The winter is a great time to upgrade your home theater. After all, who really wants to venture out into the cold and snow when you can enjoy a movie theater experience right in the comfort of your own home. So, if you don’t get any new home theater gear for the holidays, consider these options. Maybe you will even get lucky on some post-holiday deal (though I am not making any promises these prices will come down).
Media Streaming: Optimal Picture Quality
Apple is amping up the picture quality with its new Apple TV 4K ($179 to $199), which will support both 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR). iTunes users will even get automatic upgrades of HD titles in their existing iTunes library to 4K HDR versions (once they become available). And they can also enjoy 4K HDR content on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, if content is available for those options. Plus, it can be controlled via your voice through Siri.
Projector: 10-foot Picture in Your Home
If you are really looking to add a movie theater feel to your home, then you may want to opt for a projector rather than a TV. The Epson Home Cinema LS100 ($2,999) is an ultra short-throw laser display, which means it can sit just inches from a wall and still project an up to 10-feet diagonal Full 1080p HD picture (sorry, no 4K) right on the wall (with or without a screen). The fact that it is a short-throw projector also eliminates the need for long cables and reduces the amount of shadows and glare.
Gaming: Switch it Up
For some people, no home theater system is complete without a game console. PlayStation and Xbox both released more powerful versions of their previous systems, but once again Nintendo is trying to change how gamers play with the Nintendo Switch ($299). Not only does this console connect to your home theater, but it also easily converts to a portable system in a snap—so you can play it wherever you go.
TV: A Piece of Art
Samsung’s The Frame ($1,999 to $2,799) is not just a 4K Ultra HD TV—it transforms into a gallery-like art display. Designed in collaboration with Yves Behar, this TV (which comes in 55-inch and 65-inch models) looks just like a piece of art that you would hang on the wall. It even displays artwork and photographs via “Art Mode” when it is not used to watch TV or movies. Plus, Oprah named it on her annual “Favorite Things” list, so what else do you need to know.
Soundbar: Sound Support
Most soundbars are designed to be wall-mounted directly below a TV, but not all TVs are mounted. The Sonos PLAYBASE ($699) actually serves as a stand for your TV. The TV goes right on top of the PLAYBASE, which delivers wireless 5.1 surround sound that fills up your entire room. It also offers features such as a “Speech Enhancement” setting that keeps dialog volume consistent while reducing the volume of sound effects and a “Night Sound” setting that boosts quiet sounds while reducing loud ones.