Editorial Reviews

Editor's Choice Best Home Theater In a Box – Good Buys for Hard Times

We’ve Pulled Together the Best Home Theater In a Box for Under a Grand.

Why read five different reviews at eight different sites?
What we’ve done is scavenged the web of editors top picks, from CNET to ZDNet and given you a one stop web review experience. This time we are money conscience.  These are the best picks over the past year or so for under $1000.00.

Quick Top Picks:


Editor’s Choice Best HDTVs


Editor’s Choice Best Blu-ray Player

How to Choose a Home Theater in a Box:

Home Theater in a Box
Building Up Your Own Home Theater System
Pros – Easy as plug and play. Someone else has pieced together the components so they all match. Typically HTiB save space and money.
Cons -Not going to impress any audio snobs, but who cares? Not everyone has time, energy or money for a individually hand picked theater system.
Pros – Your bank account is the limit in hi-fi heaven. You’ve done your research and know your stuff, you shouldn’t be displeased at all.
Cons -Where did your time and money go?

Choosing a Home Theater in a Box is pretty simple.  There are a couple things that you really only need to keep in mind.

- The more you spend, the more likely the sound, options, and design will be of higher quality. Though you don’t have to spend a lot to get a good home theater experience.
- That you may have trouble upgrading your speakers at a later point, if you so choose.  You might want to ask around in our forums for suggestions for your own room size.
- The larger a room you are trying to fill with quality sound the more power you’ll want from your HTiB

Experts may all agree on the advantages or shortcomings of any product they review but, at AudioReview.com, we believe that the average consumer can best summarize all the details a product has to offer… So read what users have to says!


Panasonic SC-PT750 – $339


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CNet.com says: While it’s short on inputs, Panasonic’s affordable SC-PT750 delivers DVD upscaling, wireless surround speakers, an iPod dock, and some surprisingly decent sound quality for a great price.

How Stuff Works.com Says: The Panasonic SC-PT750 is a small and sleek home theater system with wireless surrounds that works great for smaller rooms. The main unit is not only the amplifier, but also a 5-disc DVD and CD changer. Included with the SC-PT750 are five main speakers, a subwoofer unit, the wireless receiver for the rear speakers, remote control, iPod dock, and cables for connecting various components.

Audioholics.com Says: Panasonic produces several low cost home theater products and the SC-PT750 includes many features for the price. This package is very similar to its little brother, the SC-PT650 , but we feel the black color matches a better with most newer flat panel displays and the wireless rear speaker receiver is included, along with slightly larger front left and right speakers.

Read here for more details and find out prices.


JVC TH-L1 – $260

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DigitalTrends says: The JVC TH-L1 is an adequate system for first-timers, starving students and people who want a multi-faceted system but who are on strict budgets. It’s also good for smaller home theater rooms with good acoustics. The TH-L1 is easy to set up, looks decent and works consistently.

CNet.com Says: While the sound isn’t overpowering, the wealth of connectivity options and features bundled into the JVC TH-L1 home theater in a box makes it well worth the inexpensive price tag.

Techradar Says: Setup is quick and easy, thanks to the use of labelled speaker cables while the onscreen setup menu is well designed and smartly presented. The remote is cluttered but doesn’t take long to master. Despite its diminutive speakers, the system is capable of producing a surprisingly muscular sound with our test DVD of Finding Nemo.

Read here for more details and find out prices.


Samsung HT-BD2 – $899


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CNET.com says: 7.1-channel all-in-one home theater system with built-in Blu-ray player; built-in support for latest Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio surround processing; elegant styling, with four tallboy speakers; full-size subwoofer; upscales DVDs to 1080p.

HiFi-ring.com Says: Consumers can now enjoy the full HD 1080p with Samsung’s Blu-ray player from the HT-BD2 home theater system. The HT-BD2 7.1 channel HD receiver speaker system provides richer and powerful sound with its industry leading Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio format support. With its sleek, piano black design the HT-BD2 augments both the audio presence and visual aesthetics of home theatre.

UltimateAVmag.com Says: Excellent spec for the money, including fine Blu-ray pictures and sounds, plus 7.1 speakers; very stylish looks / Treble is a bit harsh, whilst bass isn’t quite deep enough; could do with a little more sonic solidity

Read more details and find out prices here.


Onkyo HT-S990THX – $999


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WiredMag Says: With 7.1 surround capability and no built-in DVD player, the not-so-compact HT-S990THX isn’t your typical home theater package. But what it lacks in onboard video it more than makes up for in audio quality. The bookshelf speakers are boxy, but they produce a more accurate soundstage and wider dynamic range than the other, less homely systems in this category.

CNet Says: The Onkyo HT-S990THX is the world’s first THX-certified home-theater-in-a-box system. The package combines seven large two-way, multidriver speakers; a 12-inch, 230-watt powered subwoofer; and a full-size A/V receiver that offers generous connectivity, component video conversion, and ample power. It’s also XM Satellite radio-ready with the latest XM HD Surround.

About.com Says: Fortunately, there are growing number of all-in-one home theater systems that can deliver the goods, and the Onkyo HT-S990THX is one that is designed to do just that. With a THX Certified Receiver, loudspeakers, and subwoofer, everything in this system is a good match.

Read more details and find out prices here.


Sony DAV-IS10 – $399


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HiFiRing.com says: This 5.1-channel home theater system from Sony wouldn’t take so much place in your house with these tiny satellite speakers measuring about 43mm x 43mm. Also note that you can get optional speaker stands (WS-FV11) for a retail price of $155/pair. The A/V receiver includes an on-board DVD player compatible DivX, JPEG, MP3 and a built-in AM/FM tuner is present.

Review WhatHiFi Says: ‘Outrageous’. While that might seem a strange word on which to begin a review of a home cinema system, it’s an appropriate epithet to pin to a product that induced in our reviewing team varying degrees of gob-smacking, jaw-dropping shock. We’ve long been accustomed – especially in this more style-oriented part of the market…

CrunchGear.com Says: Overall this is a pretty hot-looking product that fits in best in tight quarters. At $800, it’s even a bargain given the surprising sound quality and versatility. The home networking adapter is an essential extra if you’re using this as your main music system, since it lets you stream tunes from your computer wirelessly, though the optional speaker stands seem hilariously out of place for a system this small.

Read more details and find out prices here.


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  • Greg says:

    I love this in your pros/cons info box…

    “Pros – Easy as plug and play. Someone else has pieced together the components so they all match. Typically HTiB save space and money.
    Cons -Not going to impress any audio snobs, but who cares? Not everyone has time, energy or money for a individually hand picked theater system.”

    What we have found is that the MOST overlooked and really the best and most surprising detail of setting up a home theater is “the room”. You can spend way over your budget on equipment and wind up with a very loud and expensive “home theater” but very disappointing sound quality. You can’t afford to overlook the need to control the sound inside the room.
    Fortunately its a pretty simple exercise to fix the problem BEFORE you spend more than you need to on equipment and we include this service with all our new clients as part of designing a true “theater in a box” featuring an acoustically engineered space for the ultimate home theater experience.
    Putting a bargain “home theater system” into one of our acoustically engineered rooms will make the snobs drool. No…really! That’s NOT just hype. Its true. So don’t overlook this necessary step as you create your home theater…you will be glad you took the few extra minutes to check it out.

    Greg Snyders
    Intainium Home Theatres
    intainium.com/index.htm

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