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Best home theatre systems in Australia

We’ve found the 6 best home theatre systems for a truly cinematic experience.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Best home theatre systems in Australia

People use the term "home theatre system" to identify any audio component that helps enhance your viewing and listening experience at home. In this regard, a home theatre system is composed of speakers for a surround sound effect and a subwoofer for deep bass sounds. However, some options also come with an AV receiver and other additional units.

There are heaps of home theatre systems in the market, ranging from basic to more advanced models. These are also priced anywhere between $400 and $4,000, depending on the make, model, features and other functions. To find the best one for your home, consider your room size, ease of use and the number of speakers and subwoofers included in the home theatre system. Also consider if you want a wired or wireless option.

The team at Finder has evaluated numerous home theatre systems available online to help you narrow down your choices. We picked models based on customer ratings, reviews and key product features.

Read our full methodology below.

Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Theater System

Best overall home theatre system

Bose Lifestyle 650 Home Theater System
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Customers raved about the superb sound quality
  • Easy to install and set up

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited availability in Australia

Bose's Lifestyle 650 Home Theater System is our pick for the best home theatre system you can buy right now in Australia. The brand is also Aussies' pick for the best-rated home theatre system, garnering the top marks for sound quality, connectivity and ease of installation.

The Lifestyle 650 comes with 4 speakers, a wireless bass module, a console and universal remote control. You'll also get 2 wireless receivers and an IR emitter. It's a versatile home theatre system that supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, Multichannel PCS and Dolby TrueHD.

The most expensive option on our list, this home theatre system boasts superb sound quality with crisp tones and a deep bass sound. Customers said it is easy to set up and offers a truly cinematic experience. The sleek design also adds a modern flair to any space. Additionally, it is compatible with the brand's SoundTouch app, allowing you to control the system using your mobile device. It is worth noting that this model is a little difficult to find online. As of writing, it is only available through the Bose official website and a few eBay listings.


JBL Bar 5.1-Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer

Best surround sound home theatre system

JBL Bar 5.1-Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Some customers said sound is a little heavy on the high range
  • Wi-Fi set up is a bit complicated

For the best surround sound option, we recommend the JBL Bar 5.1-Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer. It has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Harvey Norman.

This JBL home theatre system comes with a wireless subwoofer, Dolby 5.1 and Pro Logic technology to produce punchy bass tones and superbly crisp audio. It also provides a rich, room-filling sound so you can fully immerse yourself in every movie or song you're playing.

Customers particularly enjoyed the model's 4K passthrough and HDR 10 Dolby Vision, which allows for an in-depth multimedia experience. Its Bluetooth connectivity also lets you listen to your favourite songs online. Setting up its Wi-Fi connection is a bit of a pain, but it's a challenge that most users don't seem to mind.


JBL Bar 9.1 Channel Soundbar System with Surround Speakers and Dolby Atmos

Best Dolby Atmos home theatre system

JBL Bar 9.1 Channel Soundbar System with Surround Speakers and Dolby Atmos
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Crisp sound with deep bass tones
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • Some customers experienced crackling with the system
  • Users reported firmware issues

When it comes to the best Dolby Atmos option, our pick is JBL's Bar 9.1 Channel Soundbar System with Surround Speakers and Dolby Atmos. This model has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Harvey Norman and 3.9 on the brand's website.

This system offers an immersive and cinematic sound, thanks to its Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technologies. It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity so you can play your favourite tunes online. The HD 4K passthrough with Dolby Vision technology also allows you to enjoy 4K movies or video games.

Numerous buyers were impressed by the product's sleek design, reasonable price and superb sound quality. It has rich bass sounds and clear speaking audio that fills every corner of the room for an immersive experience. Users added that it is easy to set up as well. However, they experienced tons of firmware issues that require frequent software updates.


Yamaha HTR-2071 5.1-Channel AV Receiver with Cinema DSP & Compressed Music Enhancer

Best home theatre system for small rooms

Yamaha HTR-2071 5.1-Channel AV Receiver with Cinema DSP & Compressed Music Enhancer
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Won’t break the bank
  • Surround sound

Cons

  • Sound isn’t as crisp and high-quality as more expensive options
  • Receiver requires HDCP 2.2

Yamaha's HTR-2071 5.1-Channel AV Receiver with Cinema DSP & Compressed Music Enhancer is our choice for the best home theatre system for small rooms. On Amazon, it has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

With a 5-channel surround sound feature, the HTR-2071 is an affordable home theatre system that can fill small rooms with crystal clear sounds. It comes with an AV receiver designed to focus on producing high sound quality, using a discrete amp configuration and a low jitter PLL circuit. The system also features a music enhancer that uses digital signal processing to improve the quality of digitally compressed audio.

