Best Home Cinema System 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

Homecinema 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 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.

Whether you opt for simple all-in-one sound systems or a huge 7-piece Blu-ray package, you will find systems in all shapes and sizes to suit your needs. Here are some of our top picks for homecinema systems, from soundbars to full suites.

ProductImageTypeSpeaker outputFeaturesNumber of itemsPriceRatingBuy Now
LG HT44S 2.1 DVD Home Cinema1-lg-ht44s-2-1-dvd-home-cinema-system2:1 home cinema system440W- USB direct recording
- USB Plus
- DivX playback
4££7.0/10
Sony BDV-N7200W 5.1 3D Smart Blu-ray/DVD Home Cinema2-sony-bdv-n7200w-5-1-3d-smart-blu-ray-dvd-home-cinema-system5:1 home cinema system1,200W- Wi-Fi connection
- NFC mirroring
- Bluetooth
8££8.3/10
Samsung HT-J5150 5.1 Blu-ray & DVD Home Cinema3-samsung-ht-j5150-5-1-blu-ray-_-dvd-home-cinema-system5:1 home cinema system1,000W- USB sharing
- Full HD
- HDMI ports
6£8.0/10
LG BH9540TW 9.1 Smart 3D Blu-ray Wireless Home Cinema4-lg-bh9540tw-9-1-smart-3d-blu-ray-wireless-home-cinema-system9:1 home cinema system1,490W- Full app store
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
- Screen mirroring
6££9.0/10
Sonos Playbar Home Cinema Soundbar5-sonos-playbar-home-cinema-sound-barSoundbar-- Wi-Fi
- Sonos app
- Intuitive sound
1££££9.0/10

Our Top Pick

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

Sony BDVN7200W 3D Blu-ray Home Cinema System Review

A smart 5:1 option that ticks all the boxes

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.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Built in Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
  • Smartphone mirroring
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Easy to setup
We Didn't Like:
  • Main unit is somewhat of an awkward size
Sony BDV-N7200W
83 %

Our 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.

Sony BDV-N7200W Rating: 8.3/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

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

Sony BDVN7200W user manual

Download the Sony BDVN7200W user manual here.

Best Mid-Range Option

LG HT44S 2.1 DVD Home-Cinemas Review

LG BH9540TW 9.1 Channel 1460 W 3D Surround Sound Home Cinema System Review

Versatile, middle-of-the-range 2:1 home-cinemas

With these systems you get a DVD player, one large speaker and two small ones. On purchase it also comes with a remote control, batteries and power cord. The beauty of this model is that you can set it up however you want, and the sound quality is really something, once you’ve adjusted the settings.

A useful feature of this LG is its USB Ripping, which allows you to transfer music from a CD to your MP3 player or smartphone. Its handy USB Plus feature also gives you the option to playback photos, videos and music onto your TV via a USB stick. With 1080P upscaling, you can increase SD to HD quality with ease, giving you better picture as well as sound. A sound middle-of-the-range option for the home.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Great sound quality
  • Good value for money
  • Looks great
  • Super build quality
We Didn't Like:
  • Pairing can take up to a minute sometimes
LG HT44S 2.1
70 %

Our Verdict: Ideal for a smaller living room, where you want that extra bit of oomph from your sound.

LG HT44S 2.1 Rating: 7/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: 2:1
  • Speaker output: 440W
  • Features: USB direct recording, USB Plus, DivX playback
  • Number of items: 4

LG HT44S 2.1 user manual

Download the LG HT44S 2.1 user manual here.

Best Budget Cinemas Experience

Samsung HT-J5150 5.1 Blu-ray & DVD Review

Samsung HT-J5150 5 1000 W 5.1 Channel Blu-ray Home Cinema System Review

Budget 5:1 systems with Blu-ray and subwoofer

With its distinctive tall speakers, this 5:1 option offers powerful surround sound for those looking to spend a little less. Its wired subwoofer allows you to up the bass levels for added drama, whatever it is you’re watching – whether movies or sports. A Blu-ray player comes included with this sound-system, offering sharp, full HD resolution in stunning colour while you watch your favourite films.

