Discover the Right Home Theater for You
NEW & EMERGING:
These systems should include a receiver that can pass the 3D signal from a 3D Blu-ray player to your 3DTV over HDMI 1.4/1.4a.
 
MAINSTREAM:
In addition to a good HD receiver with lots of HDMI ports these packages should include a Blu-ray player.
 
GOOD VALUES:
Plain old DVD players are yesterday's technology. Even though you can find some great values here, we say go for high def.
   
  • 5.1 channel
  • Decoders Dolby Digital, DTS ...
  • Equalizer
  • 5.1 channel
  • Decoders Dolby Pro Logic II, ...
  • Equalizer
  • 5.1 channel
  • iPod Ready
  • Auto sound calibration
Getting more out of your HDTV
The Must-Haves

Avoid cheap HDMI cables but don't pay for the premium variety cables either. Component Audio and Video cables reduce distortion and interference.


Making it Better

Combine all your remotes into one and reduce clutter with a Universal Remote. Calibrate your HDTV to get the best looking picture - they come in standard DVD or Blu-ray.

Learn About Home Theater Systems
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  Blu-ray (Profile 2.0)The latest profile that supports BD-Live and Internet connectivity Standard DVD PlayerThere are still more standard DVDs but Blu-rays are getting cheaper Stereo ReceiversTwo channels doesn't cut it anymore
3D Compatibility3D players support Multiview Video Coding (MVC) for 3D movies. High Definition (HD)Everything is moving to HDTV don't waste money on non-HD gear Standard DefinitionEverything is moving to HD but upscaled standard def may be adequate  
HDMI 1.4a (all 3D Content Formats)The latest HDMI standard that supports Full HD 3D HDMI 1.3 (1080p)You can still watch 3D with 1.3 but go for 1.4 if you can. HDMI 1.2Older HDMI standards are better than no HDMI Component Audio/Video (RCA)Not as good as HDMI but can be adequate
HDMI 1.4 (HDMI Ethernet Channel)This supports Ethernet connectivity between devices but you need a special cable      
Wireless Satellite SpeakersMakes it easier to install surround speakers. Wired Satellite SpeakersWireless speakers are handy but you can usually hide the wires and surround speakers are worth it.    
  Optical Digital AudioOptical isn't susceptible to electrical interference Coaxial Digital AudioYou can still get adequate audio with coax  
7.1 ChannelThis adds two rear speakers to 5.1 channel surround sound 5.1 ChannelStill the standard in surround sound audio and what most programming supports. 2.1 ChannelIf you don't want wires running all over your house, 2.1 channel is the answer. 2-speakersYou'll be amazed the difference surround sound makes
1000W+1000 watts-plus should you get enough power to drive all the different speakers. Auto Sound CalibrationA useful feature uses a mic to tune the audio to your room's acoustics.    
iPod ReadyControl and play your iPod or iPhone through your receiver Powered SubGet that extra bass with a good subwoofer but downstairs neighbors may complain. Non-powered SubLow power bass is better than no bass