With rich tones and high-quality sounds, this home theatre system employs a subwoofer trim control that enhances the low frequencies to avoid overlap with its front speaker output. The result is a well-balanced sound for an immersive listening experience. While the system doesn't produce sounds as crisp as more expensive models, it's still a great option if you're on a budget.


Polk Audio MagniFi Max Home Theatre Surround Sound Bar

Best wireless home theatre system

Polk Audio MagniFi Max Home Theatre Surround Sound Bar
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Works with any TV
  • Can be controlled using voice command

Cons

  • Subpar high frequency quality
  • Some customers had issues with the bass tones

We recommend Polk Audio's MagniFi Max Home Theatre Surround Sound Bar as the best wireless option. It has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

The MagniFi Max Home Theatre Surround Sound Bar features patented SDA digital surround sound technology for a multi-dimensional sound experience. It also has patented voice-adjust technology that lets you customise the voice levels for clear and crisp dialogues. Additionally, you can stream your favourite songs over Wi-Fi or connect the device to your Google Home speaker for voice control.

This system comes with a wireless subwoofer and soundbar that are easy to set up. It creates high-quality sounds via 5.1 Dolby Digital, DTS and its patented surround technology for a room-filling experience. According to the brand, this device is compatible with most TVs. It also features a unique wall mounting system to ensure the soundbar remains level and centred under your TV.


Polk Audio AM9115-A Mini Sound Bar System

Best cheap home theatre system

Polk Audio AM9115-A Mini Sound Bar System
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Compatible with most TVs

Cons

  • Occasionally loses Chromecast connection according to reviews
  • Not suitable for larger rooms
With a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, we picked the Polk Audio AM9115-A Mini Sound Bar System as the best cheap home theatre system.

Similar to the MagniFi Max, this home theatre system has voice-adjust technology and wireless streaming features. It has a compact size to fit in tight spaces without compromising its sound quality for a room-filling and immersive experience.

Customers praised the product's portable design, value for money and easy set-up. It is compatible with most TVs, cable boxes or satellite IR remote controls. Additionally, it has a durable subwoofer that produces deep bass tones. Its Night Mode also lets you lower the bass and increases voice adjust for clearer dialogue without raising the master volume. Some customers had issues with its Chromecast connection, but this seems to be a minor concern.


Methodology

12
Brands considered
55
Products compared
6
Best products chosen

Why you can trust our picks

We examined home theatre systems found in various online retailers. We evaluated models from the following brands:

  • Bose
  • Edifier
  • JBL
  • LG
  • Logitech
  • Marshall
  • Panasonic
  • Polk
  • Samsung
  • Sonos Arc
  • Sony
  • Yamaha

We narrowed down our choices based on customer ratings and reviews (as of April 2022). We also considered each model's key product features, like design, value for money, ease of use and connectivity. We came up with what we believe to be the 6 best home theatre systems you can buy right now in Australia.

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. However, Finder may receive compensation when you click some links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners and why you can trust our guides.

What is a home theatre system?

Technically speaking, a home theatre system includes all the audio and visual equipment in your living room – TV screens, speakers, Blu-ray player and everything else.

However, people generally use the term "home theatre system" to refer to the audio component of your living room electronics. An all-in-one home theatre system (sometimes also called a home theatre in a box) has a few key components:

  • AV receiver. The AV receiver is the brain of your home entertainment system. It's the central hub where you can organise the audio and video inputs and outputs from all your connected devices. In other words, it takes the pictures and sound from your DVD player or games console and feeds them to your TV screen and speakers.
  • Speakers. Most home theatre systems have at least 5 speakers to create a surround sound effect. In some units, the speakers are separate and include a centre speaker and front and rear speakers for the left and right sides of the room. However, some other systems incorporate multiple speakers into a soundbar system.
  • Subwoofer. The subwoofer delivers the bass and is essential for those deep booms and rumbles you get in any action movie worth its salt. Most systems have 1 subwoofer but some come with 2 or more.

Please note that it's also possible to buy an AV receiver on its own and a separate speaker package. While this allows you to pick and choose the features you want, it can lead to a complicated set-up process and may be too technical for some people.

Pros and cons of home theatre systems

  • High-quality sound. A home theatre system gives you high-quality surround sound to match those crystal-clear images you see on your screen.
  • Get the cinema experience at home. Home theatre systems can create a fully immersive experience – rather than simply being launched at you front on, these systems let you hear sounds from above, beside and behind.
  • They're expensive. You can easily pay a few grand for a top-spec system.
  • They take up space. Many systems take up a whole lot of space in your lounge room and create excess clutter.

If you don't have much space to work with, or if you're happy with the viewing experience provided by your TV's built-in speakers, there's no point splashing out on a top-end surround sound system. Also, if you decide you want better sound quality than what your TV offers without taking up as much room as a home theatre system, you might want to consider buying a soundbar instead.

