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Best Gifts to Upgrade a Home Theater

If you're looking to surprise your friends and family with better audio and video, here are some great options starting at just $20.

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

You might think that a brand new 4K TV is all you need for a home theater, but there are plenty of other devices and accessories needed to truly capture that perfect experience. If you want to help a loved one reach that pinnacle of audio and video performance, we've collected the best gifts to upgrade a home theater. From a turntable and a soundbar to a new pair of headphones and streaming device, you don't have to break the bank on a great gift.

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Whether you're buying for a cord-cutter or not, the Channel Master Flatenna offers a wealth of entertainment with no ongoing fees. Stick this stocking stuffer on a window and plug the cable into a tuner and they can be watching PBS in an instant.

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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 4K Express 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 the good kind of surprise.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

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 smoky, low-lit music sanctuary.

Read our Audio Technica AT-LP60X review.


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

Read our Roku Streambar review.


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If you're looking for a pair of relatively affordable headphones to appease the budding audiophile in your family, the HD6XX offer 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.

Read our Sennheiser HD6XX review.


With an improved look and clearer sound, the Debut 2.0 is even better for people looking to dive into the audiophile world. And at $300 on sale, it's cheaper than a receiver or a turntable. The Elac Debut 2.0 6.2 is an excellent value.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

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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