1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Home Theater Products Of The Year - 2009

By

It is that time of year where every consumer electronics journalist picks their favorite products of the year. While many choose the most expensive and/or only high end products, I take the approach of picking items from a broad range of product classes and prices that provide a good value for the consumer. Here is the list of my favorite home theater-related product picks for 2009. For an alternate view of the products on this list, check out my Home Theater Products of the Year - 2009 Photo Gallery.

1. OPPO Digital BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player with SACD/DVD-Audio Playback

OPPO Digital BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player - Front View with Remote
Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The OPPO BDP-83 is a feature-packed Blu-ray Disc Player that is also an excellent performer. Besides Blu-ray disc playback, the BDP-83 also provides excellent 1080p upscaling of standard DVDs using Anchor Bay VRS technology. Also, other features, such as SACD and DVD-Audio playback, front and rear mounted USB ports for importing images, video, and music from flash drives, add great audio and video flexibility. Although having a somewhat higher price tag than many players, the OPPO BDP-83 takes Blu-ray Disc Player performance and flexibility to the highest level.
Short - Full Reviews - Photo Profile - Video Performance Tests.

2. LG Electronics BD390 Blu-ray Disc Player - Network Media Player Combination

LG BD390 Network Blu-ray Disc Player
Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
LG has experience with both the now-defunct HD-DVD and surviving Blu-ray Disc formats, and was the first manufacturer to introduce a networked Blu-ray Disc player at CEDIA 2008. However, their new BD390 expands on the success of their previous networked Blu-ray Disc player platform and incorporates not only expanded video and audio streaming options (which include CinemaNow, YouTube, Vudu, and Netflix), but wireless network connectivity via built-in WiFi. This is definitely a player for those that want a complete Blu-ray and internet streaming entertainment experience.

3. DVDO Edge Video Scaler and Processor

DVDO Edge Video Scaler By Anchor Bay - Front View With Accessories
Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The DVDO Edge is a feature-packed, affordable, standalone video scaler and processor that delivers what it promises. Anchor Bay VRS technology enables the DVDO Edge to deliver the best possible image on an HDTV from Composite, S-Video, Component, PC, or HDMI sources. In addition, other features, such as 6 HDMI inputs (including one on the front panel), a complete array of NTSC, PAL, and HD output resolutions, variable zoom adjustment, mosquito noise reduction, and audio synch give the DVDO Edge a great deal of flexibility.
Short and Full Reviews - Photo Profile - Video Performance Test Results.

4. Yamaha RX-V3900 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver With Networking

Yamaha RX-V3900 Home Theater Receiver - Front View with Accessories
Photo (C) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Yamaha RX-V3900 is a high-end home theater receiver designed to be a complete centerpiece for a home theater system. Having used the RX-V3900, I can say that it just about does everything except make the popcorn and pour the soft drinks. With features such as extensive audio decoding options (including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio), HDMI upscaling and switching, iPod connectivity and control, XM/Sirius Satellite and Internet radio (including Rhapsody access), and also built-in Network and Bluetooth capability, this receiver can perform any audio or video task required now, and in the foreseeable future.
Short and Full reviews - RX-V3900 Photo Gallery - Video Performance Test Results.

5. DreamVision Dream'E 1080p LCOS Video Projector

DreamVision Dream’E 1080p 3-Chip LCOS Video Projector - Front View
Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
At an MSRP of $5,300.00, the DreamVision Dream'E 1080p LCOS Video Projector bucks the trend towards sub-$3,000 1080p video projectors, but is worth the extra cash. Its 3 LCOS chips, native 1080p resolution, and acceptable light output provide excellent image quality, providing a very natural looking image, with no screen door effects or other unwanted artifacts. Also, the Dream'E comes equipped with two HDMI ver 1.3a inputs, and provides video upscaling for standard DVDs via its built-in Silicon Optix Reon-VX HQV video processor.
Short and Full Reviews - Supplementary Photo Gallery - Video Performance Test Results.

6. Panamax M5400-PM Home Theater Power Management System

Panamax M5400-PM Home Theater Power Management System - Front View with Included Accessories
Photos (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
You've spent a lot of money and collected a lot home theater components over the years. With each upgrade or addition you have another power cord to plug in. After the number of wall outlet options run out, you add a surge protector, then another one, and then you still run out. One solution to this mess is to get a centralized power management system, such as the Panamax M5400-PM that not only provides all the outlets you need, but also includes additional connectivity organizes coax and ethernet cable connections, provides a practical way to both monitor and regulate your voltage level, and aids in clearing up power interference.
Short and Full Reviews - Photo Gallery.

