Best Home Cinema System 2018 – 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 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.

The Home Cinema Systems – Our Top Picks

Best Luxury Option: LG LHB655NW
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LG LHB655NW Home Cinema System
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  • Dimensions: 60.5 x 36 x 29.9cm
  • Power output: 1000W
  • Weight: 23kg
  • Sound: Dolby, DTS, DTS HD and dolby True HD decoding
Best Home Cinema Soundbar: Sonos Playbar Soundbar
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Sonos Playbar Soundbar
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  • Type: Soundbar
  • Features: Wi-Fi, Sonos app, intuitive sound
  • Dimensions: (85 x 900 x 140mm)
Best Budget: Samsung HT-J5150
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Samsung HT-J5150 5.1 Blu-ray & DVD
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  • Type: 5:1
  • Speaker output: 1000W
  • Features: USB sharing, Full HD, HDMI ports
  • Number of items: 6

Best Home Cinema Systems

Sonos Playbar Soundbar

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.

We like

  • 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 disike

  • We loved everything about this soundbar!

Final 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.

+ Specifications

  • Type: Soundbar
  • Features: Wi-Fi, Sonos app, intuitive sound
  • Dimensions: (85 x 900 x 140mm)

+ Downloads

Sonos Playbar Soundbar user manual

Download

LG LHB655NW Home Cinema System

A top of the range cinema system with a central speaker and subwoofer, 4 tallboy speakers, a passive amplifier and Bluetooth connectivity.

This luxury system will bring your movies and music to life, powered by 1000 watts to ensure complete immersion. Both Blu-ray and DVD are supported giving you have the ability to couple your stunning sound with a crystal clear picture and enjoy a viewing experience as captivating as that of the big screen, without ever leaving your home.

We like

  • Blu-ray and DVD support
  • Stunning sound
  • Bluetooth enabled

We disike

  • Initial setup can be awkward

Final Verdict

An amazing system which truly lives up to expectations and provides outstanding quality sound.

+ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 60.5 x 36 x 29.9cm
  • Power output: 1000W
  • Weight: 23kg
  • Sound: Dolby, DTS, DTS HD and dolby True HD decoding

Samsung HT-J5150 5.1 Blu-ray & DVD

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.

We like

  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Superb build quality
  • Easy to setup

We disike

  • HD cable not supplied

Final 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.

+ Specifications

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

+ Downloads

Samsung HT-J5150 user manual

Download

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

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.

We like

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

We disike

  • 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.

+ 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

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.

We like

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

We disike

  • 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.

+ Specifications

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

+ Downloads

LG LHB645N user manual

Download

Help and Resources

Home Cinema 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.