Speaker configuration: Types of home theatre systems

If you've started comparing home theatre systems already, you will have seen different systems referred to by a variety of numbers – 5.1, 7.1, 7.1.2 and so on.

These numbers indicate how many speakers and channels a home theatre system has. The most common options are 5.1 and 7.1 home theatre systems, but there are many other configurations available.

  • The first number indicates how many speakers or channels the system has. Most home theatre systems have 5 or 7.
  • The second number indicates how many subwoofers are included. Most have 1 subwoofer but others have more.

Many systems only have 2 numbers, but some also feature a third number that indicates the number of "height" channels a system has. In other words, it refers to how many upward-firing or ceiling-mounted speakers are included to produce sound that creates a sense of height.

When you see a system with a third number listed in the sequence, this means it supports Dolby Atmos, which is an advanced surround sound technology. However, there's a competing technology, known as DTS:X, which is designed to work with standard surround sound set-ups and unlike Dolby Atmos, doesn't require additional overhead channels.

Top 9 sites to buy speakers online

How to compare home theatre systems

The best home theatre system for you depends on several key factors, most importantly your budget and the size of your room. Before you start shopping, consider the number of speakers and subwoofers you need, the size of your room, how you'll use the system and how much you're willing to pay.

Home theatre systems aren't cheap. Entry-level models generally range from $400 to $600, while top-spec units start around $1,500 and go up to $4,000 or more for high-end or bespoke options. While you generally get what you pay for, make sure the extra spend is worth it for what you need. Many people will be more than happy with a 5.1 system, so paying for anything larger may be overkill.

These are the key factors you need to take into account:

Room size

You not only need to consider how much space your speakers will take up, but also how the size of the room will affect their performance characteristics. For example, small speakers in a large, open room may sound localised and inadequate, while large speakers in a small space can create an overload of bass.

Speakers and subwoofers

The ideal number of speakers for your system will depend on how you plan on using it. For example, while extra speakers lend themselves to an improved movie-watching experience, anything more than 5 speakers may not offer any noticeable advantage when listening to music. The space you're working with will also have an effect. For example, if your couch backs up against a wall, there's no point trying to fit a 7.1 system into the available space.

Wireless or wired

Cheaper systems tend to use cables that, although functional, can be messy and present a tripping hazard. Wireless Bluetooth speakers are an increasingly popular option, but sound distortion and drop-outs can be a problem.

Ease of set up and use

Check out some online reviews from other users to find out how easy the system is to set up and use out of the box. Is it easy to connect and configure with all your other entertainment devices? Is there an automatic set-up process to help take the hassle out of selecting speaker locations and distances? Is the instruction manual straightforward?

Connectivity

Check how easy it is to connect external devices (like game consoles and DVD players) to your sound system. Some units offer HDMI inputs, optical or coaxial audio inputs, or all of the above. Before you buy, make sure the system has the right ports (and enough of them) to connect everything you want.

Design

You may also want to consider the look of the speakers and how they'll match the existing decor in your room. This will often involve a trade-off between style and substance – for example, while compact speakers can be sleek and unobtrusive, they may not offer the same impressive performance as bulkier units.

Additional features

  • 2-zone. A 2-zone (or zone 2) feature allows you to send a second signal to speakers or a separate audio system in another room. This means you could be watching a DVD in one room while someone could be simultaneously streaming their Spotify library through another set of speakers at the same time.
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow quick and easy connection between your home theatre system and other compatible devices, allowing you to stream music, TV shows and apps.
  • Blu-ray/DVD player. Some entry-level models come with a Blu-ray/DVD player built in for extra convenience.
  • Remote. Is the remote that comes with the system sensibly laid out and easy to understand? Some units can be controlled directly from a smartphone app.
  • Warranty. Check the length of the manufacturer's warranty – this typically ranges from 1 to 3 years – and exactly what it covers.

Frequently asked questions

Best Home Theatre System

Best Rated Home Theatre System Brand: Bose

Bose is the best-rated home theatre system brand according to Australians. Top rated for ease of installation, it also rated highly for sound quality and connectivity.

Best rated home theatre system award breakdown

Total Score Overall rating Value for Money Connectivity / Reliability Ease of Installation Sound quality
Other 8.40 4.62 4.62 4.54 4.46 4.46
Bose 8.33 4.52 4.52 4.52 4.48 4.55
Samsung 8.17 4.49 4.37 4.40 4.34 4.31
Sony 8.04 4.40 4.20 4.23 4.40 4.50
LG 7.96 4.29 4.46 4.50 4.29 4.32
Yamaha 7.77 4.28 4.04 4.16 4.44 4.32
Sonos 7.72 4.31 4.46 4.23 4.31 4.00
Panasonic 7.70 4.11 4.41 4.30 4.19 4.56
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2020, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more info. Kantar logo

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