7. Paradigm Millenia 20 Trio LCR Flat Screen Speaker System

Paradigm Millenia 20 Trio LCR Flat Screen Speaker System - Triple View
Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Check out the stylish, and great sounding Paradigm Millenia 20 Trio LCR Loudspeaker. This speaker system combines all three front channel speakers (left, center, and right) into a 41-inch long housing that is attractive and can be either table or wall mounted. The Trio is intended to complement flat panel LCD and Plasma televisions and can be used alone, or combined with a subwoofer and/or a set of rear surround speakers in a full surround sound home theater setup. The left, center, right sound image is wider that you would think and the sound quality is very good for this type of speaker design.
Short and Full Reviews - Paradigm Millenia 20 Trio Photo Gallery.

8. Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 Surround Speaker System

Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 Surround Speaker System
Photo (c) Robert Silva
Balancing style, price, and sound quality can be tough when choosing loudspeakers. If you are looking a compact loudspeaker system to complement your HDTV, DVD and/or Blu-ray Disc player, check out the stylish, compact, great sounding, and affordable, Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 Surround Speaker System. The system consists of five compact satellite speakers which can be set on a shelf or wall mounted (even in a corner wall space), and a compact 8-inch powered subwoofer. To find out if the Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 Surround Speaker System is right for you, check out both my
Short and Full Reviews - Photo Gallery.

9. Panasonic TC-P50G10 50-inch Plasma Television

Panasonic VIERA TC-P50G10 Plasma Television
Photo (c) Panasonic
The 50-inch Panasonic VIERA TC-P50G10 plasma TV delivers great image quality at a reasonable price. Bolstered by THX Certification, this set features 1920x1080 (1080p) pixel resolution, excellent contrast ratio, and pixel orbiting to eliminate screen burn-in. Inputs are not a problem as the TC-P50G10 includes, HDMI, HD-Component, and VGA. This set also has ATSC/QAM tuners for receiving HDTV broadcast and unscrambled cable programs, and also an SD card slot for digital photo playback. Inclusion of Viera Cast also allows access to YouTube, Amazon video, and other web content without a PC connection.
Panasonic TC-P50G10 Product Profile.

10. Vizio VF551XVT 55-inch LCD TV with LED Backlight

Vizio VF551XVT 55-inch LCD TV with LED Backlight
Photo (c) Vizio
Vizio is an aggressive competitor that offers good performing products at low price points. The VF551XVT LCD TV offers consumers a large 55-inch screen, full 1920x1080 (1080p) native pixel resolution, 240Hz smooth motion processing, and LED backlighting with local dimming at a suggested price of $2,199. I had the opportunity to see an extensive demonstration of this set at CEDIA 2009 and it looks great. The black levels and color consistency are very good, and the set also has more than enough connections, including 5 HDMI inputs. In addition, for those that are concerned about energy consumption in such a large screen set, the VF551XVT only draws an average of 154 Watts, which is excellent for an LCD TV of this size.
Official Product Page

11. Samsung HT-BD1250 Blu-ray Home Theater System

Samsung HT-BD1250 Blu-ray Home Theater System
Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
If you want to the get the most out of your HDTV and don't want the hassle of, or have the budget for, both a Blu-ray Disc Player and a Surround Sound System, the Samsung HT-BD1250 gives you both in one affordable unit. The Blu-ray Disc player section provides Blu-ray Profile 2.0 capability, Netflix/Pandora audio/video streaming, plus an HDMI output for connection to your HDTV. You can even access content from your iPod or iPhone. The audio side of this system decodes all Dolby Digital and DTS formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Also, don't forget the included onboard 5.1 channel amplifier, speakers, and powered subwoofer. Give the HT-BD1250 a look and a listen.

12. Vivitek D326WX Compact DLP Video Projector

Vivitek D326WX DLP Video Projector - Front View With Accessories
Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
At an MSRP of $1,199, the Vivitek D326WX DLP Projector is a great value. With its extremely compact design this projector can be placed just about anywhere, and with its included carrying case, you can take it with you to the office or grandma's house. With its native 1280x800 native pixel resolution (approx - 720p) and impressive 2,600 lumen output capability, the video quality is very good. Flesh tones and overall color saturation produce a very natural looking image. Another bonus is that the D326WX has a very quick turn-on and cool down shut off time.
Short and Full Reviews - Photo Gallery - Video Performance Tests.
Related Video
Home Office Design
How to Secure Your Home Before a Vacation
  1. About.com
  2. Technology
  3. Home Theater
  4. News - Consumer Help - How and Where To Buy - Events
  5. Article and Feature Archive
  6. Product Of The Year Archive
  7. Home Theater - Favorite Home Theater Products Of The Year - 2009

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.