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Best AV Receivers

Steve Scott

Whether you’re a projector or TV-lover, you know that creating the best home theater is a necessity. You’ve already got the speakers and the projector and screen, or TV, but, as you probably already know (and if you don’t your wallet’s in for a surprise), your home theater is nowhere near perfect yet.

In fact, you’re missing out on what makes your home theater amazing in the first place, though getting a great projector like one of our best home theater projectors is a good step in that direction. 

Obviously, the missing piece is an A/V receiver. An A/V (Audio/Visual) receiver, or home theater receiver, is the control center of your whole home theater system.

​A/V receivers have a lot of functions including connecting and switching between your audio and video sources, delivering more powerful, brighter, and clear images, decoding surround sound formatting, driving (providing power to) your speakers, tuning into radio stations, and being the overall interface, or remote control, for your system.

If you want the best sounding surround sound, you’re going to need a high-quality A/V receiver. A/V receivers offer at least 5 channels of amplification to drive your surround sound system, meaning enough amplification to power five speakers: two front speakers, two rear speakers, and a central speaker.

These speakers are made for watching movies and listening to music.

By matching your receiver to your speakers and routing everything through it, your home theater experience is going to be much greater than it would've been without it.

Here, we’ve listed the best five A/V receivers out there to date whether you're a gamer, big spender, someone on a budget, or someone just looking for the best of the best.

See related: Audio File Formats Explained

​Best A/V Receivers ​- Our Top Picks

Denon AVR-S740H Receiver Front


  • L x W x H →  13.35 in x 17.09 in x 5.94 in
  • Weight → 16.54 lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → Bluetooth, Wireless, USB, HDMI, Ethernet
  • Output Watts → 165 watts
  • Number of Audio Channels → 7.1, 5.2.2, 2.1

Key Features

  • 7-Channel Amplifier
  • 3D Sound with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and DTS Virtual:X
  • Advanced HDMI Video Section
  • Easy Setup
  • HEOS
  • Voice Control through Alexa, Google Assistant, and more
  • Bluetooth and AirPlay Capability
  • 4KUHD with HDR and Dolby Vision
  • Bluetooth audio with 8-device memory


  • Easy to use
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Great value for money
  • 4K compatible
  • Has its own app


  • Need to use analog connections for second-zone audio
  • There’s a lack of explanations on things like Alexa and Zone 2
  • You have to download the instruction manual online
  • Problems with Alexa
  • Some find it hard to set-up

Denon AVR-S740H Review

There are many great A/V receivers out there today, but this is one of the mightiest of all. The 7.2 ch. Denon AVR-S740H is a powerful A/V receiver with amazing, blockbusting 3D sound and 4K compatibility.

The most important thing about an A/V receiver is its sound, and the AVR-S740H has amazing sound quality. With Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and DTS: Virtual X, the AVR-S740H has strong audio quality.

Its Dolby Atmos envelops you into its sound with its realistic sounding 5.2.2 surround system speaker system and Dolby Surround upmixer.

Denon AVR-S740H Receiver With A Remote

DTS:X immerses you even more than Atmos by producing sounds naturally where they’d occur in space to create more realistic and multi-dimensional audio. Paired with the AVR-S740H’s DTS: Neural X makes gaming, music, and movies more realistic than ever before.

DTS: Virtual X adds even more to this with its virtual height effects in a 5.1, 7.1, or 2.1 speaker arrangement. Overall, the sound on this bad boy is impeccable and real.

The SVR-740H uses a 7-channel discrete amplifier with an auto eco mode to deliver 165 watts of power per channel to operate at max performance. It only makes it better that setting up and connecting is usually easy through its guide, though many people don’t receive the guide in their box and have to go online and download it.

 While most people find this easy to set up, the AVR-S740H gives you control of every tiny thing which becomes complicated for some, especially newbies. 

Denon AVR-S740H Receiver Ports

 Its front panel makes its built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and AirPlay 2 capabilities very easy and fast to operate, but you can also control it through your Smart TV remote, app control, or voice control through Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, and more.

Sadly, there have been problems with voice control, including turning on and not operating like it’s advertised, but the guide doesn’t mention these much in the first place. 

If you’re looking to use its Zone 2 audio, you’ll need to use analog connections, which isn’t great and many people would prefer wireless. Regardless, the AVR-S740H is still great for its value.

One of the best things about this receiver is HEOS, Denon’s wireless technology that allows you to stream music to HEOS wireless speakers or other HEOS-enabled receivers.

You can control it through Amazon Alexa and the HEOS app using music streaming sites including Spotify, Pandora, Soundcloud, Tidal, and many more.  

Denon AVR-S740H Receiver Back

​While this is a lot to take in, you may still be thinking: but what about picture quality? What about 4K? Well, the AVR-S740H is even strong with that. It has 6 HDMI ports and supports 4KUHD, HDR, BT.2020, Wide Color Gamut, and 4:4:4 Pure Color sub-sampling; helping to deliver amazing quality.

It even supports Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) to bring amazing color, brightness, and contrast and delivers HDR even over broadcast content.

The Denon AVR-S740H is a very strong and smart receiver that is better than most. It is a must-have if you’re an A/V lover.

Onkyo TX-NR686 Receiver Front


  • L x W x H →  14.94 x 17.13 x 6.81 in
  • Weight → 22 lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, HDMI, Wireless
  • Output Watts → 210 watts
  • Number of Audio Channels → 7.2

Key Features

  • THX Certified Select Reference Sound
  • Works with Sonos
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • Supports 4K HDR, BT.2020, 4K/60 Hz, and HDCP 2.2
  • Chromecast built-in with Google Assistant
  • Powered Zone 2 and Zone 2 line-out
  • Ready for DTS Play-Fi Multiroom Audio
  • Streaming services and internet radio
  • Alcohol-free


  • Amazing value for money
  • Great picture quality
  • Amazing and clear sound
  • Easy to set up
  • Great with turntables


  • Problems with Google Assistant not working
  • Not everyone likes its sound
  • Accessing Zone 2 is complicated to find
  • Not great for 4K, but many still like it

Onkyo TX-NR686 Review

If you’re looking for a home theater A/V receiver, then this is one of the best options for you. The Onkyo TX-NR686 is powerfully sounding and visually beautiful, including many great features and 4K compatibility.

One of the biggest feats of the TX-NR686 is its THX Certified Select Reference Sound which gives great, high-volume sound that fits rooms where the screen-to-seat viewing distance is about 10 feet and the volume of the room is around 2,000 cubic feet. Basically, this is great for home theaters and those with small rooms using short throw projectors.

Its Dolby Atmos and DTS:X even create 3D audio playback through finding spatial cues in legacy multichannel soundtracks and upmixing them. This all makes for an amazing and clear sound.

Of course, there are people who don’t like the sound, but this is subjective. One thing for certain is that it works and sounds great with turntables, so this is great for that if you’re a turntable aficiando! 

