The Best Home Theater Setups to Suit Any Budget

A sleek, elegant home theater setup
Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com

The home theater landscape can be a pretty tough terrain to navigate at times. Such a huge variety of home theater tech exists out there, which can cause confusion. But don’t give up, as we’re here to guide you through a selection of home theater tech that will suit a range of budgets.

The devices are organized into different budget categories. They start with a $500 home theater setup and worked through $2000, $5000, and $7000 budgets from there. With feature-packed tech now available at very affordable prices, you can achieve a decent setup without making your wallet cry huge, poverty-stricken tears.

So yeah, let’s get that home theater up to snuff, shall we?

Up to $500: Because “Cheap” Doesn’t Always Mean “Bad”

It may surprise you, but a budget of $500 can net you a really nice home theater setup. And since you can grab a TV with a built-in streaming platform, you cut out the requirement for an extra piece of kit. For example, Buying a TV with Roku’s streaming services included means you won’t need to buy a separate Roku Ultra media player.

TCL 50″ Class 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR Roku Smart TV

TCL TV displaying its menu
Amazon

TCL may have just announced its new 5G phones, but it is best known for its TVs. Its 50″ 4K TV is an absolute STEAL and packs enough features to grant it a place in our $500 setup.

Obviously, the 4K Ultra HD definition is a real clincher at this price, and a 50″ picture is more than suitable for movies and gaming. You’ll be picking off those pesky snipers with ease!

The TV ships with Roku’s software pre-installed, so you’re pretty much ready to entertain the hell out of yourself once you’re plugged in. The TCL is Alexa compatible, too. With a wealth of connection options (three HDMI ports, one of which is ARC), you can easily expand on this setup as cashflow allows.

Best Smart TV to Suit a $500 Budget

TCL 50S425 50 Inch 4K Smart LED Roku TV (2019)

A feature-rich 4K UHD TV with ROKU built-in for instant entertainment.

Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition

Soundbar sat on a sideboard below a TV
Amazon

Anker’s Nebula Soundbar is a cracking choice to get some big-volume soundwaves bouncing around your room. Like the TCL TV, it boasts Alexa compatibility and has the very welcome addition of Fire TV built-in.

With app connectivity available on both Android and IOS devices, this is a great addition to your entry-level home theater setup. 4K HDR support also makes this an attractive option when coupled with a 4K TV.

The Soundbar is nice and loud, so you won’t have a problem filling your living space with movies, music, and games. With customizable sound modes and equalizer adjustment, too, you can be safe in the knowledge it has all your general entertainment covered, sound-wise.

Best Soundbar to Suit a $500 Budget

Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition, 4K HDR Support, 2.1 Channel, Built-In Subwoofers, Voice Remote with Alexa

Anker's Nebula Soundbar is an excellent entry-level home-theater addition that packs Fire TV alongside its big sound.

$501—$2,000

If you have $2,000 to spend, then you can get your hands on some seriously cool home theater tech. With this sort of budget, you can grab a space-saving projector and screen combo, with plenty of change to give the sonics a boost.

ViewSonic X10-4K True 4K UHD Short Throw LED Portable Smart Home Theater Projector

Viewsonic X10-4K
Viewsonic

If you’re looking to spend up to $2k, then throwing half of that down on a 4K projector is a seriously smart move. The ViewSonic X10-4K projector is a very attractive option to give your home theater setup a huge boost.

Obviously, there is the 4K factor that makes this projector extra special. However, if you’re short on space, then that makes the ViewSonic X10-4K an even bigger draw. The projector is short-throw, meaning it can sit in close proximity to the display surface and still display a large picture. The X10-4K is capable of projecting an image up to 120 inches with a throw distance ranging from 1.6 – 11.5 feet / 0.5 – 3.5 meters.

The 2,400-lumen LED means ambient light shouldn’t be a problem, as it won’t wash the image out too much. Plus, any fan noise should be negated by the integrated Harman Kardon Bluetooth speakers.

