVD player and XBox too. There is support for HDCP2.2, BT20:20 and HDR, so you will be able to watch your 4K programmes with sound which matches up to the quality.

Now for a clincher which could appeal to anybody with a room on the smaller side, or who has their sofa pushed right back to the wall. Virtual CINEMA DSP allows you to place the rear speakers anywhere in the room but will recreate the virtual 5.1 sound so you wouldn’t be able to tell. Just activate it when needed.

Positioning is also pretty flexible thanks to the 24m of speaker cable included, so you aren’t restrained. Whether it be music or dramatic movie scenes, your listening experience will be boosted ten-fold.

Specifications

  • Type: 5.1
  • Features: Cinema Sound
  • Number of Items: 6

We like

  • Easy to install
  • Good sound
  • Individual items aren’t overpowering in style
  • 17 preset sound modes

We dislike

  • No Dolby Atmos or USB for price

Final Verdict

Brilliant quality and it looks great too - definitely a winner from a leading name in the sound category

PANASONIC SC-BTT405EBK 5.1

Consisting of four bookshelf speakers, a centre speaker and subwoofer, you can set this home cinema system up as you wish around your room for optimum control. An entire home cinema kit, you can play 3D Blu-ray disks and even upscale some of your older ones to near HD quality. There are catch up services included, as long as everything is connected to your wireless internet.

As it is wireless, connecting your phone or music player is seamless for even more possibilities. Everything is easy to set up, and the instructions talk you through the entire process. You can also connect an external hard drive to the USB port.

There is a slight issue with lagging between picture and sound which can be configured in the settings to get it as close as possible, but it isn’t enough to put a dampener on the experience.

Specifications

  • Type: 5:1
  • Speaker output: 500W
  • Features: 3D compatible, Fixed apps with catch-up services
  • Number of items: 6

+ Downloads

PANASONIC SC-BTT405EBK 5.1 Smart 3D Blu-ray & DVD Home Cinema System

Download

We like

  • Price
  • 3D player included

We dislike

  • Fan is slightly noisy

Final Verdict

A full home entertainment system which will make your living room the place to be every evening

Sonos Playbase 5.1 Home Cinema System

Another cutting-edge release from one of the biggest names in the game!

This stylish and bespoke sound system is one that excels on all levels and it would have to do just that in order to justify its big price tag. Sonos is renowned for providing ground-breaking sound, and they’ve done it again! This is their official 5.1 entry that brandishes a stunning display, the main speaker can easily sit under your television whilst the other unobtrusive speakers can be made at home anywhere else in your living room.

It makes your home the epitome of sound quality as you boast the greatest movie experience, music-playing, drama-enhancing abode- this system provides everything you want as you simply hook it up to your device and enjoy Alexa. You can stream from your favourite apps and sites.

The clean matte finish means that it doesn’t just fit into your room but it actually enhances it! The system is simple to use and can be set up to sync with all of your other Sonos products. The price is steep but if you’re serious about every sound detail and a real system then this is the choice for you.

Specifications

  • Type: 5.1
  • Features: See description
  • Number of Items: 4

+ Downloads

Sonos Playbase 5.1 Home Cinema System Product Guide

Download

We like

  • SONOS and the fact it can be synced
  • How easy it is to setup and use
  • It’s sleek style

We dislike

  • The price despite being worth it

Final Verdict

It may well be expensive but if you're after the full ultimate experience then there is few other options

LG LHB645N 5.1 3D Multi-Room Cinema System

Although many Smart TV’s are now embedding high quality sound it’s still nowhere near the quality of separate surround sound systems. Enhance your home cinema experience with exquisite products like this one. We love what LG have done, setting the bar high. This multi-room technology is 3D compatible and has 1000 watts of audio power.

There’s a dream combination of tallboy and satellite speakers that can be positioned perfectly around your seating arrangements ensuring that you’re submersed into the movie. Too often people underestimate the importance of good sound when creating a home entertainment experience, the speakers are just as valuable as the television.

This choice is one that’s great value and if you shop around you may struggle to find this quality at this price. LG strive to create the best quality at great value and we definitely give them the thumbs up on this attempt. It’s great to enjoy your favourite music and movies, as this multi-purpose system delivers all of the sounds you couldn’t hear on your bog standard outlets before.

Specifications

  • 3D compatible
  • HDMI output
  • Blu-ray player
  • Audio power of 1000 watts
  • 1080p upscaling

+ Downloads

LG LHB645N user manual

Download

We like

  • Powerful sound at a reasonable price
  • Different combination of speakers
  • Works with 3D

We dislike

  • No 4K upscaling
  • No smart technology

Final Verdict

This product provides an awesome sound to match your dynamic picture and having the perfect sound completes the entire experience.

