Best Home Theater System 2018: Wireless Speakers for TV

Updated October 2018

We have spent around 60 hours combined researching the market and testing units to find the best home theater systems available. Based on our findings, the Sonos 5.1 system takes the grand prize. Flawless design meets pristine sound quality. The Sonos brings the full cinema experience into your living room.


Overview


Watching movies is an experience. Movies entertain us, influence us and speak to our emotions. They bring families together and make for memorable evenings. The movie experience is built up by visuals along with audio. Have you considered why we go to the movies? – Because it gives us the full experience. It gives us breathtaking visuals and overwhelming audio. Did you know that the full cinema experience can be achieved at home? In this article, we will help you find the best home theater system to bring the cinema experience into your living room.

The market can be a jungle to navigate, so we’ll sort you out and give you an overview of the most popular wireless speakers for TV.

We know that some TVs have built-in speakers that are able to blast high audio volumes. However, nothing fills up the living room with warm crystal clarity audio like a 5.1 surround sound home theater system.


Top Picks: Wireless TV Speakers

Below are three different units at different prices that all serve as home theater solutions.

Best Overall

Sonos 5.1 Home Theater System

Sonos 5.1 System

Pros

  • Strong built quality
  • Incredible audio quality
  • Stylish & minimalistic
  • Feature-packed

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

The Sonos 5.1 Home Theater System has been gaining a crazy amount of traction lately. It has taken the market by storm with its clean and minimalistic looks and its stunning audio quality. If you’re looking for a high-tech and feature-packed solution with deep thought into every detail, the Sonos surround sound system is the right choice for you.

The Sonos Surround Sound system is our recommended solution because of its crazy good audio quality, great design, and easy management.

Best Audio Quality I’ve Ever Heard

As an audio fanatic I have never been this hyped in my life. Setting up the system must’ve been the fastest and easiest thing I’ve ever tried. Usually, these types of setups can seem daunting but this was a whole different story. Now, what really surprised me was the incredible audio quality!

I am a big sucker for Harry Potter and I am especially fond of the amazing music (shout out to John Williams). So, I thought what better way to kick things off than watching a Potter movie? During the opening sequence where the title music was playing, I was already straight up laughing out of pure amazement because the audio was so great. The Sonos 5.1 home theater system really makes everything an experience.

I’ve owned many home theater systems and listened through countless different speaker setups throughout the years and what Sonos achieves is second to none. This system really knocks you back in your seat. You get a beast surround sound system in a size your wife won’t get mad at you about. Hands down the best home theater system I’ve ever heard!

Easy Setup & Feature-Packed Enjoyment

It is no secret that every single detail has been taken into account by Sonos. Especially the setup and calibration process is impressive. Everything is easy as one-two-three. Ultimately this means that with zero effort, you’ll have all the components running optimally in no time.

When it comes to the features, Sonos also really sets apart from the pack. Pretty much everything is wireless (except from two cables from the PLAYBAR) leaving you free from the clutter. With Wi-Fi connectivity and regular updates, your system will always be running at full potential. Heck, it will even improve over time as Sonos add additional features!

Everything can be customized with ease using the Sonos app for iOS and Android. Having trouble hearing a dialog? – Turn on dialog enhancement mode and bring the conversation through the mix. Afraid of waking up the whole neighborhood while enjoying a movie at night? – Enable night mode and get a balanced audio experience that enhances the lows and dampens the high sounds. Wanna set the mood of your romantic dinner with some passionate background music? The choice is yours – The Sonos solution is here to help.


Runner-Up

Bose 5.1 SoundTouch 300  Surround Sound System

Bose 5.1 SoundTouch 300

Pros

  • Elegant design
  • Cohesive, solid bass
  • Smartphone App
  • Great support

Cons

  • Setup somewhat hard
  • Slightly expensive

The Bose 5.1 SoundTouch 300 bundle stands as a worthy opponent to the Sonos home theater system. It is clear that the two competitors had some of the same ideas when designing these setups. The Bose SoundTouch system was probably designed with the idea of “cinema experience” in mind while the Sonos leans towards a “smart living” starting point.

Bose is a well-renounced brand in the audio industry. Probably more so than Sonos. The Bose surround sound system is the perfect choice for sound fanatics – and even better if you’re a Bose fan! You get the fantastic characteristic Bose sound that made the brand so famous in the first place.

Packed with smart features that make everyday living more manageable, the Bose 5.1 SoundTouch 300 surround sound system is a fantastic product with immense detail and a modern look.

Professional Audio in a Smart Package

The Bose 5.1 SoundTouch 300 home theater system is a brilliant choice for audio lovers. Bose is well known for their affordable but high-quality products. This unit is their take on building a smart solution for people wanting to bring the cinema experience into their living room. And oh my, did they do a good job!

Packed with cool functionality that broadens the use of the unit, you’re bound to be amazed. If you’re a die-hard Bose enthusiast or already own Bose speakers, this is a must-have addition to your collection.

Lots of professional musicians and audio technicians praise Bose into the clouds – and for a good reason. They build flawless units with impeccable sound quality.

