High-Def Digest's Home Theater Gift Guide 2017

Posted Mon Nov 13, 2017 at 02:15 PM PST by
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Well, it's that time of year again. You know, the season to be jolly and to splurge on all of the latest and greatest home theater displays, speakers, and gadgets for your loved ones... and maybe a little something for yourself. After all, Black Friday comes only once a year.

But just what gear items are really worth your hard earned money? With so many great TV, audio, and streaming player options out there, figuring out exactly what gift to buy your Ultra HD-loving family and friends can be a very daunting task. Thankfully, we here at High-Def Digest have got you covered with the ultimate list of worthy gear gifts. That's right, you'll find no naughty items here! 

With an emphasis on 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos/DTS:X products, this year's list features several display and audio options for every budget -- offering specific home theater gear selections specially picked to create the perfect Budget, Enthusiast, and High-End Systems. And most of these products and setups can be mixed, matched, and customized together or with alternate gear, letting customers add or subtract items to suit their specific needs and room dynamics.

Likewise, we've also got an expansive list of great gift ideas for projectors, sound bars, and media players. And make sure to check out our previously published Best 4K TVs for 2017, Best Budgets TVs for 2017, Best Sound Bars for 2017, and Best Dolby Atmos Speakers for 2017 for even more gift ideas.

So, without further ado, here's our 2017 gear gift guide, filled with all of the year's top home theater products and gadgets. From 4K OLED TVs to full 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos systems, we've got every resolution, dongle, app, and wallet size accounted for.

Note: All listed prices reflect current Amazon or Best Buy discounts at press time and do not include taxes, shipping, or accessories.

BUDGET 4K HDR DISPLAYS WITH 5.1.2 AUDIO 


In our budget section, we've put together a list of great bang-for-your buck 4K HDR displays and immersive audio solutions that can be purchased together for a grand total under $2,000, proving that the latest tech doesn't always have to break the bank. While these options might not have all the fancy bells and whistles that their step-up models have, the panels below still offer solid high dynamic range performance and local dimming tech. Likewise, the speaker package and receiver are among the most affordable entry-level Dolby Atmos/DTS:X products on the market.

TCL 55P607 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV ($650) - Quite possibly the best 55-inch 4K TV for under $1,000, this wallet-friendly display offers support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range formats, along with wide color gamut capabilities via NBP Photon technology. Likewise, the set uses the Roku OS smart TV platform with access to more than 4,000 streaming channels and 450,000+ movies and TV episodes. An advanced remote offering voice search and a headphone jack for private listening, high-speed 802.11ac wireless and Ethernet networking, and three HDMI 2.0a ports with HDCP 2.2 are integrated as well. In addition, the 55-inch P-Series offers full-array local dimming with 72 zones to achieve deeper blacks and brighter whites.

65" VIZIO M-Series Ultra HD HDR XLED Plus Display ($1,000) - If you're looking for something a little larger, the 2017 VIZIO M-Series is easily one of the year's best bang-for-your-buck 65-inch displays on the market. Key features include Dolby Vision and HDR10 support with about 350 nits fullscreen output and around 600 nits peak output, along with full-array local dimming with 32 zones and wide color gamut support. In addition, the set uses the SmartCast TV platform, allowing users to cast supported streaming apps from their mobile devices or launch select services directly from the unit's on-screen interface. With that said, the display does not include an integrated TV tuner. 

Onkyo SKS-HT594 5.1.2-Channel Home Theater Speaker System ($379) - Perfect for customers who want an affordable, compact entry into the world of 5.1.2 audio, this speaker package includes two Dolby Atmos-enabled front speakers with integrated upward firing divers to simulate overhead audio, a center speaker, two surround satellite speakers, and a 10-inch subwoofer. Pair it with the receiver below, and you've got yourself a complete Dolby Atmos/DTS:X solution for under $800.

Onkyo TX-NR575 7.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver ($398) - As Onkyo's cheapest 2017 receiver model with 5.1.2 support, the NR575 isn't as robust as its more expensive siblings, but it packs in a surprisingly comprehensive set of features for its price. Key specs include Dolby Atmos/DTS:X playback, 4K Ultra HD passthrough with HDR10 and Dolby Vision, Chromecast built-in, DTS Play-Fi, Fire Connect, Bluetooth, and access to several music services like Pandora and Spotify.

ENTHUSIAST 4K HDR DISPLAYS WITH 5.1.4 AUDIO


For this tier, we're stepping things up a notch with more advanced 55-inch and 65-inch HDR displays, including the first OLED panel on our guide, along with more robust 5.1.4 immersive audio solutions. Though not quite the best of the best when it comes to quality, design, or size, these options can be combined to create stellar home theater systems in the $4,600 to $7,000 range.

