Best Home Theater Gift Ideas of 2023

Best Home Theater Gift Ideas of 2023

Updated on Sept. 28, 2023

Written by 
Ty Pendlebury

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Ty Pendlebury Editor

Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.

Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials

  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.

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Sq. Feet of Lab Space

Putting your brand-new 4K TV on an entertainment stand is a solid first step on the way to home theater setup. It’s the rest of the accessories that can turn a living room into the ultimate home theater destination. The best home theater gift ideas for family members or friends can range from turntablessoundbars, a new pair of headphones or a streaming device. You don’t have to break the bank for a fantastic gift.

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

If you’re looking for more home entertainment tips, check out our articles on rotating your streaming services, the best antennas and how Roku and Fire TV compare

Roku Express 4K Plus on a blue background

It’s possible to spend hundreds of dollars on a video streaming device. Possible, but not necessary. With a list price of $40, the Roku Express 4K Plus offers something for everybody — a huge range of apps and compatibility with video standards such as Dolby Vision and a 4K resolution. That it works so well for the money is a good kind of surprise. The Roku Express 4K with Voice Remote bundle is even better for an extra $10.

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Chromecast with Google TV and voice remote

Pros

  • Useful remote
  • Large app selection
  • Makes excellent use of the Google Assistant
  • Ties in well with YouTube TV, Google Photos
Cons

  • Can lag when switching apps or using voice.
  • Assistant doesn’t always give the best option to play back content

Google’s latest streaming stick, the Chromecast with Google TV, gives you a lot for your $50. It offers 4K resolution and Dolby Vision/HDR compatibility and it comes with a voice-enabled remote. If you have a Nest Hub or other Google Assistant speaker it now integrates better than ever before. Turn on your TV and watch the latest episode of your show with a simple, “Hey Google, play House of the Dragon.” The Chromecast with Google TV is zippy, performs well and is easy to use.

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014-roku-streambar-2020


Features

7

Value

9

Design

8

Ecosystem

10

Performance

7

Pros

  • Compact and easy to set up
  • Affordable
  • Excellent dialogue reproduction
  • Tried-and-true Roku experience
Cons

  • Lacks bass in movies and music

Number of channels 2

Wireless subwoofer No

Connections Bluetooth, optical, HDMI, USB

Dolby Atmos No

The Roku Streambar is an instant video and audio upgrade in a box. It offers an excellent Roku streamer on board and boasts enhanced speech quality via the integrated speaker.

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Audio-Technica AT-LP60X turntable

Pros

  • Affordable yet surprisingly feature-rich
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Choice of line level or phono output
  • Warm, bass rich sound quality
Cons

  • Plastic construction
  • Other turntables offer more detail

The Audio-Technica AT-LP60X is the best budget turntable, hands down. It offers simple automatic operation and its sound quality is a cut above anything else at the price. Perfect for a child’s bedroom, or a low-lit music sanctuary.

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sennheiser-hd-6xx-03.jpg

If you’re looking for a pair of headphones to appease the budding audiophile in your family, the HD6XX offers an extraordinary value. They do need a good amp — you can’t really run them from a phone — but the sound quality can’t be beaten. I use them connected to a receiver for late-night viewing and they work a treat.

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Elac Debut 2.0 B6.5 speakers

With an improved look and clearer sound, the Debut 2.0 is even better for people looking to dive into the audiophile world. At $350, the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 is an excellent value.

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vizio m512 soundbar

You can spend a lot of money on a Dolby Atmos setup, but here’s one for well under a grand. It looks great, it’s easy to use and it sounds good with music and movies.

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