Sony BDVE4100 5.1 Surround Smart 3D

If you wish to augment your television experience with detailed sound then you may want to look at Sony’s latest protégé. This home cinema system is a lot of bang for your buck and can easily be integrated into your entire entertainment system with its smart technology.

The easy-to-use entertainment package can be set-up within minutes; it has a USB input and can be connected to the Wi-Fi. Upon reviewing this product we discovered it also has Bluetooth and can be paired with your favourite device, despite many of the retailers failing to mention this, what a great added bonus!

You can bring your movies to life with the powerful 1000-watt speaker playback and 5.1-surround sound. The sleek system comes in seven pieces with two very large and contemporary speakers that will add to your room, it also comes complete with an antenna, remote control and a warranty. The two big freestanding speakers are made to be streamline and can easily be adapted to the ambience of any room. There are some more advanced systems to put into your home but none within this price range- this is an unusually fantastic price for what really generates dynamic sound.

Specifications

  • Type: 5.1
  • Speaker Output: 1000 Watts
  • Features: 3D Compatible, Smart Technology
  • Number of Items: 7

We like

  • The contemporary design
  • The sound quality
  • Bluetooth and 3D compatibility
  • Smart features

We dislike

  • No wall bracket or speaker stand

Final Verdict

Easy to set up and will fit seamlessly into any room no matter the size, style or layout - a must for any surround sound lovers

Sony BDV-N7200W 5.1 3D Smart Blu-ray/DVD Home Cinema

A smart 5:1 option that ticks all the boxes, including with style.

If you want an experience that is truly special, then go the whole hog and invest in quality 5:1 systems like this kit from Sony. Its 5:1 surround sound with magnetic fluid speakers gives perfectly clear, undistorted sound (thanks to the amplifier) that is a pleasure to listen to – whether it’s a pin drop or a huge explosion.

We love that this model comes with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which means movies and TV shows can be streamed via the internet. Using smartphone mirroring, you can easily mirror your photos and videos straight onto the big screen.

Specifications

  • Type: 5:1
  • Speaker output: 1200W
  • Features: Wi-Fi connection, NFC mirroring, Bluetooth
  • Number of items: 8

+ Downloads

Sony BDV–N7200W user manual

Download

We like

  • Built in Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
  • Smartphone mirroring
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Easy to setup

We dislike

  • Main unit is somewhat of an awkward size

Final Verdict

One of the greatest things about this is the 3D Blu-ray player that comes included, which as well as offering super high picture quality, also allows you to experience films in immersive 3D. Football fans will be thrilled to know that they can enable ‘football mode’, which adjusts the sound levels to amplify the roar of the crowd, so you feel like you’re really there.

Help and Resources

Home Cinema Buying Guide

Components

Home theatre systems have become increasingly popular since both Blu-ray and flat screen televisions entered the market. The majority of Blu-ray disks are programmed with 5:1 digital audio, which when paired with 5:1 sound systems gives you the best possible sound quality – as close as you will get to cinema sound in your own home.

Most typical arrangements will include a DVD or Blu-ray player as part of the package, unless you are buying each component separately. They will also tend to include a receiver, a subwoofer (for bass) and additional speakers which can be placed around the room for a surround sound effect.

Speaker Systems

There are three types of speaker-systems that are typically used to form a home-cinema experience. These are:

All-in-one system

These systems encapsulate the speakers, amplification and sound decoding technology into one neat unit, which is usually placed under or next to the TV. They come in the form of a soundbar or soundstage usually. With these systems, the DVD or Blu-ray player does not usually come as part of the package – it would be bought separately. With minimal wiring to tidy away, these home systems are a simple and often cost-effective solution to improve your sound.

2.1 Systems

The clue is in the name – 2:1 systems use 2 speakers and a subwoofer to create a surround sound experience. They are a great option if you are looking for immersive sound, but only have a small living room or viewing space at home. Some 2:1 systems come with a Blu-ray player, but not all – this varies from model to model. You can buy each component separately if needed.

5.1 Systems

The next level up from a 2:1 is a 5:1, which typically includes 5 speakers in addition to a subwoofer. If you’re serious about getting a really top quality experience, then opting for 5:1 systems is worth your while, as all the best sound formats use 5:1 channels. You have more speakers to play with, which means you can position them strategically around the room to get the best effect. Most include a Blu-ray player, but not all.

Cinematic Soundbars

A more updated version of your traditional 5.1 home cinema system, instead referred to as a 7.1.4. It doesn’t really include the DVD or Blu-ray player, instead opting for a soundbar. You still often get five components however – Sound bar, wireless rear speaker x 2 and wireless subwoofer. Buying all as a package will save having to purchase separately, but you can always start small and add to the collection at a later date.