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A solid home entertainment system should have essential gear that seamlessly works together and enhances your viewing and listening experience. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations to get you started.
LCD/LED TV: Vizio P-Series F1
The Vizio P-Series F1 is our pick for the best LCD/LED TV, as it offers the best HDR experience we’ve seen from Vizio. The P-Series F1 has a wide color gamut, full-array local dimming, and movies and shows were shown with high-quality backlighting and brightness during our testing. In comparison to competitor models we tested, it has more HDMI inputs, plus it supports Google Home and Alexa. The P-Series F1 also comes with Chromecast support which allows you to stream content from a phone or tablet. We like that it has a basic, easy-to-use interface and a game mode which lowers input lag.
Shop Now: $800
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Budget 4K TV: TCL 65R617
For a great, inexpensive set that has all the features we expect in a modern 4K TV, we recommend the TCL 65R617. It’s equipped with HDR support and better image quality than many pricier competitors. During testing, we found that the 65R617 had far more local dimming zones than similar models in its price range and it offers contrast ratio, resolution, and brightness that make for a superior viewing experience. We like that its Wi-Fi remote has a built-in headphone jack for listening without disturbing others, and love that you don’t need to buy a separate Roku streaming stick. If your space calls for a 4K budget model that’s slightly smaller, we recommend the 55-inch version—the TCL 55R617.
Shop Now: $1,000
Soundbar: Definitive Technology W Studio Micro
The Definitive Technology W Studio Micro is the perfect soundbar for most TVs because it has a simplistic design, an 8-inch subwoofer that offers impressive sound, and access to streaming services via DTS Play-Fi. During testing, our entire panel chose it as a favorite for listening to music but it also reproduces deep, textured bass which improves movie-watching experiences. It’s a breeze to set up and easy to use on a day-to-day basis, plus it has an array of connection options including two optical digital audio inputs. The W Studio Micro isn’t Bluetooth enabled, but can be controlled over Wi-Fi or with its intuitive IR remote. If you’re looking for a home theater speaker system that’s primarily for watching movies, and one that offers bigger, enveloping sound, we recommend the ELAC Debut 5.1 System.
Shop Now: $900
1080p Projector: Sony VPL-HW45ES
A good projector can take your home entertainment setup to the next level and the Sony VPL-HW45ES is the best 1080p projector for a dedicated home theater. It’s a great option if you don’t need to stream 4K video and its color accuracy, contrast, and image quality is top-notch. It runs quiet and its lens is flexible which makes it easy to install. Professional calibration isn’t an absolute must as it comes with a built-in image reference preset straight out of the box. Although the VPL-HW45ES lacks an Ethernet port and analog video inputs, its provided features come at a decent price and of all the projectors we tested, it has one of the lowest lag rates.
Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
Shop Now: $2,000
HDMI cable: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable
While an entertainment system is usually jam packed with speakers, a TV, and similar gear, simple additions will come in handy when completing your setup. The AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable is sturdy, reliable, and inexpensive. It’s also compatible with all video sources and any UHD 4K TV. We think that a 3-foot cord is long enough to connect your gear to a soundbar, TV, or receiver, but if you need a longer option, it’s available in lengths of 6, 10, 15 and 25 feet.
Shop Now: $6
These picks may have been updated. Click through to see the current recommendations or availability updates for the best gear for building your home theater, the best 4K TV on a budget, the best soundbar, the best LCD/LED TV, the best projectors, and great, cheap HDMI cables.