We Pick The Best Home Cinema Products Of 2012

Written by SmartHouse Team     14/12/2011 | 23:01 | Category: HOME CINEMA

Bringing the cinema to the home is no small feat. Trying to find the right components to do the job while also staying within your budget can be a challenge when you consider the variety on the market. This year's winners are products that stand out in their category thanks to innovation, features, quality or price, with some in a class all their own.


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Best Blu-ray Player
Samsung Series 8 BD-D8900A
$849 | www.samsung.com/au

Blu-ray technology on its own delivers astounding picture with new levels of home audio. Samsung's D6900A ups the Blu-ray anti by taking stock 2D Blu-rays and converting them into 3D spectacles. Inside there's a 1 terabyte hard drive for storing multimedia data and vast networking potential. Networking is accommodated with Samsung's AllShare and in built Wi-Fi, allowing users to create a harmonious wireless home network. Acting as a content portal, users can access Samsung's Smart Hub, an online store that delivers Blu-ray services and applications and YourVideo, a personalised movie guide. Its eye for image quality is another reason why the Series 8 nabs this award, with 3D Auto Contrast, HyperReal engine and BD wise working alongside one another to achieve the same goal: the best possible picture quality.

Highly Recommended
Pioneer BDP LX54
$599 | www.pioneer.com.au

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Best Wireless Music System
Sonos
From $599 | www.sonos.com

Nobody does wireless music quite like Sonos. The full range of speakers, from bass drivers to tweeters, is housed neatly into a solid but sexy package with a foolproof set up. At any point, you could be upstairs launching a song in your downstairs living room while playing a completely different track on the other side of the house at the same time, all controlled wirelessly from a tablet or smartphone. The sound you get out of such a small unit is superb thanks to the quality of the drivers and the in-built digital amplifiers, replacing the need for a full spectrum sound system. Sonos does what other sound companies have been slow to jump onto - mobilising your music. Whether it's your library of digital music stashed on a PC, online music streaming subscriptions or internet radio, Sonos is the simplest solution on the market (and has been for a while) for bringing music to life anywhere in the home, from anywhere.

Highly Recommended
Creative Zii Sound D5x + DSx
$530 | www.creative.com/au


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Best Digital Video Recorder
Humax HDR 7500T
$549 | www.icetv.com.au

The Humax PVR comes in cheaper than its Topfield rivals with one of the richest feature-sets out there, including one-button ad skipping, HD upscaling from 720p to 1080p and some of the best PVR hardware under the hood. But one of the top features is the bundled Ice TV electronic program guide which offers smartphone and tablet control of the PVR from anywhere. The level of recording flexibility, immaculate onscreen presentation, slick operation and extensive feature list make it an irresistible proposition that its rivals can't match. It'll pause, play, record, and rewind media stored on its 1 terabyte hard drive, with the added capability of skipping TV commercials at the press of a button.

Highly Recommended
Topfield TRF2400 Masterpiece
$1,099 | www.topfield.com.au

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Best Budget Receiver
Marantz SR5006
$1,699 | marantz.com.au

The well-equipped SR5005 from Marantz provides 7 x 100W RMS inputs, offers decoders as standard and comes with Dolby TrueHD and DTS HS Master Audio. Six HDMI 1.4a inputs makes this budget receiver 3D ready and allows for high quality communications between AV devices. Intelligent software and premium design has endowed it with excellence across the audio range, delivering soft notes with precision, while handling convoluted action scenes with ease.

Highly Recommended
Denon AVR3312
$1,699 | www.audioproducts.com.au


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Best Premium Receiver
Denon AVR 4311
$2,999 | www.denon.com.au

Denon's AVR-4311 delivers a robust feature set kicking off with its 9.2 channels. It is one of the first receivers to offer Audyssey MultiEQ XT 32 Room Correction and Audyssey's Sub EQ HT for optimized audio playback. There's a total of seven HDMI inputs (including an easy-to-access one on the front panel) and despite what you plug into it, its Anchor Bay BRS technologies will automatically process, scale and convert it to 1080p quality. Also a green machine, we're particularly fond of its Pre Amp Mode, which turns of internal unused amps when external ones are connected to save on power. Beautifully finished and technologically savvy, Denon's AVR-4311 adheres to the company's motto of delivering excellence.

Highly Recommended
Yamaha Aventage A3010
$2,699 | www.au.yamaha.com

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Best Budget Home Theatre
LG HB966TZW
$999 | www.lg.com.au

This home theatre system makes smart TVs even smarter with a multitude of entertainment applications. On top of its charismatic design is clever 3D technology that makes for immersive viewing. The rear speakers are wireless, allowing for them to be positioned without tangled wiring defacing the floor. A feature called Wi-Fi direct helps this device transfer all kinds of files with other digital devices, while DLNA/CIFS aids in automatically pairing and streaming files between compatible devices. A USB stick is all that's needed for direct recording and your current LG smartphone works as an LG remote control.

Highly Recommended
Samsung HT-D6750W
$899 | www.samsung.com/au


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Best Premium Home Theatre
KEF T305
$3,199 | www.kef.com

Kef has packed elegant sound into one of the world's thinnest performance 5.1 home theatre systems. Despite its slender profile, the T305 relies on a new ultra-low profile bass, midrange driver and a large, fully vented new tweeter. Instead of a cone, the twin-layer bass and midrange unit has a flat diaphragm that maintains rigidity throughout the frequency range thanks to very fine stiffening ribs. Incorporated into cabinets just 35mm deep, its T series produces audiophile quality in a body that complements household aesthetics.

Highly Recommended
Bose Lifestyle 48F
$7,499 | www.worldwide.bose.com

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Best Budget iPod/iPad Attach
iLuv Air Station Pro (iMM514)
$299 | i-luv-australia.com.au

iLuv's Artstation Pro delivers cinematic audio in sleek and functional casing. What differentiates the ArtStation Pro from its other docks is its swivel arm. Although sounding simple, it actually elevates an iPad into something with much more potential. Its base houses a large speaker that emanates clear sound across the audio plane. Combined with the iPad's high resolution screen, it becomes an entertainment system capable of video playback, image slide shows or a music juke box. There's loads of fun to be had with peripheral accessories, with an additional Bluetooth keyboard helping Apple's iPad mimic its sibling Macintosh range. It comes with a remote control, a free iLuv App and is one way to extract more versatility from an already great device.

Highly Recommended
Yamaha PDX-11
$129 | www.au.yamaha.com

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Best Projector Screen
Carson Screens - Selina Pro - 140 inches
$3,490 | carsonscreens.com.au

With visual content being injected with more vivid colour, higher resolution and extra dimensions, viewers are pushing their home theatres for a more immersive experience. A big chunk of that experience comes from the size of the screen; mimicking the cinema experience. The Selina Pro line-up offers one of the simplest installations in the fixed screen arena and can be customised up to 400 inches. The build quality here is exceptional, with premium US materials like the four-layer silicone matte white backing and the Asian-built bevelled frames. These extra-thick 120mm frames keep the tension while making an aesthetic statement. Hidden behind the frame are 40 mounting points that hold the backdrop material in place for longer, avoiding sag that pulls away picture quality.

Highly Recommended
Stewart CineCurve
$TBA | www.stuartfilmscreen.com

Check out the winner of the Best Premium iPod/iPad Attach by clicking here