65" VIZIO P-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display ($1,550) - VIZIO's flagship 2017 Ultra HD display maintains the company's celebrated tradition of blending premium picture quality features with surprisingly affordable pricing. The set includes Dolby Vision and HDR10 support with 600 nits, along with full-array local dimming with 128 zones, and wide color gamut support. In addition, the display uses the SmartCast TV platform, allowing users to cast supported streaming apps from their mobile devices or launch select services directly from the unit's on-screen interface. With that said, the unit does not include an integrated TV tuner. 

LG Electronics OLED55B7A 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV ($1,597) - As LG's entry-level 55-inch OLED TV, the B7 might not have all of the premium design perks found on the company's step-up models, but it does still boast the same market-leading panel, offering some of the best overall picture quality the industry currently has to offer. The TV features perfect blacks, infinite contrast, wide color gamut support, and wide viewing angles. Likewise, the set includes Active HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) support. An HDR Effect feature is included as well, allowing the TVs to simulate HDR with SDR content.  In addition, the B7 uses LG's webOS 3.5 smart TV platform and is capable of internally decoding lossless, uncompressed Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos audio.

65" Sony XBR65X900E LED Ultra HD TV ($1,798) - Despite one notable drawback, this is one of the best performing 65-inch 4K sets in its price range, offering a full-array local dimming backlight, wide color gamut support with Triluminos tech, HDR10 playback, and a firmware update planned for HLG playback. In addition, the display uses the Android TV platform for smart TV apps and streaming.  Sadly, as much as the TV has going for it, there are no plans to add Dolby Vision support, which might be an important omission for some buyers.

Elac Debut Series 5.1 System with Elac Debut Series Dolby Atmos Modules ($1,680) - This Andrew Jones designed Elac 5.1 package includes (2) B5 bookshelf speakers, (2) F5 tower speakers, (1) S10 subwoofer, and (1) C5 Center speaker for a bundled price of $1,220. Add in (4) Elac Debut Series Dolby Atmos Modules ($230 per pair) to complete a 5.1.4 speaker system.

Pioneer ELITE Speakers & Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer ($2,199) - This Pioneer package includes (1) SP-EC73 Andrew Jones Center Channel Speaker, (2) SP-EFS73 Dolby Atmos-enabled Andrew Jones Floorstanding Speakers (2) SP-EBS73 Dolby Atmos-enabled Andrew Jones Bookshelf Speakers for a bundled price of $1,800. Add in a Klipsch R-12SW 12-Inch Front-Firing 400W Max Subwoofer ($399) to complete a 5.1.4 speaker system.

5.1.4 KEF Q Series ($3,648) - Includes (2) Q550 towers ($550 each), (1) Q200c center ($500 each), (2) Q150 bookshelf speakers ($550/pair), (4) Q50a Dolby Atmos speakers ($499/pair), and (1) Kube 8b subwoofer ($500), Kube 10b subwoofer ($600), or Kube 12b subwoofer ($700 each) depending on desired LFE impact.

Onkyo TX-RZ920 9.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver ($1,400) - This 9.2 channel receiver from Onkyo includes support for 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X systems, along with 4K HDR10 and Dolby Vision pass-through, Chromecast built-in, DTS Play-Fi, Fire Connect, Bluetooth, and access to several music services like Pandora and Spotify. In addition, the unit also includes 11.2 multichannel pre-outs for 7.2.4 support with an external stereo amplifier. Rated for 135 W/Ch (8 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 channels Driven, FTC); 250 W/Ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 Channel Driven)

Yamaha RX-A2070BL 9.2 Channel AVENTAGE A/V Receiver ($1,600) - This Yamaha 9.2 channel receiver includes support for 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X systems, along with 4K HDR10 and Dolby Vision passthrough. In addition, the device includes support for the company's MusicCast wireless multi-room audio platform. Rated for 140 W (8 ohms, 0.06% THD).

HIGH-END 4K HDR DISPLAYS WITH 7.2.4 AUDIO


Tossing all budget considerations aside, this section includes a slew of truly top-of-the-line Ultra HD displays with sizes ranging from 65-inches to 77-inches. Likewise, we've put together some premium 11.2 channel receiver options and full 7.2.4 speaker configurations to complete the ultimate gift package for any home theater enthusiast.