Onkyo TX-NR686 Receiver Back

Your home theater will only sound better with the TX-NR686’s ability to connect to Sonos and be a part of your Sonos Home Sound System through Sonos Connect, allowing your receiver to instantly wake up, change inputs, play music at the volume you command, and instantly upgrade your music streaming capability all through the Sonos app.

It can even connect to several streaming services and internet radio like TIDAL, Pandora, Amazon Music, and much more; including DTS Play-Fi which allows for multiroom streaming.

Its picture quality is just as amazing with 6 HDMI-inputs allowing for support pass-through of 4K, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision formats using the BT.2020 4K video standard, HDCP 2.2 for premium content, and 4K/60 Hz playback. All of this is impeccable, especially at its low price, being an amazing value overall.

Lastly is its Powered Zone 2 and Zone 2 line-out. Finding out how to use this is complicated, though it is easy to implement by just pressing Zone 2 and turning up the volume.

This lets you send your audio from two speakers in your main room to a pair in another room.

The TX-NR686 is very easy to set up, even with its Zone 2. With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AirPlay services, and its built-in Chromecast with Google Assistant, it’s even more accessible. There are problems with Google Assistant working, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

Onkyo TX-NR686 Receiver

This is an amazing choice for a home theater receiver for all that it gives to you. Another option is the TX-NR787 if you’re willing to spend ~$150 more, but this one is much more popular.

Sony STR-DN1080 Receiver Front


  • L x W x H →  19 x 15 x 8.38 in
  • Weight → 24.5 lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, LDAC
  • Output Watts → 165 watts
  • Number of Audio Channels → 7.2

Key Features

  • Consumer Technology Association’s Audio Product of the Year: Source Components
  • Hi-Res Audio and Audio file formats
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Lifelike audio with DTS:X
  • Full 360 degree sound
  • Flexible speaker solution
  • Digital Cinema Auto Calibration EX with Speaker relocation technology
  • Consistent 4K quality and great HDR
  • AirPlay, Wi-Fi, Chromecast built-in and Spotify Connect
  • Six HDMI inputs, two outputs
  • Touch, connect, and play through Bluetooth and LDAC
  • eARC
  • Stream music throughout the house with Sony | Music Center
  • Works with Google Home


  • A lot of great features
  • Easy to set up
  • Great picture quality
  • Great sound quality
  • Nice 4K HDR
  • Great for movies and home theater


  • HDMI connection problems - dying out and not working
  • Zone 2 configuration problems
  • Laggy and slow at times
  • Problems with 4K
  • Iffy with gaming
  • Horrible remote - 6 HDMI outputs with only 4 on the remote

Sony STR-DN1080 Review

Consumer Technology Association’s Audio Product of the Year for Source Components, the Sony STR-DN1080 is our (still inexpensive) high-end choice full of features. If you’re looking for a great quality receiver in both sound and picture, then this is it.

Sound quality is astounding with the STR-DN1080 equipped with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and its easy resolution connection with eARC if your TV is eARC enabled. This includes a Phantom Surround Back speaker setting which allows you to experience this immersive Dolby Atmos 360 degree 7 channel sound with only a 5 channel set up without even having those back speakers.

Using Digital Cinema Auto Calibration Ex, its flexible speaker relocation even adjusts your speakers to optimize your sound as if it were coming from the best positions and angles possible, working around any physical space restrictions.

Its DTS:X allows for even more multi-dimensional lifelike audio that adapts to your speaker configuration. You can position these speakers around and above you due to its 9 speaker channels, its Phantom

Surround speakers, and object-based audio decoding. If you have a love for music, this is even better with its Hi-Res audio making it sound like your favorite artists are singing in front of you.

Sony STR-DN1080 Receiver Back

The STR-DN1080 is great for movies and home theater with more than sound. Picture quality is just as amazing with its 4K pass-through. While there are some problems with its 4K, such as not performing greatly or upscaling images, it has decent, consistent 4K and HDR quality.

The biggest problem with this is that it’s very iffy with gaming - especially with its 4K and 4KHDR. These work great for some people, but it doesn’t connect at all or look good for others.

Overall, the STR-DN1080 is very easy to set up. With six HDMI inputs and two outputs, this receiver offers a lot. There is a problem with its HDMIs, though. Sometimes, they don’t connect, and many times they’ve died out and stopped working.

There are many other connections that do work consistently: Google Home, AirPlay, Wi-Fi, and built-in Chromecast and Spotify Connect.

You can even touch, connect, and play through Bluetooth and LDAC, and stream music throughout your house with Sony | Music Center to allow you to blast your favorite song all around the house through the Music Center app and multi-room listening.

There are still big problems with the STR-DN1080. It can be very laggy and slow at times, especially at startup, and while it has a Zone 2, there are configuration problems. Its biggest problem is its horrible remote, especially since there are only 4 HDMI buttons on the remote when there are 6 HDMI outputs.  

Still, the STR-DN1080 is an amazing receiver. While it has many problems, it’s quite obvious that its features far outweigh its flaws.

Sony STR-DH590 Receiver Front


  • L x W x H →  19.13 x 13.56 x 6.88 in
  • Weight → 18.25 lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → Bluetooth, HDMI
  • Output Watts → 145 w
  • Number of Audio Channels → 5.1 ch

Key Features

  • 4K HDR
  • Dolby Vision
  • Bluetooth
  • Flexible surround sound
  • 5.2 ch surround for cinematic sound
  • S-Force PRO Front Surround
  • DCAC


  • Amazing value for money
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Great remote control
  • Great for its price
  • Amazing overall quality


  • Mixed thoughts on 4K
  • Just “decent”
  • No 4K upscaling
  • Not that loud

Sony STR-DH590 Review

If you’re on a budget or just looking for a great, value receiver, then the Sony STR-DH590 is the perfect choice for you. This receiver comes at an amazing value overall, especially with the great overall quality that it dishes out in both sound and picture.

The STR-DH590 has amazing sound quality. With Hi-Res audio compatibility, you have a lot of potential with this receiver.

It has a 5.2 ch surround sound giving cinematic sound to immerse yourself inside of your own home.

If you have a small room or home theater, this works even better for you. This was made for small rooms and uses its S-Force PRO Front Surround system which delivers virtual sound all around you while only using 2 speakers.

With its 5.1 ch real sound and 2.1 ch virtual sound, you even experience flexible surround sound all around. The only bad thing here is that it’s really not that loud, which is probably why it’s best for smaller rooms.

Sony STR-DH590 Receiver Back

Its picture quality is just as great with its 4K pass-through technology. While there are mixed thoughts on this receiver’s 4K performance, it’s generally pretty good.

