Home theater equipment worth giving this year (even if the gift is you)

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So you have all the gifts you need for the kids, your family, and the friends that really matter. But it’s been a tough year, surely you also deserve a little joy. Maybe it’s time to upgrade that HDTV to a 4K OLED or finally switch to using sad TV speakers. It’s time to make yourself happy, by true Parks and recreation fashion. Here are some of the best home theater gadgets we recommend when budget isn’t an issue.

Apple TV 4K

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

While the latest Apple TV model isn’t a huge leap from its predecessor, there are a few updates that make it worthy of a holiday madness. The redesigned Siri remote is a big improvement over the previous version, app and streaming performance is faster than ever and there is support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. As always, there is deep integration with iOS, and HomeKit compatibility is a nice bonus. And when you tire of music and movies, Apple TV also functions as a game console with access to Apple Arcade and support for Bluetooth gamepads. – Billy Steele, Senior News Editor

Buy Apple TV 4K on Amazon – $ 169

BenQ HT2050A projector

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

A projector is a great gift for any movie buff or gamer in your life, and for around $ 800, the BenQ HT2050A is the best budget 1080p projector available. Its DLP technology delivers best-in-class contrast (ANSI 1,574: 1) and color accuracy where it counts, and is also reasonably bright, with 2,200 lumens in “live” mode. On top of that, it comes with a 1.3x zoom and a vertical lens shift option for maximum installation flexibility. It’s also a good option for gaming, thanks to the relatively low input lag of 16 milliseconds. Cons include slightly excessive fan noise, rainbow effect, and red tinted 3D. – Steve Dent, Associate Editor

Buy the BenQ HT2050A Projector on Amazon – $ 850

65-inch LG C1 OLED TV

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

If you are looking for the best possible TV to buy, there is no doubt: choose an OLED model. Personally, I would stay with LG C1, the latest generation of the company’s incredible OLED displays. Unlike LCD TVs, which rely on backlighting, pixels in OLED TVs can turn on and off individually. This allows them to capture inky blacks and provide better contrast than most LCD panels. The C1 isn’t much different from last year’s CX lineup, but it’s LG’s most advanced OLED yet. It has a 120Hz refresh rate for fast gaming, as well as support for G-SYNC and Freesync to prevent annoying jerks. Its wide viewing angles also allow everyone to get the perfect picture no matter where they are seated. – Devindra Hardawar, Senior Editor

Buy a 65-inch LG C1 OLED TV on Amazon – $ 2,500

Monoprice Monolith THX Atmos home cinema speakers

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Sometimes a sound bar is not enough. No matter how many drivers you can fit in or how good the virtual surround sound is, nothing beats the immersion of a complete home theater speaker setup. Monoprice’s Monolith series is one of the best options out there – it sports a powerful center channel, your choice of towers or bookshelf speakers with top-firing Dolby Atmos speakers, and subwoofers loud enough to rock your walls. There are tons of surround sound systems to choose from, but the beauty of the Monolith range is that it has all the latest speaker technology and is reasonably priced, at least compared to other Hi-Fi systems. Fi. Previously, you had to mix and match the speakers to create an affordable surround setup. You can start small with a few towers and a subwoofer, and once you have a complete system you may never need to go to the movies again. – DH

Buy Monolith speakers at Monoprice starting at $ 250

Optoma Cinemax P2

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

With high brightness and ease of installation, ultra short throw projectors are all the rage right now, making them the ultimate gift for any movie buff. The CinemaX P2 is the best among those for the price thanks to a good combination of features. It offers 3000 lumens of brightness, while providing good contrast and accurate colors, with DCI-P3 coverage of 80%. The 40-watt Dolby Digital 2.0 NuForce Soundbar is one of the best on any ultra-short throw projector and looks relatively sleek in white. On the other hand, while it does offer apps, they’re not as good as the ones you’ll find on, say, Google’s Chromecast, although that’s an easy fix since it has three HDMI 2.0 ports. – SOUTH DAKOTA

Buy Optoma CinemaX P2 on Amazon – $ 3,300

Roku Ultra

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

If you are not a fan of Apple TV, the Roku Ultra is the only other decoder to consider. It’s fast enough to stream 4K video with Dolby Vision, and it supports just about any streaming app you want. It also has a solid remote control with voice search capabilities, and You can still access all Apple streaming videos through the Apple TV app. And while Roku’s interface isn’t pretty, it’s fast and gets the job done. – DH

Buy Roku Ultra on Amazon – $ 99

Sonos Arc

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Sonos finally introduced an upgrade to its aging Playbar last summer when it launched the Bow. Along with an updated design, the soundbar also supports Dolby Atmos, making it a great choice for the living room. True to the Sonos lineage, the Arc is also well suited for music and you have the option of adding a subwoofer or satellite speakers as you see fit. It will also work as part of a new or existing Sonos multi-room setup and each time you add to the main living room setup, the Arc will automatically adjust to compensate for the additional equipment. – BS

Buy Arc from Sonos – $ 899

Sony HT-A7000 Soundbar

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Sony’s Atmos compatible soundbars are among the best and latest high-end model is no different. The A7000 replaced the HT-ST5000 as the flagship of the company’s lineup, but this time the soundbar doesn’t come with a wireless subwoofer in the box. Instead, Sony gives you the flexibility to add to your home theater setup as needed. The company offers two subwoofer options, as well as a pair of rear speakers. However, the A7000 on its own is a 7.1.2-channel unit equipped with HDMI 2.1 with eARC, as well as 8K and 4K / 120Hz passthrough. This means that both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision are in play as well. than a large support for games. Plus, wireless connectivity includes Chromecast, AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect when you only need a few songs. – BS

Buy Sony A7000 from Crutchfield – $ 1,298

65 inch TCL 6 Series Smart TV

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

If the OLED is too rich for your blood, consider TCL MiniLED Powered 6 Series line. It has a lot more backlight areas than regular LCDs, which can result in black and contrast levels close to what you would see with OLED. However, the lower cost is the main selling point, leaving you with enough money to invest in your sound system. It’s a solid entry for both watching movies and gaming. The 6 Series also includes some of the cheapest 8K TVs on the market, although we recommend sticking with 8K until more content is actually available. (Something that can take a long time.) – DH

Buy a 65-inch TCL 6 TV on Amazon – $ 1,139

Seats of the Theater of Valencia Seats of Verona

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

The location of your butt is just as important to your home theater as the configuration of your screen and sound. You’ll need seats that you can relax in for hours without hurting your back, and they need to be sturdy enough to survive actual use with pets and children. The offices of Verona in Valencia are a solid option if you want to replicate the high-end theater experience with reclining seats. They are made of genuine leather and offer separate recline options for your back and to manage. And sure, they’re expensive, but a decent sofa will cost you as much as three Verones. And, let’s face it, they’ll be a lot more comfortable for watching movies and gaming than your typical West Elm option. – DH

Buy Verona Seats on Amazon – $ 1,750

Vizio M-Series 5.1 Soundbar

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

Articles for the Engadget 2021 holiday gift guide

If you have a smaller space or can’t justify threading wires around your living room for a complete home theater system, Vizio M-Series 5.1 Soundbar Kit offers a lot of value. It supports Dolby Atmos, for enveloping surround sound, and it comes with wireless rear channels and a subwoofer. Best of all, it’s a lot cheaper than competing systems (although if you want you can upgrade to other Vizio Atmos options as well, like the Rotary elevation). Think of the M-Series as a solid entry into the world of surround sound (and one that you won’t feel too bad about replacing when you want bigger speakers). – DH

Buy the Vizio M-Series 5.1 soundbar on Amazon – $ 328


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