LG Electronics OLED55B7A 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2,597) - The B7 is the most affordable 65-inch OLED on the market right now but it still manages to offer the same stellar picture quality found on its more expensive siblings. The TV features perfect blacks, infinite contrast, wide color gamut support, and wide viewing angles. Likewise, the set includes Active HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) support. An HDR Effect feature is included as well, allowing the TVs to simulate HDR with SDR content.  In addition, the B7 uses LG's webOS 3.5 smart TV platform and is capable of internally decoding lossless, uncompressed Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos audio.

65" Samsung QN65Q9 Ultra HD QLED TV ($3,298) - Samsung's flagship 2017 Ultra HD TV uses new metal quantum dot technology to deliver some of the market's best color and brightness specs, offering support for a wide color gamut, 100 percent color volume, and a peak luminance between 1,500 and 2,000 nits. Likewise, the set includes HDR10 support and is among the first displays to include new HDR10+ support (but sadly it does not offer Dolby Vision). In addition, the panel features local dimming but it uses edge-lit LEDs rather than a superior full-array implementation. A 75-inch model is also available for $6,998 if you're looking for something a bit more enveloping

65" Sony XBR65A1E Bravia OLED Ultra HD TV ($3,998) - While LG's 2017 OLED displays can get a tad brighter, Sony's first big-screen OLED Ultra HD TV rivals them in almost every way. Key features include HDR10 and Dolby Vision support (HLG via future firmware update), perfect black levels, wide color gamut playback with Triluminos tech, great viewing angles, and a unique Acoustic Surface sound system that produces audio directly from the screen itself. Buyers can also opt to go even bigger with a 77-inch model for $14,998.

75" Sony XBR65X940E 4K Ultra HD LED TV ($4,498) - As Sony's top-of-line 2017 LCD display, the XBR65X940E comes in at a whopping 75-inches and offers exceptional brightness and HDR10 performance with wide color support. Likewise, Dolby Vision playback is expected to be added via a firmware update later this year. In addition, the set offers full-array local dimming to create superior black levels.

65" LG SIGNATURE G7 OLED Ultra HD TV ($4,997) - LG's 2017 OLED TVs offer some of the best overall picture quality on the market, and this premium G7 model adds in a few extra design and audio perks. Key features include Dolby Vision and HDR10 support (with an HLG firmware upgrade coming soon), industry-leading black levels, great viewing angles, wide color gamut playback, a Picture-on-Glass design, and a sound bar stand with Dolby Atmos support. And if 65-inches isn't enough you, LG also has a 77-inch model available for $9,997.

7.2.4 Klipsch Reference Premiere System ($5,430) - Includes (2) RP-280FA floorstanding speakers ($799 each), (1) RP-450CA Center Channel ($599), (2) RP-140SA Dolby Atmos speakers ($399/pair), (4) RP-260F floorstanding speakers ($449 each), and (2) R-112SW subwoofers ($519 each). Or go in-ceiling with the Klipsch CDT-5800-C II ($345 each) switching to the RP-280F towers ($539 each).

7.2.4 KEF Q Series ($6,148) - Includes (2) Q950 towers ($900 each), (1) Q650c center ($650 each), (4) Q350 bookshelf speakers ($650/pair), (4) Q50a Dolby Atmos speakers ($499/pair), (2) Kube 12b subwoofers ($700 each).

7.2.4 KEF R Series ($14,500) - Includes (2) R700 floorstanding speakers ($3,600/pair), (4) R300 bookshelf speakers ($1,800/pair), (1) R600c Center Channel ($1,500 each), (2) R400b subwoofers ($1,700 each), and (4) R50 Dolby Atmos speakers ($1,200/pair). 

Denon AVR-X6300H 11.2 Channel A/V Receiver ($1,499) - This 2016 11.2 channel A/V Receiver is currently available exclusively for Prime Members at a fantastic sale price of $1,499. The device features support for 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X systems, and also includes 4K HDR10 and Dolby Vision passthrough, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Denon HEOS tech, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Rated for 140W per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz~20 kHz, 0.08% THD). A new 2017 AVRX6400H model with very similar specs is also available for all Amazon customers but for a more expensive $2,199 price tag.

Onkyo TX-RZ3100 11.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver ($2,358) - This is an 11.2 channel A/V Receiver with Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support for 7.1.4 systems, along with Bluetooth, WiFi, FireConnect, and Chromecast built-in. Likewise, the unit includes 4K HDR10 passthrough and will receive Dolby Vision support later this year. The device is rated for 140 W/Ch. (8 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 channels Driven, FTC) and 200 W/Ch. (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD, 1 Channel Driven, FTC).