The STR-DH590 has great 4K HDR, HLG, and Dolby Vision to give you an amazing 4K picture. The overall picture is great for its value, though the one thing you probably won’t enjoy is that it doesn’t have 4K upscaling, so any image not 4K will be what it actually is on your screen.

Smart connection through this receiver is even available through Bluetooth and DCAC. Bluetooth allows you to play your favorite tracks through the STR-DH590, and the DCAC allows for auto-calibration to adjust the audio for optimal sound in any room. It also helps that it has a great remote control.

Sony STR-DH590 Receiver

Sadly, many refer to this as just “decent.” This may be because it’s a more-budget item, but that doesn’t take away from how good it is for its price.

Yamaha RX-V485 Receiver With A Remote


  • L x W x H →  12.4 x 17.13 x 6.34 in
  • Weight → 17.86 lbs
  • Connectivity Technology → Bluetooth, HDMI, Wi-Fi, AirPlay
  • Output Watts → 145 watts
  • Number of Audio Channels → 5.1

Key Features

  • Full 4K UHD and HDR10
  • HDMI Support
  • Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth compatible
  • Bluetooth Output
  • Cinema DSP 3D
  • Easy Sound Optimization with YPAO
  • Wireless Surround Speakers
  • MusicCast and Alexa on MusicCast
  • Streaming Services
  • Second Room Surround Sound


  • Great remote control
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Great material quality
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Great for gaming


  • Problems streaming
  • Wonky phone app for some
  • Bluetooth actually only one way

Yamaha RX-V485 Review

When it comes to gaming, you need something with at least 1080p pass-through; sound is just a great addition, but who wouldn’t want amazing sound? While these systems don’t reduce lag, they can add lag if you’re upscaling and not using pass-through, but there hasn’t been much research on this to say how much if any.

The Yamaha RX-V485 is great for gaming because it packs strong sounds, great images, and nice features all at a great value for its cost. This is a receiver made of great, sturdy material with a lot of connections, coming with an ease to set up and a great remote that makes everything even easier to use.

Yamaha RX-V485 Receiver Back

When it comes to sound, the RX-V485 has amazing quality. Using Cinema DSP 3D, a Yamaha proprietary sound field creation technology, the RX-V485 brings realistic sounds into your rooms to immerse you into your music, movies, and games.

This becomes even more enhanced with Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO). This comes with a microphone that you place in your room.

From this, YPAO analyzes your room’s acoustic and your system to create the best, most optimal, sound for your room.

Other pluses are its Second Room Surround Sound and Wireless Surround Speakers. The Second room surround sound allows you to send audio via a 2-channel system to a second zone and hear what you’re playing in two rooms.

The Wireless Surround Speakers come with the MusicCast 50 or MusicCast 20. They deliver realistic streaming sound and are rear speakers.

Speaking of compatibility, there’s much more than just MusicCast. Still, MusicCast allows you to connect all devices that use it to the same network and blast your music throughout your house through the MusicCast app.

You can even control it with Amazon Alexa. If you don’t want to use this app, there are many streaming services that you can use including Pandora, TIDAL, Spotify, and more.

Yet, there have been problems streaming because of connection and that the MusicCast app is wonky.

Yamaha RX-V485 Receiver Front

The RX-V485 is also Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth compatible, but there’s a problem with this too. Yamaha claims that there is a Bluetooth output, which means you can stream music from the receiver to your Bluetooth headphones, but a lot of users claim that they can’t connect their headphones and that the Bluetooth is really only one way.

Gaming needs great picture quality, and Yamaha has it. It has 4K UHD HDMI support with the latest HDMI standards. This allows for the 4K video transmission at 60fps pass-through, which is amazing for gaming.

This receiver supports HDR videos, using HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG providing impeccable contrast and beautiful and bright colors for an amazing natural and realistic picture.

This receiver is amazing with its picture quality pass-through, great transmission, and amazing sound that gamers should definitely look into.

Best A/V Receivers: Buying Guide

There’s a lot to know before buying an A/V receiver to make sure you’re getting the best one for you. We go over each of these factors to help you with this process.

When is the right time to buy an A/V receiver?

This comes down to your priorities and budget. We’ve already hounded on about how important they are to the overall home theater system, but you can still use everything without a receiver; it’ll just be nowhere near as good as it can be. Get an A/V receiver when you think you’re ready for one.

A/V (Surround) vs. Stereo Sound

Don’t get tricked and accidentally buy the wrong type of receiver. There are two types of receivers: A/V, otherwise called surround, and Stereo.

Stereo speakers are for music with more radio-like features including AM/FM tuners, XM or Sirius radio capability, and more. If you’re looking for something for music and not home theater, get a stereo speaker.

They're generally better for listening to high-end music but are a lot less popular nowadays. Stereo receivers and TVs will not create the surround sound you want, you need an A/V receiver for that.

Stereo Receiver Onkyo TX-8720

A/V receivers are for home theaters - having both audio and visual aspects. While some are great just for audio alone and can compete with stereo receivers, they are primarily for home theaters.

AV Receiver Onkyo TX-NR585

Analog vs. Digital Surround Sound

There are two types of surround sound: Analog and Digital.

Analog surround sound refers to analog inputs and connections. Though it’s much more common and enjoyed to use digital (unless you’re using a stereo receiver and three speakers), this helps to connect to devices that use analog connections such as VCRs, cassette recorders, older gaming consoles like the N64 and the original PlayStation.

Tracy V. Wilson & Tom Harris, , How Stuff Works, December 19, 2001
Analog surround sound-min

If you don’t have any analog devices or don’t care to use them, the more popular option is digital. There are two types of digital connection: coaxial and optical.

Audiophiles prefer the coaxial. Digital surround sound uses digital inputs and connections and is less likely to have electrical interference, unlike analog.

This is used, and required, for digital surround-sound formats such as DTS and Dolby Digital.

digital surround sound

Receivers can come with both of these connections, so make sure to see what inputs your receiver comes with if you want a certain one or both.

A/V Receiver Channels: What are they and how many do you need?

Understanding A/V receiver channels is extremely important. For a quick run-down about them, as well as about buying a receiver in general, check out this video:

Now: the deeper run-down. As you’ve probably noticed, there’ve been numbers like 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, and so on throughout this list. Well, those are channels.

To make this easy, think of this as one channel = one speaker. The first number is the number of speakers, so there are 7 speakers in a 7.1 channel set-up.

The .1 or .2 is for the low-frequency sound - the subwoofer. .1 is one subwoofer, .2 is two. So a 7.1 setup has 7 speakers and 1 subwoofer.

Sometimes, you’ll see another number such as in 5.2.2 in the Denon AVR-S740H. This second .2 is for height/ceiling/overhead speakers, so you’d have 2 overhead speakers.

