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CNET Top 5
Home theater essentials (2012)There's more to a modern home theater than a great TV. Here are the top five must-have products to complete the home theater experience.
----------- There's never been a better time to buy a big, beautiful TV for your home. The only problem is, once you get the TV you realize that what you really want is a complete home theater. In this Top 5, we're counting down the essentials for today's modern home theater system. And we're going to start things off with a gaming console. Even if you never play game on one -- which would be tragic -- products like the Sony PS3 Slim and Xbox 360 are serious media machines. You can watch some Netflix, listen to some music, and even mow down a few zombies with a shotgun. At #4: a Blu-ray player. If you spent the extra money for a 1080p TV, a Blu-ray player is the only way to really see that resolution at its finest. Stop sitting on the fence. There's tons of content now, and our latest Editors Choice Blu-ray player is under $150. Also, remember the PS3 from #5? It plays Blu-rays too. #3 is a universal remote. If you're buying all the rest of this stuff, you're going to need one. Logitech's Harmony remotes have been the best in class option for years. The only thing that's changed, is that you no longer have to spend over a hundred dollars for the good stuff. Check out the Harmony 650 for a solid, affordable option. Coming in at #2 -- and I really shouldn't have to say it -- a speaker system. Don't be that person who drops a grand on a TV and then listens to the built-in speakers. We have an Editors Choice 5.1 speaker system for a fraction of what you paid for your TV. If you don't have the room, try a sound bar. Bottom line: if the movie explosions don't make you pee your pants a little, you're doing it wrong. Before we get to the #1 home theater essential, let me point out one component you should avoid: overpriced HDMI cables. These things carry a digital signal, like your USB cable, and that $10 HDMI cable sends the same ones and zeros as that extra thick, gold-plated $100 cable. And with that 100 bucks you'll save, you can buy our #1 modern home theater essential: a media streamer. Now, you could go with an Apple TV or a Roku HD, but there's a good chance that you already have what you need. The Xbox, the PS3, and even that Blu-ray player, all have a huge selection of streaming video options, including Hulu and Netflix. So there you go, CNET's list of surprisingly affordable home theater essentials. For more like this, check out Top5.CNET.com I'm Donald Bell, thanks for watching.