Pioneer ELITE SC-LX901 11.2 Channel A/V Receiver ($2,800) - This 11.2 channel A/V Receiver from Pioneer features Dolby Atmos/DTS:X for 7.1.4 systems, along with Bluetooth, WiFi, FireConnect, and Chromecast built-in. Likewise, the unit includes 4K HDR10 passthrough and will receive Dolby Vision support later this year. The device is rated for 140 W/ch (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, THD 0.08 %, 2ch Driven FTC). 

HDR PROJECTORS


Though traditional displays have their perks, nothing beats a projector when it comes to creating a truly immersive cinematic experience. And there are several models on the market now that even include support for 4K content, HDR10, and wide color.

Optoma UHD60 4K Ultra High Definition Home Theater Projector ($1,999) - This entry-level 4K HDR projector delivers a UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 (through special video processing to double the 2716x1528 resolution of the DLP chip). Support for HDR10 is included as well, along with some level of REC.2020 wide color gamut and DCI-P3 coverage (though an exact percent is not listed). Brightness is rated for 3,000 lumens and the unit offers a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 with Dynamic Black enabled. In addition, the projector features high quality stereo sound, vertical lens shift, a 1.6X zoom for easy installation, and support for producing UHD images at up to 300 inches. 

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 1080p 3D Home Theater Projector with 4K Enhancement ($2,699) - Though technically only a Full HD 1080p model, this 3LCD 3-chip technology Epson projector includes 4K Enhancement Technology which allows the device to accept a 4K input and then rapidly shift 1080p sensors diagonally by a half-pixel giving viewers something close to a 4MP resolution. In addition, the model offers HDR10 support, 3D support, and P3 color gamut playback in Digital Cinema Mode. Brightness is rated for 2500 lumens, and the contrast ratio is listed for up to 1,000,000:1.

Optoma 4K UHD Laser Projector ($4,499) - Uses a powerful laser phosphor light engine and offers a resolution of 3840x2160 with 8.3 million pixels via XPR video processing technology with fast switching. In addition, the projector is rated for about 3,000 lumens and a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio with Dynamic Black enabled. Likewise, the unit supports high dynamic range with HDR10 capabilities, along with wide color gamut support. HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 is integrated as well, and the device features vertical lens shift and a 1.6x optical zoom.

Sony VPLVW285ES 4K HDR Home Theater Video Projector ($4,998) - The entry-level Sony SXRD (3 chip) model features support for projecting images up to 200 inches in true 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution with HDR10 at 60p and 10-bit depth. Likewise, the device uses Sony's TRILUMINOS tech for a wider color gamut with up to 6,000 hours of use. Brightness is rated for 1,500 lumens and 3D capabilities are included.

Sony VPLVW675ES Native 4K HDR 3D SXRD Home Theater Projector ($14,998) - Sony's premium SXRD (3 chip) model offers full 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution, 1800 Lumens of brightness, a 350,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, HDR10 support, TRILUMINOS Color, and 3D support.

SOUND BARS


Full surround sound systems might offer the most immersive audio experience, but some users simply don't have the room or budget for multiple speakers and a separate AV receiver. Thankfully, there are plenty of solid sound bar options on the market, offering space-saving all-in-one audio solutions that provide a sizeable upgrade over shrill integrated TV speakers. Likewise, some advanced models even include upward firing drivers for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio.

VIZIO SB2820n-E0 Sound bar Home Speaker ($78) - About as basic as they come, this 28" model might not include a subwoofer or advanced audio features, but it provides a simple, inexpensive 2-channel alternative to integrated TV speakers. The sound bar is rated for 95 dB with less than 1% Total Harmonic Distortion and a frequency response of 70 Hz - 19 KHz, and offers Dolby Digital playback and DTS sound enhancement through a digital optical connection. And though HDMI and Wi-Fi are not included, the device does support Bluetooth streaming. 

Yamaha YAS-207 Sound Bar ($230) - The YAS-207 is a 200 watt sound bar system with four 1-3/4" woofers and dual 1" tweeters on the main unit and a separate wireless 6-1/4" cone subwoofer. HDMI ARC connectivity with 4K HDR passthrough is featured as well along with digital optical and analog audio connections. In addition, the YAS-207 is one of the first audio products to include support for the new DTS Virtual:X post-processing mode. This feature is designed to create an immersive audio experience with multiple dimensions -- including height -- from a single sound bar system without the need for ceiling speakers, upward firing drivers, or surround speakers. Check out our full review for more details.