Here, if there are three, take the first and last number and add them together - that’s how many channels of amplification (speakers) you need. You’ll see the third number in receivers that are enabled with Dolby Atmos.

test tone

A/V receivers come with 5.1 channels or more, where 5.1 and 7.1 are the most common. With a 5.1, you have a speaker in the center, front right, front left, surround left, and surround right, and a subwoofer. Add a speaker in the back left and right and you have a 7.1.

Usually, most people opt for a 5.1 set-up and put the other two speakers (and sometimes the subwoofer) in a second zone. Once you get to 9.1 and more, you’re adding overhead speakers.

It’s most common to use a 5.1 set-up and get a 7.1 receiver. Get a 7.1 or higher just in case you want to add more speakers in the future.

5.1 receivers are becoming more and more obsolete, but many people don’t require more than 5 speakers. We recommend getting a 7.1 so at least you can use a second zone if you want, or just have the possibility of more speakers in the future.

gaming room

More speakers usually also come with other additions, such as Atmos with 7.1 or DTS:X. Honestly, these features are up to you, and they’re not truly necessary.

Surround Sound Software: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, and Auro-3D

To get the most realistic sound, you’ll need a surround sound software/format. These make your home theater much more immersive and use certain speakers (whether the front, back, left, right, or even height) to make it sound as if you’re in what you’re watching.

Referred to as 3D surround sound, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D are the most common of these. Most receivers can play at least two of them. If you get these, you’re probably going to need at least a 7.1.

DTS:X is the best choice for beginners. It’s the easiest to integrate into your already existing 5.1 or 7.1 surround system set-up, so you don’t even need to worry about installing extra speakers, but it can support up to 32.

This format is purely software-based and there are no physical limitations around where you place your speakers or how many you have. It can upscale non-DTS:X sources (like stereo music files) to add more spatial realism, and auto-calibrates your system to make dialogue and sound effects sound the best for you - bringing dialogue out above even when it’s really low.

placing speakers in the room

Dolby Atmos, on the other hand, uses two or more extra height speakers and is written in forms such as 5.1.2 or 7.1.2 instead of 5.1 or 7.1. As stated before, this third number is for ceiling speakers. See the differences between the 5.1 and 7.1 home theater systems, and which one's for you.

​These speakers can be in-ceiling or elevated and are usually placed above your ground speakers so that sound can move between the top and bottom more realistically. You can buy receivers that come Dolby Atmos-enabled with everything already included, or you can upgrade your system.

The only problems with upgrading are the cost of the elevation speakers (which you need at least two, maybe four of) and that you need to make sure your receiver is Dolby Atmos-compatible.

This is the most popular option of the three and you’ll probably want a receiver that this is compatible with.

dolby atmos

Auro-3D produces phenomenal sound but is very hard to put in place. These usually come in 9.1, 10.1, 11.1, and 13.1 setups.

Its basic set-up is the 9.1 and requires extra height speakers at the front and back. With 10.1 and up, it uses what is referred to as the “Voice of God” channel, which is this really nice single main ceiling speaker.

auro 3d audio

You can upgrade your 5.1 or 7.1 to Auro-3D too. Adding four height speakers to the 5.1, two above your main speakers and two above your surround, and adding a speaker above each surround and center, as well as the single ceiling channel to the 7.1 does the trick.

Of course, with all of this, it can be seen why many don’t go for the Auro-3D as well because it requires a lot of precise work. Yet, this format is amazing and produces outstanding sounds that truly makes you feel like you’re there.

Other Surround Sound Software: DTS Neural: X, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS:X Pro

There are even more surround sound software, believe it or not; they’re just not as popular. There are actually dozens of them, but some are used only in very specific circumstances and some rarely at all.

We’re just going to go over some of them here.

DTS Neural: X comes with one of our top choices: the Onkyo TX-NR686. If you have a source (like BluRay) that only uses 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 audio, but your setup has height speakers, then DTS: Neural X would work great for you.

This extrapolates height information from the audio to bring out more realistic sound.

Dolby TrueHD is what is used when your receiver isn’t Dolby Atmos compatible, but you’re using an Atmos-compatible source. It’s an eight-channel mix that produces quality sound, but it’s not as good as Atmos.

DTS-HD Master Audio does the same thing as Dolby TrueHD, except for DTS:X receivers.

Dolby Digital Plus is the standard non-Atmos Dolby software. You’ll use this if you don’t have height speakers, but still want that Dolby audio mix.

If you have DTS:X, just use that instead, but if not use this. This isn’t great, but it’ll give you surround sound without the height elements.

Power: What is it and how much wattage do you need per channel?

Power is one of the most important things about a receiver. Measured in watts, usually from 50-200 though it ranges from 30-500 in receivers, power is what determines your sound quality.

Receivers with more wattage generally produce better sound quality than those with lower wattage, even when at lower sounds, but this isn’t guaranteed. You want to make sure that you have enough power for your speakers and room.

The larger your room, the more power you need. For your speakers, this depends on sensitivity - which is the number of decibels it puts out per watt of power. Speakers with lower sensitivity require more power.

If you have an average-sized room, 50 to 100 watts is great. Look at your room’s size, wattage, and your speakers to determine what’s good for you.

More doesn’t always mean better, especially since more power usually costs more money, and not everyone truly needs more power anyway.

A/V Receiver Placement

You need to think about where you’re placing your A/V receiver before you get it. These things are big and bulky and get hot very quickly, so you need space for it to sit and ventilate.

That means not to put it in anything. You hear me? DON’T HIDE IT AWAY.

receiver next to a tv

Yes, it’s ugly, but putting it inside of a cabinet, cluttered or not, instead of on something with space to ventilate (two to six inches is recommended, but you can have more if you want), is bad. It can result in your receiver overheating, shutting down, and losing some of its lifespan.

It also makes it harder to use your remote.

Fine, maybe there’s nowhere else to put it. Then, maybe an open-space cabinet would work better for you.

Maybe you can even place it on the floor, out of the way of everything else of course. Just make sure that it has some room for itself to cool down wherever you put it.

Connecting your A/V Receiver

Connect your A/V receiver to your home theater set-up isn’t as hard as many people think. It only takes six easy steps.

  1. Using an HDMI cable, connect your console or Blu-Ray player to one of your receiver’s HDMI in ports.
  2. Connect your speakers to their specific channels by using speaker wire of at least 16-gauge. If you’ve never done this, all you need to do is unscrew the cap on the speaker wire, then thread this stripped wire through the hole so that the metal wire makes contact with the metal speaker port. Screw the cap back on when you’re finished. When connecting, notice that each speaker has a red (+) connection and a black (-) connection. As with everything else, black goes to black, and red to red.
  3. Connect your subwoofer to your receiver’s pre out port using a standard RCA cable.
  4. Connect your TV to the HDMI out port with an HDMI cable.
  5. Plug in the receiver and subwoofer. Make sure to do this last. Don’t connect anything with your receiver already plugged in.
  6. Turn on your TV and receiver and switch to the correct HDMI input whether with the on-tv buttons or your remote control. Follow the on-screen instructions from there.