Best Projector to Suit a $2,000 Budget

ViewSonic X10-4K True 4K UHD Short Throw LED Portable Smart Home Theater Projector Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (2019 Model)

The Viewsonic X10-4K is a real feast for the eyes. With a 4K image at up to 120", you can enjoy as much oversized entertainment as you please.

Elite Screens Aeon Series, 120-inch 16:9, 8K / 4K Ultra HD Home Theater Fixed Frame Borderless Projector Screen

Elite Screens Aeon 120-inch Screen
Amazon

If you’re going to have a projector, then you should also go for a screen. Elite Screens has a wide range available, but its 120-inch Aeon projector screen is perfect for coupling up with the ViewSonic X10, given its 4K compatibility.

You can customize your projector screen somewhat, prior to purchase. There are several options available for screen material, each offering a different picture result. The projector screen supports 16.9, 16:10 and 2.35:1 aspect ratios. The screen is designed to work with any projector, so even if you decide on a different 4K brand or model, the Aeon will more than service your requirements.

Best Projection Screen to Suit a $2,000 Budget

VIZIO SB4051-D5 Smartcast 40” 5.1 Slim Sound Bar System

Amazon

If you’re going to have a delightful viewing experience, then you’ll want to match that with some surround sound. The VIZIO SB4051-D5 Smartcast Sound Bar System is a great option to achieve true 5.1 surround sound.

You get a wireless sub-woofer, the soundbar for your center channel, and two satellite speakers. The inclusion of VIZIO Smartcast means you can also access a range of streaming services. With a max volume of 101 decibels, you should be able to entertain your neighbors with this piece of kit, too. “Alexa, play Seasons in the Abyss by Slayer.”

Best Surround Sound System to Suit a $2,000 Budget

VIZIO SB4051-D5 Smartcast 40” 5.1 Slim Sound Bar System, Black

If you want to experience true 5.1 surround sound, you have all you need with the VIZIO Soundbar system; a soundbar, subwoofer, and two satellite speakers

$2,001-$5,000

A budget up to the $5,000 mark is going to bag you some damn neat home theater tech. You can get your hands on an impressive console rig with this kind of cash, adding home-cinema sound and excellent visuals.

Samsung QN65Q900RBFXZA Flat 65″ QLED 8K Q900 Series Smart TV

Samsung 8K TV
Samsung

Granted, 8K content is pretty much non-existent right now but, if you’re going to throw a load of cash at a TV, then you may as well get in early and grab an 8K device before all that content arrives.

An 8K TV still has applications in a 4K world, though, thanks to the upscaling capabilities that models like Samsung’s Q900 Series Smart TV feature. This means that you can watch 4K content in pseudo 8K.

A 65″ screen is an ample-sized display for pretty much all media, and the fact that the Q900 is a smart-TV puts plenty of apps at your fingertips to add depth and variety to the home theater experience.

Best TV to Suit a $5,000 Budget

Samsung QN65Q900RBFXZA Flat 65" QLED 8K Q900 Series Smart TV (2019) With HW-Q80R Samsung Dolby Atmos Q80R Series Soundbar

Adding 8K visuals to your setup is a wise move if you have the cash. The Samsung Q900 Series is a 65" 8K TV with smart functions and 8K upscaling.

Definitive Technology ProCinema 6D + Denon AVR-X1600H Receiver – Compact 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System

ProCinema 600 System
Definitive Technology

If you want to experience some seriously impressive sound, then this home theater speaker system from Denon and Definitive Technology should work wonders. You are looking at a full sound system here, and for a surprisingly wallet-pleasing price, too. It’s worth noting that this setup is recommended for someone with a little more experience. You will need to set it up correctly to achieve the kind of sound you want to hear and to do justice to your investment.

The Definitive Technology ProCinema 6D speakers come hard to rival. They’re fairly small, so this is great for saving space, and you get 16 speakers crammed into a center channel, subwoofer, and four satellite speakers. This should deliver a rich, broad sound stage that is excellent for music, movies, and gaming.