LG SJ9 Dolby Atmos Sound Bar ($897) - One of the most affordable Dolby Atmos sound bars on the market, the SJ9 features multiple speakers, including two powerful up-firing drivers, and a wireless subwoofer to offer a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos experience. In addition, the device uses a Hi-Fi DAC with support for High Resolution audio and includes HDMI ARC with HDR passthrough. With that said, the unit does not include support for DTS:X.

Yamaha YSP-5600 Music Cast Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos & DTS:X ($1,580) - As one of the only sound bar models with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, the YSP-5600 has all of your immersive audio needs covered. Though the system sadly does not include a subwoofer, the unit boasts 7.1.2-channel support with a 32-speaker array for 7-channel sound, two six-speaker arrays for overhead channels, and two woofers. Finally, the system supports Yamaha's robust MusicCast wireless multi-room audio system with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support, along with HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMI inputs with 4K passthrough.

ULTRA HD BLU-RAY PLAYERS


Putting together a killer display and audio system is all good and well, but that fancy gear is pretty meaningless unless you've got some equally impressive content to play on it -- and for that, you'll need an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. With HDR10, Dolby Vision, DTS:X, and Dolby Atmos capabilities, these players will all help demonstrate the full potential of your home theater.    

Philips BDP7502/F7 4K Ultra HD Wifi Blu-ray Player ($189) - The newest Philips-branded Ultra HD Blu-ray player is now one of the market's most affordable options. The device includes Ultra HD Blu-ray disc playback with HDR10 and Dolby Vision (via future software update), along with integrated HEVC and VP9 decoders for playing Netflix and YouTube 4K content, 4K upscaling for non-4K sources, and support for Dolby and DTS Audio. Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Ethernet, USB Multimedia, and HDMI 2.0a HDR video output and 1.4a audio output connections are included as well. 

LG UP970 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Player ($197) -  Offers Ultra HD Blu-ray disc playback, along with Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and 4K streaming capabilities from Netflix and YouTube. In addition, the player includes HDR10 support and will add Dolby Vision support by the end of the year (an update was previously released but later pulled). 

OPPO UDP-203 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player ($549) - This advanced player offers support for 4K UHD Blu-ray with HDR10 and Dolby Vision, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, and CD through a high-precision, well-balanced laser optical disc loader. HEVC, H.264, VP9 4K, and Hi10P playback from connected USB hard drives and thumb drives up to 16TB in capacity are included as well, along with built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet. In addition, the device features dual HDMI outputs, 7.1 channel analog output, two rear USB 3.0 ports, one front USB 3.0 port, and digital coaxial and optical connections. 

STREAMING MEDIA PLAYERS


Most displays include integrated smart TV platforms, but for the best performance and most robust collection of apps, users can also purchase a separate streaming media player. With access to thousands of movies and TV shows, these devices offer a convenient entertainment solution.

Amazon Fire TV ($70) - The new 2017 model offers access to a growing collection of channels, apps, and Alexa skills, including over 500,000 TV episodes and movies from services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Amazon Video, and more. Under the hood, the device is powered by an Amlogic Quad-core 1.5GHz processor and Mali450 MP3 GPU, along with 2GB of memory, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and 8 GB of storage. The player also features a new compact dongle-like design that fits behind a user's TV. In addition, the unit includes support for up to 60fps 4K Ultra HD playback with HDR10 (but not Dolby Vision) and Dolby Atmos audio. An Alexa Voice Remote is included as well.

Roku Ultra ($83) - As the company's current flagship media player, the Roku Ultra offers support for 4K Ultra HD streaming and HDR10 (but not Dolby Vision) with access to access to 450,000+ movies and TV episodes across 4,500+ paid or free channels. A Dolby Digital Plus decoder with support for Dolby Atmos bitstreaming, USB input, Optical Digital Out, enhanced point anywhere remote with voice search, premium headphones for private listening, and gaming buttons are integrated as well.

Apple TV 4K ($180) - Utilizes the A10X Fusion chip and offers 4K playback capabilities at up to 60 frames per second with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. In addition, the device includes 4K scaling for HD sources, Siri voice search, iCloud support for media sharing, standard AirPlay capabilities, and the ability to serve as a smart home hub for HomeKit accessories with remote access and automated control. AirPlay 2 support will be added later this year as well, enabling the unit to control multiple AirPlay 2-compatible speakers. Unfortunately, the device does not currently offer Dolby Atmos playback.


So, there you have it. Those are our top home theater gear gift suggestions for 2017. We hope this guide helps out in your holiday shopping endeavors. For now, though, what do you think about our choices? Do you have any other gear suggestions for the holiday season? Let us know in the forums! And be sure to check out High-Def Digest every day throughout the next few weeks for all of the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals!

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