In the end, you’ll have a great set-up!

a man watching a tv


This one’s big and important.  The number one thing to worry about/consider is the amount of HDMI inputs/outputs (I/O).

In this day in age, everything needs to have HDMI I/O. The more you have, the more you can do - but if you don’t have enough sources to switch between on your TV or projector, then there is a possibility of having too many.

We recommend getting a receiver with one or two more ports than you think you presently need, just in case for the future. There will be more inputs than outputs, so don’t worry about that.

It’s possible that you may only need one: to connect to your TV. If you plan to game, or use a Blu-Ray Player, connect it to your cable box or projector, etc, then you’ll need more.

Most receivers nowadays come with seven HDMI ports, but you’ll probably need only around four unless you plan to connect it to everything.

Remember, you’re paying more for each I/O, and you can unplug and plug something else in if need be. It doesn’t need to be permanent.

hdmi cable

You may be asking: What does HDMI even do? HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. Its cables transport high-quality video and sound from one source to the next.

With 4K on the rise, there have been HDMI cables specifically made for 4K, such as the HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2 certification, but if your HDMI can handle 1080p, it can handle 4K.

Don’t worry about spending more for a newer cable; though the 2.0a boasts an ability to support 4KUHD and HDR.

HDMI also allows for video upscaling and transcoding. With video upscaling, on a 4K receiver, your HDMI will “upscale” a lower resolution to appear to be 4K.

Transcoding, also called video conversion, allows you to connect a number of analog composite and component video signals and convert them all to a digital signal that can be output through a single HDMI cable.

This means that you can basically have all of your analog sources connected to your receiver through just one cable, which is amazing!

The last thing about HDMI is its Standby pass-through. With this intuitive feature, you can have your HDMI signal sent out to your TV even when your receiver is off, so you can still watch TV with the connected sources in without having your receiver on or the surround sound coming from the speakers.

Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other connection options

You need to know what your receiver connects to in order to control it and properly use it and all of its features. Your receiver will come with both analog and digital connections to allow you to connect to both older devices and newer ones, allowing you a lot of leeway, yet knowing what you want to connect to will help you with your choice.

Consider everything that you want, and may want in the future, to connect to your receiver. If you want to play music wirelessly, you need onboard Wi-Fi at the least, but you may also want Bluetooth, AirPlay, or internet radio.

You may want an ethernet cable or even a USB. Know what you want to connect to your receiver, and get more connections just in case, so that it won’t be a waste to you. Here, we’ll go over a handful of connection options.


Many new receivers nowadays come with built-in Wi-Fi adapters, which is really handy when you want multi-room listening. Though most receivers in the past, and some still now, require you to hardwire your network from your router to the receiver, having built-in Wi-Fi is much easier - even though setting up your Wi-Fi can still be complicated regardless.

With Wi-Fi, you can stream music and videos from anything else on the same Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is more reliable than Bluetooth because it’s less suspect to dropouts (disconnections), and you can even wirelessly connect to some speakers.


Bluetooth streaming allows mostly the same possibilities as Wi-Fi through Bluetooth streaming from your phone or tablet, though this works within a range of 30 feet.

The sound quality isn’t as good as Wi-Fi, and it has the possibility of dropouts. You will find this built-in to some receivers, and it’s definitely something to consider if you want to stream music.



AirPlay, otherwise referred to as Apple AirPlay, works from any Airplay equipped device or device with iTunes. You can stream movies, photos, music, etc., and works generally better than Bluetooth.

You need your receiver connected to your home network, but the audio quality is pretty lossless.

Google Cast

Google Cast, otherwise known as Chromecast, works like AirPlay except with both iOS apps and Android. It can stream to multiple rooms and can even stream high-quality images.


A lot of receivers nowadays come with ethernet ports and connections to allow you to connect your receiver to your network. With this, your receiver’s firmware can be easily updated.

This will be the primary connection to accessing the content on your network and aspects like internet radio. You do not need this is you have built-in Wi-Fi.

onkyo receiver back


Another option to stream your music, video, and photos over your network through DLNA: Digital Living Network Alliance. You’ll know if your digital device is DLNA certified because it will say so.

You can access all of your digital files on your computer using DLNA, though the bigger your library, the slower your device.


With USB ports, you can plug in your flash drive and watch movies, view pictures, or listen to music. Some of these even work with iPods and iPhones too.

Internet Radio

We’ve talked about using this a little. While most internet radio doesn’t sound great, there are thousands of stations so you’re sure to find something that’s good - and you have the internet at your hands, meaning a lot of access.

HD Radio

This has a superior sound quality to FM stations, eliminates static, and allows access to additional stations that are broadcasted by your favorite channels.

Satellite Radio

Satellite Radio is the last of our options. You’re going to need a subscription to Sirius/XM service.

The tuners to these stations aren’t always included with receivers, so you need to make sure that your’s comes with you if you want it.

Sound Quality: What’s the point without it?

So the biggest thing to consider is sound quality. We’ve already discussed surround sound and we’ll discuss THD after this, but you’re going to need to consider sound quality most of all.

The big question is: are A/V receivers the problem or are the speakers?

Generally speaking, the bigger the receiver, the better the sound, but some people find that receivers sound the same. People say that the speakers make the true difference, but there are just as many saying it’s the other way around.

In the end, this is perfectly subjective and whatever sounds good to you is great. Test everything out if you can and determine which sounds work for you.

Total Harmonic Distortion

Total Harmonic Distortion

Yes, the picture is confusing. We know, but it’s there to show you how THD affects your output. It’s much more confusing than this (with a crazy formula behind it), but we’re just sticking to what you need to know.

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is a huge thing when it comes to sound quality. This refers to the hum and distortion that you hear on occasion when playing music from sources, especially loudly.

If you’ve ever turned up your music all the way on your car’s original speakers, you know this rumbling sound.

You’ll experience this too if your THD rating is above 0.1 percent. Anything less is inaudible, and anything equal to or under 0.08 is very good.

Stick to those under 0.1 and your sound signal will remain closer to how it’s supposed to sound.

Matching Your Speakers to Your Receiver

If you want to get the best sound from your speakers, you need to correctly match them to your receiver. This all depends on power and your speakers’ impedance, sensitivity, and bandwidth.

For impedance, you’re going to want to look for a receiver with an 8-ohm impedance rating. These receivers play very smoothly, but if your receiver has an impedance rating less than this, then you’re going to want to consider getting more power to drive your speakers.

Sensitivity depends on your speakers Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and is measured in decibels (dB). As we stated before, you’ll need more power to drive receivers with lower sensitivity.

With more power here, your speakers can play louder.

Lastly, bandwidth is all about that bass. If you’re looking for heavy bass, or just want a lot of bass in general, you’ll need more power, but this also depends on the sensitivity.

