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What Is A Home Theater In A Box? And Is It Worth It?

I do not know about you, but my den is the most lived in room in my house. Gathering with family and friends to watch movies, catching up on the latest Netflix series, and having a romantic night in typically all takes place in my den. True, we could all gather at the theaters, but we do not always have the time or money for such an outing – especially for as frequently as my family likes to watch movies. Streaming or renting movies has become the norm for Americans across the country. However, the speakers on your standard television just do not quite cut it. That is where a home theater in a box comes in. But what is a home theater in a box? After some intensive research and product testing, I have come up with a list of key features that can make or break a home theater in a box package.

What is a Home Theater In a Box?

So what is a home theater in a box? A home theater in a box is a system that contains most, if not all, of the components required for a theater-quality entertainment experience. It typically includes an A/V receiver and five or more surround sound speakers, and a subwoo. While various manufacturers will include different components, it is important to make sure the one you select includes the items you need.

From simple setups to much more advanced spreads, home theater in a box packages can help give turn your living room into your own personal miniature theater. Compact in design, a home theater in a box come with a range of features. Tailored to your specific needs, these features can help enhance your standard television’s sound output. If you have ever had to deal with the poor audio quality of a television’s built-in speakers. then a home theater in a box can truly help you.

Is a Home Theater In a Box System Worth it?

Is a Home Theater in a Box Worth it?

Is a home theater in a box worth the investment? Depending on your needs, space, and budget, a home theater in the box may be worth the investment. While this is a deeply personal question, I have found that the moderately priced home theaters in a box that include 5 wireless speakers, a subwoofer, and other necessary components is a worthy investment for small to medium-sized rooms.

If a home theater in a box sounds like something you may be interested in, fancy ads and sales pitches can make any system sound appealing. This is not always the case. Below, I will take you through the most important features for a home theater in a box, as well as the benefits of such a package. Additionally, I will help point out the differences between investing in a home theater in a box as compared to the individual components. To get you started, I will also include some of the best mid-range home theaters in a box. Finally, I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to a home theater in a box.


Home theater in a box systems come with a range of features. However, some of the most important features you should expect include inputs/outputs, an A/V receiver, subwoofer, speaker set, remote control, and the necessary wires for connecting to your device. Optional features may also include a DVD player, Blu-ray player, Bluetooth technology, Wi-Fi enabled, or multi-room audio capabilities. Let us take an in-depth look at these features.

Home Theater in a Box Standard Components

  • A/V Receiver: A home theater in a box will almost always include an A/V receiver. This component receives the incoming signals from your devices and processes them. In order to produce the required soundwave, your receiver must include a digital-to-analog converter or DAC. When reviewing specifications, you will want to look at the resolution (bits) and sampling rate (kHz) of the home theater in a box system to best evaluate the receiver conversion capability.
  • Amplifier: The audio inputs received by your receiver are then sent to your speakers through an amplifier. The amplifier is almost always built into the A/V receiver. The quality of the included amplifier is an important feature. A multi-channel amplifier with plenty of available power for each channel is ideal. This ensures that the amplifier is able to provide enough power to the connected speakers. In addition, the larger the room, the more amplifier power you will likely need. This specification will typically be listed in watts per channel.
  • Subwoofer: A subwoofer reproduces the lower-frequencies sounds. Those deep bass sounds will sound muddied without a proper subwoofer. The amplifier itself typically provides just an audio signal for the sub. The subwoofer itself will usually contain a built-in amplifier. A normal amplifier used to power many different speakers will not accurately replicate these very low tones when conveying them to your speakers.
  • Speakers: Home theater in a box systems will include speakers. These speakers may be wired or wireless depending on the brand. Most systems will include a minimum of five speakers, referred to as a “5.1” system. Some lower-priced options will only come with two speakers. These “2.1” systems are most commonly generic, house brands, such as those from Best Buy or Walmart. Higher-end systems, however, will come with seven speakers. A “7.1” system will cost you more than the 2.1 and 5.1 systems. Regardless of the number of speakers that comes with each home theater in a box system, the majority are called “satellite” speakers. These are small, compact speakers meant to be placed throughout to room to give you that surround sound effect. Unobtrusive, these small speakers are easy to mount or place on shelves around the room. In some kits, tower speakers may also be included. These are thinner, floor-standing style speakers.
  • Inputs/Outputs: RCA cables are often used with older televisions and technologies. HDMI cables, on the other hand, are the most common connections for modern technologies. Depending on your devices, you may want a home theater in a box that features HDMI-only or a combination of HDMI and RCA inputs and outputs. This will allow you to scale up your technology without having to upgrade your home theater in a box as well.
  • Remote Control: A remote control that gives you full control over your home theater in a box system should be included. These can range from complicated to relatively simple to control.
  • Wires: All wires needed to connect your home theater in a box components should be included in your package.