This is thanks, in equal measure, to the Denon AVR-X1600H Receiver. The amp is quite the snarling beast, capable of hammering out 80 watts per channel. And with a range of audio and visual connectivity options, this is a great amp to bring the entire home theater experience together.

The AVR-X1600H also has Wi-Fi streaming capability, so say hello to a whole world of music sounding better than you’ve possibly ever heard it before.

Best Speaker System to Suit a $5,000 Budget

Definitive Technology ProCinema 6D + Denon AVR-X1600H Receiver - Compact 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System (2019 Model) | Powered Subwoofer, Center Channel, 4 Speakers, 7.2 Channel AVR

Get amazing sound as Denon and Definitive Technology join forces to deliver an astounding---and space saving---home theater sound system.

Either/Or: Xbox One X 1Tb Console – Gears 5 Limited Edition Bundle

Xbox One X Gears 5 Edition
Amazon

Immersing yourself in a game is one of the best ways to exploit your home theater setup. The Xbox One X offers true 4K gaming so, in conjunction with the Samsung TV and Definitive Technology/Denon combo, you’re going to be enjoying a premium gaming experience.

This version of the console features 1 TB of storage, so plenty of space for games, and you also get downloads for the full versions of each title in the Gears franchise. That is a hell of a lot of gaming you’ve got to do!

We recently hailed Xbox GamePass as being the best value on the market right now, so add a Gold Membership full year subscription and you can enjoy even more gaming goodness for your hard-earned dollar.

Best Console to Suit a $5,000 Budget

Xbox One X 1Tb Console - Gears 5 Limited Edition Bundle [DISCONTINUED]

Xbox combines excellent gaming with 4K visuals to deliver a truly immersive experience...particularly once all the Gears games are thrown into the mixer.

And an Xbox Wireless Controller – Gears 5 Kait Diaz Limited Edition

Gears 5 Limited Edition Controller

You should at least have one buddy you want to impress with your home theater setup. Don’t be a bore and hog the game screen, get busy on a co-op game and then two people can enjoy the experience.

The perfect companion to the Xbox One X Gears 5 bundle has to be a Gears 5 Kait Diaz Limited Edition Xbox Wireless Controller, right? Take out Theron Guards with twice the firepower. The controller comes in a fetching snow-weathered white colorway and is fully customizable via the Xbox Accessories app.

Best Gaming Accessory to Suit a $5,000 Budget

Xbox Wireless Controller - Gears 5 Kait Diaz Limited Edition

The Gears 5 limited edition controller adds continuity to your gaming experience, as well as an extra pair of hands to tackle the Locust Horde.

Either/Or: PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Bundle

PS4 pro 1tb call of duty bundle
Amazon

If you’d rather head down Sony’s path, then the PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Bundle should offer you plenty of entertainment. As with the Xbox One X, you get 1TB of space to load with games and apps, and one controller.

The widely applauded Call of Duty: Modern Warfare comes with the bundle, so get ready to enjoy one of the best single-player campaign storylines the franchise has ever offered. The recently introduced battle royale multiplayer mode—Warzone—adds even more value to the package. You can still take part in standard multiplayer modes too, though. Stay frosty.

If you want to play online, you’ll need PlayStation Plus. You can pick up a 1-year subscription for a very reasonable price, which is delivered as a digital code. You can also play a boatload of titles from previous PlayStation, via PlayStation’s PlayStation Now app, again available via digital code.

Best Console to Suit a $5,000 Budget

Call of Duty Modern Warfare (PS4)

If you're not feeling the Xbox, then PS4 Pro has equally just as much to offer you, particularly when you integrate it into your home theater system.

And a DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4 – Red Camo

ps4 controller red cam control interface
Amazon

We suggest teaming up with a pal for some split-screen action. Like Xbox, PS4 has some awesome multiplayer/co-op titles, so there’s plenty to enjoy with your friends. You’ll need additional controllers, for that.