High sensitive speakers tend to put out more bass with less power, and if your subwoofer is in charge of your bass, you also won’t need a lot of power. Checking out your receiver’s sensitivity will help with all of this.

Room Calibration

Room calibration refers to the aspect of setting the surround sound’s sound to perfectly fit your room and sound the most realistic and lively to you, but this is a daunting task for many and that’s why auto-calibration was made.

Auto-calibration is in many receivers out there nowadays. These receivers come with a microphone that you put in your listening room.

After playing a test sound, the microphone sends information to the receiver to properly find the best acoustic levels in your room. The receiver then adjusts your speakers and applies EQ levels to your listening room to create the best sounds possible.

This is a must-have for some, but usually only works best in the more expensive receivers. If you’re interested in this, go for it, though you may find more enjoyment by just calibrating it yourself.

Space: Do you have enough room? 

This is an obvious one, folks. You’re not only going to need to have enough room to place all of these speakers and your home theater set-up itself, but you’re also going to need space for your receiver to ventilate.

A/V receivers are large as it is for ventilation purposes, so you’re going to need space for it, at least two inches free above it, and space for everything else. Check out our guide if ​you're having ​home theater problems.

Multi-room Capabilities

Who doesn’t want to listen to music and watch videos in other rooms? While the prior is much more common than the latter with receivers, the use of Wi-Fi and/or a Second Zone will bring wonders to your home theater system.

We’ll discuss the second zone, aka Zone 2, next, but touch on Wi-Fi more here.

There are options to use cables instead of Wi-Fi in some receivers, but no one wants to do that unless they have to - especially since it involves analog connection. The possibility with Multi-Room capability ranges from playing the same song in two rooms to playing two different shows or songs in two different rooms.

Most receivers on this list can only do the same audio, though there are many receivers with more possibilities.

Sonos originally made wireless multi-room audio popular. Following them, all of the latest receivers have come out with their own multi-room wireless audio systems: MusicCast by Yamaha, HEOS by Denon, the DTS Play-Fi standard, Apple AirPlay 2, built-in ChromeCast, and more.

They’re all even controllable by apps, so you have all of the multi-room possibilities on your phone ready to be controlled.

If your receiver doesn’t come with this already built-in, you may not even have to worry. A lot of these companies, such as Yamaha and Denon, also sell this compatibility in a small cube-like add-on that you can attach to your receiver.

Zone 2 Explained

Usually with analog receivers, second-zone or Zone 2 audio allows you to hook up speakers or another audio system in a second room and send the source signal to them.

Generally, this allows you to listen to the same thing you are listening to in the main room, but some receivers even let you listen to a different source in the second-zone room. Some receivers even have a third zone for audio in another room.

Zone 1, 2 and 3

The remote or onboard controls allow you to have control over these zones and sources, meaning you can watch a DVD movie with surround sound in one room, while someone listens to something else in the second room.

They can be powered, line-out, or both. Powered is for 7.1 channel receivers where if it has speaker terminals labeled Zone 2, you can connect speakers directly to the receiver where the receiver will power them up.

When Zone 2 is activated, the sixth and seventh channels are sent to the Zone 2 connections (which there are two of), so your main system becomes a 5.1 channel and your Zone 2 a 2.1.

zone 2

Line-out is used if your receiver has RCA audio outputs labeled Zone 2 which you’ll need to connect an external amplifier to. You’ll then connect the added speakers to the external amplifier.

These receivers allow you to use your main room’s full 7.1 channels while still outputting to Zone 2 with its external amplifiers.

This isn’t needed, but if you want it then get it.

4K and 4K switching

If you want the best thing out right now for picture, it’s 4K (though 8K and 10K are also here/coming soon). 4K brings amazing color, clarity, and sharpness all packed in its large amount of pixels: 3,840 x 2,160.

Most newer receivers come out with 4K, and it’s the thing everyone wants, but there is a problem with 4K: there aren’t many videos actually in 4K. HDTV peaks at 1080p, most videogames are at 1080p, Blu-Ray is generally in 1080p, and so on.

While there are 4K options for these, as well as with streaming, it’s just not as mainstream yet. This means that you’re going to be upscaling videos instead of getting native 4K, so the images will appear 4K, but not actually be 4K.

It’ll still look great in the end. Regardless, all the receivers on this list are 4K-ready.

boats 4k

If you want 4K, you need to make sure that your receiver has 4K-switching so that it can switch between audio and 4K visual signals. Without this, you won’t have much luck with 4K images.

You’ll also want HDCP 2.2 support so that you can watch HDCP 2.2 content. Without it, trying to watch it will just produce a black screen.

HDCP 2.2 is a technology designed to stop people from illegally copying video content, especially 4K. This may sound irrelevant to you, but you can’t watch HDCP 2.2 copy-protected videos without a receiver with support for it; which most come with.

To match a 4K receiver, you should get a 4K projector. Check out our best 4K projectors here (Interlink to Best 4K Projectors).


Alongside 4K, High Dynamic Range (HDR) is the way of the future. HDR works to create better contrast and color within your screen’s pixels to create more realistic and accurate picture with much more depth.

There are three HDR formats: HDR10, Dolby Vision (DV), and HLG. HDR10 is the most used of these three, though many prefer Dolby Vision.

road hdr


Your receiver’s interface is very important because if you don’t understand it, good luck with anything else. If you can’t understand the interface, you can be missing out on a lot of possibilities from amazing sound to beautiful pictures.

Make sure to check out receiver interfaces when looking up receivers. Most quality receivers nowadays come with a graphical interface which allows you to set up and operate the receiver from its screen.

Smart Receivers: A/Vs with Alexa, Google Home, and other great services

Smart everything is the way of the future. If you have a smart receiver, chances are that it won’t come with the service it can use.

Instead, you’ll have to connect it to the assistant, whether Alexa, Google Home, or whatever else, though Wi-Fi. This does allow you to control its volume, pause it, turn your receiver on/off, play/pause music, skip or go back, etc.

Some even let you AirPlay music from your iOS device.

There’s also app control if voice control doesn’t do it for you, so you can control some receivers from your phone with their dedicated apps instead of yelling at your Alexa to work and hoping she will actually listen; we all know how dumb “Smart” technology can be from time to time.

The apps that A/V receivers come with are usually free and allow you to control your music, switch sources, adjust volume, and more.

sony receiver and mobile

You’re probably going to want a smart receiver since that’s what’s coming out now, but you don’t need one. They’re cool to have, though.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several questions people ask about A/V receivers. We answer most here.

How do A/V receivers work?

An A/V receiver receives signals from several input devices, like a satellite dish, DVD player, etc., and interprets and amplifies those signals to your output devices - your surround sound, television, etc.

A/V receivers are composed of audio/visual inputs for video sources, a preamplifier, a surround sound decoder, such as Dolby Digital, a power amplifier, and outputs for the speakers and TV.