Samsung’s ‘Connect Share Movie’ feature means you can easily use a USB memory stick to import photo and video files, in addition to HDMI ports which will allow you to connect your other devices.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Superb build quality
  • Easy to setup
We Didn't Like:
  • HD cable not supplied
Samsung HT-J5150 5.1
80 %

Our Verdict: We love how easy this is to set up and navigate, and with great sound to boot, we think this is a great budget option for those who want a full 5:1 surround sound cinema experience at home without breaking the bank.

Samsung HT-J5150 Rating: 8/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: 5:1
  • Speaker output: 1000W
  • Features: USB sharing, Full HD, HDMI ports
  • Number of items: 6

Samsung HT-J5150 user manual

Download the Samsung HT-J5150 user manual here.

Best Luxury Option

LG BH9540TW 9.1 Smart 3D Blu-ray Wireless Review

LG BH9540TW 9.1 Channel 1460 W 3D Surround Sound Home Cinema System Review

An advanced, luxury option for the full cinematic experience

We love this incredible, immersive 9:1 option from LG. This is the ideal purchase for someone who wants an arrangement that is truly top-of-the-range. It can upscale your DVDs to HD quality, as well as play Blu-rays in both HD and 3D, so your picture will always be bright and super-sharp. Because it uses both wireless and Bluetooth, this LG systems offers amazing versatility when it comes to web browsing and sharing your files between devices – all with very few unsightly wires.

Being LG, this allows you to take advantage of a broad range of games, apps and films that are part of the LG package. We also love its Miracast function, which enables you to mirror your phone, laptop or tablet right onto the big screen.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Superb build quality
  • Unbeatable cinematic sound
  • Complete 3D sound
  • Easy to setup
We Didn't Like:
  • We loved everything about this model. Hard to fault.
LG BH9540TW
90 %

Our Verdict: With such incredibly powerful sound, it is unlikely you will ever need to turn this up to its fullest. This model has a lot of great features to work with and is the ideal purchase for those who really want to bring their home viewing experience to life.

LG BH9540TW Rating: 9/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: 9:1
  • Speaker output: 1490W
  • Features: Full app store, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, screen mirroring
  • Number of items: 6

LG BH9540TW user manual

Download the LG BH9540TW user manual here.

Best Home-Cinema Soundbar

Sonos Playbar Soundbar Review

SONOS PLAYBAR Wireless Home Cinema Soundbar Review

A powerful all-in-one soundbar for extra oomph

If you’re looking to simply improve the sound quality of your experience, then look no further than this highly recommended Sonos Playbar. Whether you’re into gaming, films or TV shows, this powerful soundbar brings your living room to life and sends vibrations right through your body.

One of the best things about using all-in-one systems or soundbar is its simplicity – it’s one extra device to add to the mix, and what’s more it’s small and inoffensive. This model connects to the TV with a single cable and has built-in Wi-Fi, allowing you to connect with ease. You can control the soundbar from your smartphone or tablet by downloading the Sonos app.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Sonos app allows control from your phone
  • Single cable to TV
  • Built in Wi-Fi
  • Very simple and easy to use
  • Looks great
  • Fantastic sound quality
We Didn't Like:
  • We loved everything about this soundbar!
Sonos Playbar Soundbar
90 %

Our Verdict: One of the genius features of this soundbar is that’s intuitive. It can figure out where it is – wherever you place it in the home, it will adapt its output for the best possible sound. Though on the more pricey end of the scale, its cost is reflected in its quality and consistently good performance.

Sonos Playbar Soundbar Rating: 9/10

Specifications & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: Soundbar
  • Speaker output: –
  • Features: Wi-Fi, Sonos app, intuitive sound
  • Number of items: 1

Sonos Playbar Soundbar user manual

Download the Sonos Playbar Soundbar user manual here.

Home-Cinemas Buying Guide

Components

Home-cinemas have become increasingly popular since Blu-ray 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 in one neat unit, which is usually placed under or next to the TV. 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.

5.1-systems

The next level up from a 2:1 is a 5:1, which typically includes 6 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.

Soundbars

Rather than going for a full sound-system, some simply choose to amplify the sound of their TV by choosing a soundbar. These long, slim boxes are unobtrusive and offer high quality sound that is designed to mimic a surround sound experience. They are usually placed near or underneath the TV and are a great option for those with limited space or budget.

What features are important to you? Will you opt for an all-in-one-system or a fully built-out 5:1 or 9:1-system? Let us know why in the comments below.

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