The officially licensed Dualshock 4 Wireless controllers have some cool designs. This red camo number is particularly nice, and the Goku-like sunset-orange and blue one looks sweet. Take a look through the range, as there are plenty of different colorways available.

Best Gaming Accessory to Suit a $5,000 Budget

DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4 - Red Camo

Keep your pals on their toes and get busy on some co-op game modes - the red camo design complements some of the gun skins in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game from the bundle above!

$5,001-$7,000

$7,000 might seem like a lot of money to spend on a home theater. But, the more you spend, the more like an actual theater it is going to be. With this kind of money, you can invest in a top-of-the-range surround-sound system, a high-spec projector and screen, and add a real touch of luxury to the whole scenario.

BenQ HT3550 4K Home Theater Projector

Benq HT3550 projector
BenQ

We’ve plumped for BenQ’s HT3550 4K Home Theater Projector to provide the visual aspect for this home theater setup. It offers true 4K visuals natively and the image is displayed over a combination of 8.3 million pixels, according to BenQ.

The HT3550 comes pre-calibrated, so you just need to tear the box open, like an excited child on Christmas day, and install the projector. There is also a variety of pre-set image modes so you don’t have to spend hours adjusting picture settings before you watch a movie or head into some gaming.

It offers short-throw capabilities, so even if space is limited, you can still enjoy a 120-inch picture at a short distance between the source and the display surface. We recommend combining the BenQ HT3550 with the Elite Screens 120-inch Aeon projector screen we mentioned earlier.

Best Projector to Suit a $7,000 Budget

BenQ HT3550 4K Home Theater Projector with HDR10 and HLG | 95% DCI-P3 and 100% Rec.709 for Accurate Colors | Dynamic Iris for Enhanced Darker Contrast Scenes | 3 Year Industry Leading Warranty

The BenQ HT3550 offers true 4K images at up to 120", so you'll have superior visuals for movies and gaming, combined with the space-saving short-throw feature.

Polk Audio LSiM 707 MVC Loudspeaker

LSiM 707 loudspeakers in living space
Polk

Not only does the Polk Audio LSiM 707 Loudspeaker look beautiful in its Mount Vernon Cherry housing, but it delivers high-performance audio for a genuine audiophile experience. With enough money for two of these in this budget range, you could potentially feel that these loudspeakers are enough to satisfy your needs. While you won’t get surround sound from these alone, the do cover bass, mids, and treble.

The Polk LSiM MVC loudspeakers are excellent just as a pair, but even more formidable when incorporated into your surround sound setup. Great front speakers.

Best Loudspeaker to Suit a $7,000 Budget

Polk Audio LSiM 707 MVC Loudspeaker (Mt. Vernon Cherry, Each)

Polk's floor-standing loudspeakers are a real head-turner looks wise and deliver the depth of sound for which Polk has become renowned.

Polk Audio T30 100 Watt Home Theater Center Channel Speaker

Polk t30 centre speaker in setup
Polk

With the loudspeakers sat either side of your visual display, the center channel goes directly below your image source. The point is to deliver a balanced surround-sound experience, and the Polk T30 Center Channel speaker does just this, adjusting dialogue in a movie or vocals in a song. This is great if they are particularly low or high, as you can change the volume of the center speaker to suit. The speaker is also pretty compact so it won’t take up too much real estate in the living room.

As we have some Polk loudspeakers, the Polk T30 Center Channel Speaker ensures continuity with the rest of the surround-sound system alongside its inimitable audio quality.

Best Center Speaker to Suit a Budget of $7,000

Polk Audio T30 100 Watt Home Theater Center Channel Speaker - Hi-Res Audio with Deep Bass Response | Dolby and DTS Surround | Single, Black

The Polk Audio T30 Center Speaker is a compact piece of kit, capable of big sound to boost movie dialogue and song vocals.

Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer

polk hs12 sub-woofer in living space
Polk

Bass is important where any home theater setup is concerned. Without a good bass range, the sound is going to lack depth. A subwoofer is the perfect antidote to this as it deals only in bass frequencies.