A Strong Competitor

Now, can the Bose 5.1 SoundTouch 300 compete with the Sonos unit? – Possibly.
Does it sound better than the Sonos unit? – In my opinion, it does not.
Should I pick this over the Sonos unit? – Only if you have a specific reason for it.

If you have experience with Bose and like the brand, I don’t see why not.

In my opinion, this unit is a strong competitor, but it does not beat the Sonos home theater system. That said, the audio quality differences are minimal and it’ll most likely be a subjective matter which is best. If you like the Bose brand better, go with that.


Best Budget

Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2

Shockwafe Ultra 9.2

Pros

  • 9.2 System
  • WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Easy to use
  • Highly affordable

Cons

  • Turns off with TV
  • Not compatible with all Harmony versions

You might be of the idea that getting a proper home theater system is expensive. Well, it doesn’t have to be! Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 is the perfect example of an extremely powerful home theater system that takes you further for your money. With double subwoofers and 4 additional audio channels, this powerhouse of a speaker system really brings insane value for your money.

We highly recommend the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 home theater system to anyone looking for the full home cinema experience without having to empty their wallets. The Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 is by far the best budget solution – but it does not feel or sound cheap!

Impressive Detail with an Impressive Price Tag

You might be thinking that with a soundbar, four speakers, and two subwoofers, there must be some compromises elsewhere. Well, actually there’s surprisingly few! The first thought would be that the sound quality could be poor. Let me just quickly shoot down that idea. As a long-time audiophile, the Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 still managed to make my jaw drop. I put it to the test watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, because of the epic soundscapes and wonderful visuals. Was the speaker system able to match the stunning visuals on a 60″ 4K TV? Oh, yes they were!

The Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 is geared with more fire-power than any of the competitors. This 9.2-channel surround soundbar system has 1000 watts of speaker power. Supporting all the modern surround formats (DTS:X, Dolby Audio), is a versatile unit. All in all, you’re looking at volumes of up to 110 decibels (which is the equivalent of having a car honk at three feet away).

Coming Through, Loud & Clear

The home theater system plays louder than any of its competitors. It has 18 speaker drivers and comes with two subwoofers, providing a more precise soundscape, allowing for more accurate detail. Size-wise, this system takes the cake. With bass frequencies as low as 45 Hz and highs up to 18 kHz, you’re going to get crystal definition in the whole sound spectrum.

The Shockwafe is the best home theater system for people who want to get immense power at a low cost. If you can live without the extra features of say, the Sonos, you’re more than set with this unit. While some of the other systems are more subtle and have additional high-tech features (such as voice-activation and smartphone apps), you’re certainly not compromising with the audio experience.

If you’re looking for most value for your money, Nakamichi Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 is the only right choice.


Power for Pennies

Klipsch HDT-600 Speakers for TV

Klipsch HDT-600

Pros

  • Incredibly cheap
  • Decent power
  • Stylish look

Cons

  • Lacking fullness in sound
  • Requires an AV receiver
  • Wired

The Klipsch HDT-600 wired speakers for TV is another great addition to this list. The HDT-600 is one of the cheapest speaker systems by a reputable brand you can get.

The HDT-600 has an impressive frequency range from 33Hz – 20kHz. This means you get to experience deep bass as well as soothing highs. The previously mentioned systems all include soundbars – the Klipsch HDT-600 does not! Though it is a nice to have, it is not a must have for everybody. This TV speaker unit definitely has all the essentials needed to give you a great experience.

With a maximum acoustic output of 112 dB and a 100 W subwoofer, you’re getting lots of power for your money. The HDT-600 can fill even large livingrooms with detailed audio.

A solid solution with a few shortcomings

All in all, we were very impressed by this TV speaker system when testing it. But there are a few reasons as to why this system is cheaper than the others.

  1. The unit requires an AV receiver to run. This does not come bundled when you purchase it. Therefore, it won’t work out of the box.
  2. All the components are wired. This means you’ll have the struggle of cables. The Sonos system is definitely a better option if you’re looking for wireless speakers for TV.
  3. It has no soundbar. Instead, it has a center channel speaker. Though it doesn’t match up with a soundbar, we were still quite impressed by the rich sound if the center channel speaker when isolating it.

Decent sound quality

As mentioned earlier, we were very impressed by the audio quality of this TV speaker system. Not only does it cover a wide frequency range, but it also has some really crispy highs. However, like most cheaper systems, it lacks slightly in terms of bass quality. The bass can sound a little cold at times, though it definitely can be heard.

We recommend the Klipsch HDT-600 speaker system for anyone who can live with cable management and having to set things up with an AC receiver.

Some of the other systems have smart soundbars. This system is only about audio. And you definitely get a solid audio experience at a very low price.


Buying Considerations: Best Home Theater System

There are some things you want to consider when buying the best home theater system for your needs. Obviously, there’s the price and the design but when it comes to a sound system, there are other things to keep in mind.

Surround Sound

We’ve probably all heard of the term 5.1 surround sound. But unless you have experience in the field, you probably don’t know what it means.