Optional features:

  • DVD/Blu-ray: Having your DVD or Blu-ray player built into your home theater in a box further compacts your set up. This means fewer wires and less mess. It also means you do not need to buy separate devices, which helps cut down on your home theater costs.
  • Bluetooth Technology: Bluetooth technology allows you to wirelessly connect to more than just your speakers. It can allow you to connect your phone, or other Bluetooth devices, to your home theater in a box.
  • Wi-Fi: For those who like to stream videos, an integrated Wi-Fi capability is essential.
  • Multi-Room Audio: High-end systems may include a multi-room audio capability. Multi-room audio is typically indicated by the A/V receiver having “Zone 2” speaker outputs (more on A/V receivers including pre-outs in our guide). Zone 2 speaker outputs allow you to connect your main receiver to speakers throughout the home through speaker cables. Some higher-end units will allow you to wireless connect extra speakers to use as a separate zone from your main system. From one single box, you can control sounds throughout your home.

The Benefits of a Home Theater in a Box

There are plenty of benefits associated with a home theater in a box system. Because they contain the components you need for a full system, these packages offer streamlined and compact solutions to your home theater needs. Designed for functionality without having to take up a lot of space, you can fit a home theater in a box into almost any space without compromising your décor. Most home theaters in a box are easy to install and operate. Because these are complete solutions, you can rest assured that each component will work flawlessly with the others that come with it, taking the mystery out of set up.

Home Theater in a Box vs. Individual Components

A home theater in a box solution is typically cheaper. Because there are various components included with each home theater in a box system, prices may range from $200 to $2,000. However, building your own home theater system from individual components can start at $1,000 and quickly go beyond $3,000.

Amount of Space Used – Space can also be a major decision point. As pointed out, the home theater in a box system is designed to be compact and unobtrusive. However, to buy each component separately can mean sacrificing much more space to accommodate each feature.

Simplicity – Furthermore, a home theater in a box helps simplify the surround sound experience. As a plug-and-play device, a home theater in a box is made up of components that are designed to work together. Individual components, however, may take a bit more time, effort and research to ensure each piece works well with the others and does what you want it to do.

Highly-Recommended Home Theater in a Box Systems

Home theater in a box systems are available from almost every home electronics manufacturer. From well-known brands, like Sony and Bose, to box stores, such as Best Buy and Costco, and unknown brands – these all-in-one products can be found all over the world. Some of my favorites, however, can be found online. I always recommend that you check out your local electronics store to listen to a system before you buy it. I want to note that user reviews are extremely important when you buy an electronic device online, but nothing beats an in-person evaluation of the sound potential of a specific home theater in a box system.

Great Budget Option!

The Yamaha YHT-4930UBL 5.1-Channel Home Theater in a Box System (click for current price) is one of the best sellers on Amazon. Designed to include a compressed music enhancer for wireless music streaming, the Yamaha YHT-4930UBL is optimized for all input and output styles. Five compact wireless speakers help spread sound throughout the room. A 100-watt subwoofer adds rich low-end tones to enhance your listening experience. With 145 watts and 1 kHz output, this home theater in a box includes High-Definition Copy Protection (HDCP) 2.2 support, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma that supports 4K UltraHD. Developed for rooms that range between small and large, this is a great option for those looking for an all-in-one device that is easy to set up. And it comes at a very reasonable price!

Great Higher-End Option!

The Klipsch Reference 5.1 Home Theater System (click for current price) comes highly recommended by many on Amazon. Two Dolby Atmos floorstanding speakers are included in this home theater in a box system from Klipsch, as well as all-digital powered subwoofer and amplifier. Together with center channel speaker and bookshelf home speaker, Klipsch has everything you need to spread sound throughout your living room or home theater!

Very High-End Option!

I more so included this option to demonstrate how expensive some of these home theater in a box system can get. The Klipsch RP-8060FA 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos Home Theater System is a complete and total monster of a system! Klipsch is one of the very top brands when it comes to speakers. You’ll likely have issues finding ANY Klipsch speaker that is laking quality. They have some of the most high-end speakers on the consumer market. Click the link to see a price that will hurt your soul a little.

Related Questions

Is A Home Theater In A Box Better Than Individual Components? While a home theater in a box system is going to be cheaper than buying the individual components, the quality will not be as great. Buying the individual components allows you to create your own network of devices. However, individual component assemblies will take up much more room and cost significantly more. Additionally, thanks to advances in technology, all of the speakers and subwoofers – more on the differences between the two in our guide – included in a home theater in a box system will offer better sound than that of the average television.

Is A Home Theater In A Box Good For All Types Of Audible Media? A home theater in a box can be linked to more than just a television. In fact, they can also be linked to your compact disc (CD) player, record player or turntable. However, home theater in a box packages are typically best for standard media use. Because of their construction and compact nature, CD or vinyl use is not recommended as the sound produced may not capture the subtle nuances of these types of audible media. If you are more of an audiophile, then I suggest reading this article on studio monitors.

Is A Sound Bar System The Same As A Home Theater In A Box? No. While these products are similar, a soundbar is different from a home theater in a box. Both are used for enhancing the sound. A soundbar contains an array of speakers within a single bar that is typically positioned under a television and projects sound towards you. A home theater in a box, however, will contain an array of separate speakers that are meant to be situated throughout the room to create a surround sound effect. That’s not to say that a soundbar isn’t a good solution for audio. Soundbar technology has improved drastically over the years, and some of the soundbars out there can produce some amazing sound quality that will surprise you!