After being leapfrogged by other popular streaming set-top boxes, Apple this year officially released the Apple TV 4K. With support for 4K HDR, the new Apple TV is now the perfect device for the center of any home theater setup, especially for those who are deep in the Apple ecosystem.
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
Buying for a tech enthusiast can be hard, but we’re hoping that this roundup of some of the best home theater gear can help give you some ideas. Even if that tech enthusiast already has the latest and greatest, there is almost always room for some improvement to a home theater setup.
Of course, to take advantage of the Apple TV 4K’s new resolution you’ll need a television that’s capable of the latest and greatest picture quality. A variety of options exist at different price points with 4K and Dolby Vision HDR. Here are some of our favorites.
On the entry-level side of the market, it’s easy to overlook what TCL has to offer. While TCL isn’t necessarily a household name when it comes to TVs (yet), its lineup of 4K HDR TVs is well-reviewed and offers some of the best 4K TVs you can buy on a budget with Dolby Vision HDR built right in.
Prices start at $699 for the 55-inch model. Rated 4/5 stars on Amazon. Note these have Roku features built-in, but you can still connect an Apple TV 4K via HDMI.
TCL 55C807 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV – $700
TCL 65C807 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV – $1,099
Another budget option is LG’s UJ7700 series, which likewise packs 4K support with Dolby Vision HDR. It’s available in 49-inch, 17-inch, 60-inch, and 65-inch screen sizes starting at $739. Check them out at the links below. Rated 4/5 stars on Amazon.
LG Electronics 55UJ7700 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV – $739
LG Electronics 60UJ7700 60-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV – $990
More budget picks:
- Vizio P50-C1 50-inch LED 4K 2160p SmartCast (Refurb) – $600
- Sony XBR43X800E 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV – $648
- Samsung UN49MU6500 Curved 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV – $598
Moving upwards in the market, LG’s B7A OLED televisions are some of the best money can buy right now. You get the deep blacks and color consistency of OLED panels paired with 4K and Dolby Vision HDR support. These don’t come cheap, however, starting at $1,567 for the 55-inch model. Rated 4.5/5 stars on Amazon.
LG OLED 55B7A 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV – $1,597
LG OLED 65B7A 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV – $2,597
LG doesn’t stop there, however. There’s the C7 OLED line of televisions, which pack support for Dolby Atmos sound, a feature that’s coming to the Apple TV 4K at some point in the future. These models start at $1,697 and are rated 4.5/5 stars.
LG OLED 55C7P 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV – $1,697
LG OLED 65C7P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV – $2,697
Finally, for someone you really love, LG’s E7 and G7 OLED TVs are some of the top options. Both of these feature LG’s “picture on glass” design, making for an incredibly thin and gorgeous package. With these, the design of the TV itself is just as beautiful as the picture it displays. The E7 starts at $2,496, while the G7 Signature comes in at $4,997.
LG OLED 55E7P 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV – $2,497
LG Signature OLED 65G7P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV – $4,997
A good TV is nothing without a great audio setup. Many of the above TVs, especially at the lower-end of the market, include built-in speakers that often sound pretty tinny and hollow. Luckily, it’s easy to set up another speaker with either your TV or paired directly to the Apple TV.
One of the easiest ways to improve the audio for your TV is with a soundbar. Some audiophiles might slam soundbars for the lack of range they provide, but they’re a solid option for those looking to upgrade from the built-in speakers on their TV.
On the entry-level side of the market is Vizio’s SB3821 2.1 channel soundbar with wireless subwoofer. This combo comes in at $149 and is rated 4/5 stars from almost 2,500 reviewers. It doesn’t pack the full surround sound experience like some might want, but it gets the job done at a relatively affordable price point.
VIZIO SB3821-C6 38-Inch 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer – $150
For a little bit more, you can get the Vizio SB3651-E6 5.1 channel setup. Wirecutter touts that this setup is “almost as good as a real surround sound system,” and it comes in at a fraction of the cost. Get it today for $220 from Best Buy, where it’s rated 4.5/5 stars.
VIZIO – SmartCast 36-Inch 5.1-Channel Soundbar System – $220
If you’re willing to spend, it’s hard to ignore the Sonos take on surround sound. The company sells a 5.1 Home Theater System for $1,696 that packs a pair of Play:1 speakers, a Playbase, and a Sonos SUB. These all connect wirelessly a play very nicely with the Apple ecosystem.
Sonos 5.1 Home Theater Digital Music System (PLAYBASE, SUB, PLAY:1) – $1,696
You can also buy Sonos’ offerings individually and mix and match. One of our favorite products is the Sonos Playbase, which sits underneath your TV and provides killer sound with easy pairing to Apple TV. It runs $699 and you can read our full review right here.
Sonos PLAYBASE for Home Theater and Streaming Music – $699
In general, Sonos makes great sounding speakers that are some of the hottest gifts this holiday season, for home theater setups and other use. Another top pick is the Sonos One with Alexa built-in, which can be had for $199.
For so-called “true surround sound,” one of your best bets is the Elac Debut system, which packs a pair of tower speakers, a center speaker, 2 bookshelf speakers, and a sub. It’ll cost you $1,419, but Wirecutter rates it as the best surround sound speaker system.
For the Apple TV Holdouts
Of course, we can’t forget what powers these TVs and speaker systems. If whoever you’re buying for this holiday season hasn’t yet taken the plunge, the Apple TV 4K itself makes a great holiday gift, starting at $179 for 32GB of internal storage.
There are alternatives to the Apple TV that are a bit more affordable, but they don’t play as nice with iOS as Apple TV. If you know someone who isn’t locked into the Apple ecosystem and you’re on a budget, here are some set-top box alternatives:
Apple TV Alternatives:
If you’re buying for a tech enthusiast, it’s possible they already have the best TV, the best sound system, and an Apple TV 4K powering it all. For those people, one of the best bets is a gift card for their favorite subscription service. Whether it’s Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music, or something else, it’s hard to go wrong with a gift card to help offset those pesky monthly payments.
There’s no point in having a high-end home theater setup if it’s cluttered. Below are a few stocking stuffer ideas that will help the home theater geek in your life keep things nice and tidy, ensuring the best possible viewing experience:
What are you planning to get the home theater enthusiast in your life this holiday season? Do you have any suggestions that aren’t on our list? Let us know down in the comments!