The receivers take in the input component and the preamplifier selects the signal and amplifies and outputs it to power your loudspeakers.

As HowStuffWorks puts it, the receiver outputs the video to your television, while the audio is output to the decoder (whether that be analog or digital) to sort out the different sound channels from the video and then sends the information to the amplifiers for each sound-channel output where each amplifier is connected to the appropriate speaker(s).

From there, your inputs have become outputs and your surround sound and video are much better than before.

Why buy an A/V receiver?

If you don’t buy an A/V receiver then you’re missing out on the whole center system of your home theater system. If you’re trying to create the best home theater, then you’re going to need an A/V receiver.

Without it, your speakers will be nowhere near as good as possible, and your video won’t be as amazing either. Not buying an A/V receiver when trying to make a great home theater will be something you’ll easily regret.

Are A/V receivers worth it?

Yes. If you want to create your best home theater experience, they are definitely worth it. If you’re just looking for a good audio experience and aren’t worried about the visual aspect at all, go for a stereo receiver.

Are A/V receivers obsolete?

This is a common question, but I have no idea why. No, they’re not obsolete. If they were, we wouldn’t still be pushing for them today.

Certain receivers are now obsolete, like most 5.1 receivers, and with time their features and HDMI connectivity gets closer and closer to obsolete, but that’s if you plan to get the top notch stuff. If not, no. It’s nowhere near obsolete.

Are A/V receivers amplifiers?

No. An A/V receiver is much more than an amplifier. While an amplifier does exactly what it says (amplifying the signal to your loudspeakers), an A/V receiver includes an amplifier, preamp, decoder, and input and output sources.

Buying an amplifier would just be referred to as buying a “separate” since you’re just getting one part of the system that you’d have to install into the rest.  Take a moment and read our guide on amplifiers vs AV receivers, and which one should you get.

Why are A/V receivers so big?

A common complaint about A/V receivers is that they’re big (and ugly). There are smaller builds nowadays, but they’re big because they require big power draw and supply, and power creates heat.

So, the more power, the more heat, and heat dissipates better in bigger units. So, a bigger receiver is needed for better power draw and heat transfer.

How do you compare A/V receivers?

Comparing A/V receivers is like comparing most other products. You need to take a look at the features and what’s being offered to you. Know what you want and what to look for.

How many channels do you want? What kind of connections do you want? What about the power it outputs? Its size may even be a reason to think twice.

Take a look at their surround-sound software, if you’re looking for 4K, HDR, 3D sound, and so on. Basically, know what you want, check the pros and cons, and choose which one fits your needs better.

If you’re stuck between two, see if you can find a video on their sound and image quality to get a better understanding of what it can do overall. As with any product, the best way to find out which is great for you is to test it if you can.  

What about second-zone audio?

Second-zone audio is something many people wonder whether it’s worthy to get. This is honestly all up to you. If you want it, then get it. With it, you’ll be able to listen to audio in a second room, whether it be the same or different (depending on the audio) or powered or line-out.

​It is great if you want to bring your audio out of the main room, but if not, then it doesn’t matter. You can always get a receiver with a Zone 2 feature just in case, even if you don’t plan to use it. Most of them come with it nowadays, regardless.

How much power do I need?

This depends on several things such as the size of your room, speakers themselves, and how loud you actually want it to be. Like with everything else, more doesn’t always mean better, especially since a big increase in watts isn’t equal to the same increase in volume (ex. Doubling the power only increases 3dB, but this is a good, moderate change).

More power generally means more dynamic headroom, allowing your receiver to output power at a higher level for short periods to create a more dynamic effect during sound events like orchestral peaks and high movie sound effects.

More power also helps to drive speakers with lower sensitivity and less efficiency, while efficient speakers don’t require this extra power. If you have a larger room, it’s quite obvious that you’re going to want to have more power as well to fill it, but you don’t need a lot then you don’t need a lot of power.

Is automatic speaker calibration something to consider or worry about?

As we’ve covered, automatic speaker calibration uses an included microphone to find the best acoustic levels in your room and adjust your speaker and apply EQ levels to your room to create the most optimal sounds. This sounds very cool, but the technology behind it is still iffy and it may just be better if you adjust the sound manually.

You can try it out, of course, and there are certainly receivers where it works, but it’s not something to worry about.

Do expensive receivers sound better?

Do expensive shoes make you walk better? Unless you have shoes made for your feet, no. It’s all about the look and the build since more expensive builds usually put more into the sturdiness and quality of their build.

While some amazing receivers are worth an arm and a leg, there are also amazing receivers that are pretty inexpensive. Just because it costs more doesn’t mean it’s better.

Check out the features and see if you can find a video of its sound somewhere or check it out yourself if possible. You don’t need a ridiculously expensive receiver unless you actually want and can afford one.

What brands are the best to consider?

There isn’t a singular answer to this because it depends on personal preference. We’d say any brand on this list is good to consider: Denon, Onkyo, Sony, and Yamaha are the top four brands.

Some people swear by one, some people switch from one to the next, but they all create great quality receivers.  

Should I worry about the warranty?

Should you worry about any warranty? Well, once again, it’s up to you. When you spend a lot of money, you usually want to make sure that there is a warranty on it just in case something happens.

This is all up to you, whether or not you should worry about it. If you think that something wrong is going to happen or you just want to be cautious, then get it, but you don’t have to.

Are 3D, THX, and MHL important?

3D, THX, and MHL are all great features that your receiver can have, but each varies in its importance.

Most HDMI-receivers are already 3D-compatible, so you likely won’t even have to worry about it. THX is entirely subjective.

If you want it, get it, but you’re usually paying more for it when A/V receivers perform amazingly well even without it. You don’t need it.

MHL, on the other hand, is good if you want to use something like the Roku Streaming Stick or you have an MHL-enabled phone. Like THX, you don’t need it, but it’s more worthwhile than THX.

Do I need a 4K receiver?

Do you need one? No. You don’t need it at all, but if you want the best quality possible and the ability to switch 4K signals, then you’ll want one.

Do I need a new receiver for my 4K TV?

If you want to experience 4K images, then yes. If you don’t upgrade your receiver, you won’t be able to experience 4K when passing through signals. HDTV nowadays only uses up to 1080p, so you don’t “need” it, but if you bought a 4K TV, then you’re probably planning to use it for 4K.

You need your whole system to be 4K to fully enjoy this. Otherwise, you’re both missing out on upscaling lower quality images through the receiver and receiving 4K quality in the first place.

Do I need a special HDMI cable for 4K?

No. You can get one, like the HDMI 2.1 which can handle 4K at 120fps, or 8K at 60fps, but you don’t need this at all. If your HDMI cable can handle 1080p, it should also be able to handle 4K.

How do I connect my 4K TV to a non 4K receiver?