Polk’s HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer will give your system the deep bass it deserves, without letting up on the clarity or definition of the sound. It is a powered sub, meaning it needs to be plugged into the mains to work.

The black walnut chassis will help the sub blend in with the rest of your furniture so you can experience imposing sound from an unimposing speaker.

Best Subwoofer to Suit a $7,000 Budget

Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer with Power Port Technology | 12” Woofer, up to 400W Amp | For the Ultimate Home Theater Experience | Modern Sub that Fits in any Setting | Washed Black Walnut

For cavernous bass in an attractive housing, Polk deliver again with their HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer to really add depth to your surround sound system.

Polk Audio S20 Signature Series Bookshelf Speakers

polk S20 bookshelf speaker in living space
Polk

You’ll need some satellite sound if you are going to truly immerse yourself in the surround sound experience. In keeping with the rest of the Polk-based system, we have chosen its S20 Signature Series bookshelf speakers.

The bookshelf speakers are versatile and can be included in a variety of speaker set-ups. We’ve created a 5.1 surround sound experience, here, but they’re good for 2:0, 2:1, 3:1, 5:1 and 7:1. Because they’re only small, you have plenty of freedom in terms of placement as they’ll fit on a bookshelf (duh) or dedicated speaker stands.

Best Satellite Speakers to Suit a $7,000 Budget

Polk Audio S20 Signature Series Bookshelf Speakers for Home Theater, Surround Sound and Premium Music, Power port technology, Detachable Magnetic Grille (Pair), Black

Polk Audio's Signature series offers exceptional quality audio, with these S20 bookshelf speakers adding that important extra layer to your surround sound experience.

Denon AVR-X4500H Receiver + HEOS 5 Wireless Speaker

Denon AVR 4500H in setup with screen display active
Denon

Bring your whole home theater together with Denon’s AVR-X4500H receiver. This is 13:2 channel amp (the world’s first, no less), so you can expand on your system past what we’ve recommended here (subject to budget and inclination, of course).

Denon boasts magnificent 4K picture quality through this amp, which you’ll need for this setup, and at 150W per channel, you’ll be making quite the din with this powerful machine. You also get a wireless HEOS 7 speaker as part of the package. While you won’t really need this in your setup, it does mean you can pop a high-quality speaker in another room and control your music wirelessly via the amp.

Best Amplifier to Suit a $7,000 Budget

Denon AVR-X8500H Home Theater + HEOS 7 Wireless Speaker (Black) Bundle

Denon and Polk are a match made in heaven, so it makes sense to incorporate the 13:2 AVR-X4500H amplifier into your surround sound setup.

Seatcraft Orleans – Home Theater Seating

Seacraft Orleans Twin Theater Chairs
Amazon

The cherry in this $7,000 cake has to be a luxury touch, and Seacraft’s “Orleans” home theater seating is exactly what you need to elevate this to a real home theater experience.

The seats are crafted from leather-gel, so offer a comfortable seating experience with the feel of real leather. They have USB charging, arm storage and tray tables, cup-holders with blue-light illumination, and blue lights at the base of the chair.

Not only that, but they recline with the flick of a lever for superior comfort as you pour ultra-HD images into your eye sockets. Plus, this package features two of the chairs so you don’t have to enjoy movies alone.

A Cinematic Experience

As you can see, an excellent home theater experience can be achieved for surprisingly little in terms of financial commitment. And don’t forget, you can mix and match between some of the devices listed here, providing they are compatible.

All that is left for you to do now is grab the popcorn, crack open a beer, and enjoy.

Ste Knight Ste Knight
Steven is a freelance copy and content writer within the tech industry and beyond, hailing from Liverpool, UK. He's an expert reviewer, covering everything from the latest smartphones and audio to robot vacuums and electric scooters. If it's a cool new piece of tech, Ste will give you the lowdown on what it's really like to use. Read Full Bio »

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