In general, the number before the dot indicates how many speakers or audio channels are involved. The decimal number represents the number of subwoofers or low-frequency effect channels in the sound system.

This means that in a 5.1 surround system there would generally be 5 speakers (or at least channels) and one subwoofer. This format is by far the most commonly used one. Digital television, Blu-ray and DVD formats, Netflix and other streaming services all support 5.1 surround sound these days. A regular TV usually is a 2.0 solution (meaning it has a left and right speaker with no subwoofer). This actually means that to enjoy the full surround sound experience at home, you’d need at least a 5.1 system.

It is widely acknowledged that the bigger the room, the bigger a surround system is needed to fill it. A standard modern living room can be filled up with warm sound from a 5.1 unit without issues. Now, if you have a large room, you can even scale it further and go for a 7.1 system or go for the monstrous 9.2 system.

Surround Formats

We know that surround formats can seem extremely confusing at first because sound is sound, right? While this is true, various sound formats process the audio a little differently from one another.

These surround formats interpret the audio and tell the individual speakers which part of the audio they should play. This is where the term “surround sound” comes into play. Rather than having 2.0 audio thrown into your face, you’re surrounded by the audio. You in the middle of the eye of the storm.

Some of the most popular formats are Dolby and DTS.

You’ve probably heard Dolby Digital a dozen of times. It probably holds some authority in your eyes while knowing precisely what it means. It is perhaps the most popular surround format ever.

DTS is almost equally as popular. The produced sound result is also pretty identical.

The main difference is that DTS has noticeably higher bitrates thus meaning it can process more data (and possibly detail if you may) at once. This is not necessarily an advantage as the two technologies work quite differently. It could be that Dolby is just better at optimizing thus bringing the same amount of audio detail at a lower bitrate.

In conclusion, neither of these should set you off. Both formats are widely accessible and well established. You’ll get excellent results with either format. The difference in audio quality is very subjective and we’re almost certain that you’d be happy with both solutions.

Audio Frequencies

Another measure to take into account is the frequency at which speakers can playback audio. Frequency is a term used to specify how low or high sound is. Obviously, the deeper the sound, the lower the frequency – and the other way around!

To get a little nerdier, let’s take a look at how the human ear works.

Humans can generally only hear frequencies from around 20 hertz (Hz) upwards to 20,000 Hertz. These can be considered the absolute borders of our hearing range. Our hearing is most sensitive between around 2,500 Hz and 5,000 Hz.

Regarding buying the best home theater system, you’ll want to look for something that covers up the human hearing range as much as possible. Weirdly, some manufacturers produce wireless speakers for TV that go all the way up to 40,000 Hertz.

When you look at the numbers, 40 kHz obviously looks more impressive than 20 kHz but honestly, this is a gimmick. We don’t doubt that the speakers are able to churn out these frequencies, but you won’t be able to enjoy them. Well… Your dog might be able to hear some sinister secrets that you can’t, but who would want that?

Connectivity Options

Thankfully, the era of cables is over. Most of us grew up with cable connectivity everywhere. This cable goes there, that cable goes here… But honestly, things are so much simpler now that we have wireless connectivity options.

You’ll quickly see that most of the modern home cinema units feature one or multiple wireless ways to connect to it. Most common is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

If you find a system that does not feature either of the two options, let me give you an advice – stay away! The unit is outdated in some fashion and is only going to lose its pace compared to the competitors and the constant industry evolvement.

Cables are straight up ugly and annoying. Whether they tie knots on themselves or you trip over them, you’d instead wish for wireless connectivity. My point is, for a unit to be the best home theater system, it must feature Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. Preferably both.

The central part of the system needs to be powered by cable. This is usually the soundbar, which provides all the functionality. A cable or two for that is perfectly fine, but if you need wires running up and down the walls and around the furniture, you’re better off with another solution.

Keep it clean, keep it simple. Cut the cords and go wireless!


Verdict: Best Home Cinema Systems

We really hope that you’ve now acquired the knowledge needed to buy the best home theater system for your needs. As you can see, there are two sides two every story. There is no definitive winner here. Which is the best home theater system is highly subjective to your individual needs.

If you are looking for a very smart solution packed with useful and luxurious features, we recommend the Sonos unit. Not one single compromise has been made with this cinema system. Though the price tag can make you hesitant, once you try it, you’ll know it’s well worth it. In my opinion, if you really wanna build a home theater system, it’d be a waste to settle for a budget unit that does not give you the experience you want. Have the money for quality? – Buy the Sonos.

If you are looking to get a great and compelling experience on a budget and don’t care too much about additional features, the Shockwafe Ultra 9.2 will do the job. At about half the price, you’ll get a more significant system that rocks! Yes, there’s less customization, less smart features, and fewer connectivity options but you’re ensured an impressive audio experience.

Which is the best home theater system, solely depends on you. We’ve listed our favorite picks at various prices. Reading further into these units, you’re almost ensured to find the perfect match.

Now, get going and bring your movies to life with a home cinema system! Oh, and try not to wake up the neighbors.


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