The same way you connect your regular TV to the receiver, through your HDMI. You won’t receive 4K video since your receiver doesn’t have 4K passthrough, but you can still watch High Definition videos.

What else should you buy with your receiver?

If you don’t already have the home theater setup and speakers (which if you don’t… get it already), then that, of course. Otherwise, we’d recommend a power conditioner just in case something happens to protect your receiver during power outages, lightning strikes, etc.  

Are more channels better?

Nowadays, the most common speaker set-up is a 5.1, but most A/V receivers come with a minimum of 7.1 channels - which works great if there’s a Zone 2. While more channels don’t necessarily equal better, it does mean more speakers (and more money).

The more channels you have, the more places you can put speakers, but that’s only if you really want it or need it. There are many places you can put them, whether overhead or on the sides of your room.

You can even place them on the bookshelf! Check out our best bookshelf speaker lists if you’re into that (interlink here)!

While harder to find nowadays, many don’t want more than a 5.1, but it’s highly recommended to get a 7.1 regardless just in case you want more in the future. The general case is to at least get 7.1 if you even have a choice anymore.

Is a 7.1 setup more worthwhile than a 5.1?

The 7.1 setup allows for you to put two speakers in your second zone, but, as stated in the last answer, the 5.1 setup is the most common.

It’ll be hard to find a 5.1 receiver nowadays regardless, but it’s recommended to use a 5.1 setup in one room and set the other two speakers in another. If you want to set up the whole 7.1 in your one listening room, go ahead, we’re not going to stop you.

What is the best A/V receiver for music?

We’d say that the Denon AVR-S740H is the best for music, but if you’re just looking for a music surround sound system and not one also for video, then get a stereo.

What is the best receiver under $1000?

We believe that the best receiver under $1000 would be the Denon AVR-S740H, though both the Onkyo TX-NR686 and Sony STR-DN1080 are also great options.

What is the best receiver under $500?

The answer to this question is the same as the one prior. The TX-NR686 is the cheapest of the three, while the Denon AVR-S740H is the most pricey just under $500, but any is a great choice.

We’d say to go with the Denon if you have the money.

What is an A/V receiver preamp?

An A/V receiver preamplifier, or preamp, is a device that can connect all of your audio or a/v source components, whether they be DVD, DVR, CD, or Blu-Ray Disc players.

They are generally used to extend/output input audio signals to the amplifier to power up your loudspeakers and produce the sound, being referred to as Power Amplifiers in these situations, but can also be used to switch between sources and process audio and/or video.

In Conclusion

Wow, that’s a lot to take in, but all of this will help you to make sure that you choose the right A/V receiver for you. Whether you go after any of the great options on this list or any other choice, using our FAQ and Buying Guide will help you to choose the perfect receiver for you.

  • Amazon, A/V Receivers Help Guide, Amazon, 2019
  • Chris Opfer, 5 Things to Look for When Buying an AV Receiver, How Stuff Works, November 17, 2011
  • Danny Briere, Pat Hurley, What Does an A/V Receiver Do?, Dummies, September, 2015
  • Howdini, Home Theater Buying Guide: Buy the Best AV Receiver (for You), YouTube, October 4, 2012
  • Richard L. Stevens, Home Theater Receiver Buying Guide, B & H Foto, 2018
  • How Home Theater Works

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Best Blu-Ray Player

Steve Scott

Technology has advanced over the years, which is why we can stream everything online. That being said, Blu-Ray Players are still in high demand due to the need for better picture quality.

When watching anything on TV you want to experience the true effects of the show and the depth and color to follow. The concept of Blu-Ray Players is to provide each viewer with a high-quality broadcasting experience.

There are a few things you will want to consider when choosing the best Blu-Ray Player. Do you want standard or high definition picture quality, built-in-WIFI, 4K streaming, and backward compatibility support?  

We are here to help you find the best Blu-ray player based on high-quality performance. This review analyzes the best Blu-ray players on the market based on quality, customer satisfaction, and implementation.

If you want better picture quality and more detail in the pictures you see on the screen than the answer is: you need a Blu-ray player.  

Blu-ray players, for the most part, come in one size and are black. The price varies based on the Blu-Ray disc format specifications.

Let’s dive deeper into the best Blu-Ray Player Recommendations of 2019.

Check out our review of the Ultra HD Blu-ray player - OPPO UDP-205.

Best Blu-Ray Players - Our Top Picks

Sony UBP-X700 Ultra Blu ray Player


  • L x W x H →  15 x 12 x 14 in 
  • Weight → 3.09 pounds
  • Wi-Fi Built-In
  • Batteries → 2 AA Batteries Required
  • Dual HDMI outputs
  • Power Consumption → 15 W in action

Key Features

  • 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray
  • 3D Playback
  • Stream, watch and play with 2 AA Batteries
  • Dolby Vision
  • 100x the brightness
  • 24p True Cinema Picture feature
  • 4K Streaming, 3D streaming, live Streaming
  • Screen Mirroring 


  • Great audio processing
  • High-quality video display
  • Logical operation
  • High Res Audio Playback
  • Affordable
  • Amazing video quality to play games and watch movies
  • Great for its value
  • Play movies via USB


  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • Feels Economical
  • “You get what you paid for”

Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player Review

The Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player is an amazing all-around Blu-Ray Player. If you’re looking for the best all around audio and video player, then this is a great option.

This Blu-Ray player gives you everything you need and more to enter the high definition world. It is a logical operation that is easy to use and offers a wonderful return for the value.

This Blu-ray player will blow you away with its inimitable visual accuracy of 4K Ultra HD. Listen to tunes from various configurations, and play almost any disc and data file.

For surround sound, pair your Sony UBP-X700 with any soundbar to enhance your audio experience. It has great audio processing and high-resolution audio playback.

The high-quality video display is great for watching movies and playing games. It is ready to be used by inserting 2 AA batteries.

Sony UBP-X700 Ultra Player Back

This Blu-ray player includes Dolby Vision which is an HDR solution that creates dramatic and cinematic involvement at home. With astonishing focal points, dynamic picture displays and deep colors all over your screen, this 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player is worth the investment.

If you do a lot of live streaming, 3D streaming, or 4K streaming, this is a great option. 

You can purchase this Blu-Ray player for under $200, which makes this an affordable option. The only bad thing about this Blu-Ray player is that you cannot connect it through Bluetooth.

For anyone looking for a high-quality, 4K Blu-Ray Player, this is a great all-around system for streaming and watching high-quality videos. 

Sony BDP-S3700 Player


  • L x W x H → 9.05 x 1.53 x 7.63 in  
  • Weight → 2.54 pounds
  • Wi-Fi Build In
  • Batteries → 2 AAA Batteries Required
  • Full HD 1080p
  • Power Consumption → 9.2 W 

Key Features

  • Screen Mirroring to cast content from smartphone
  • Super quick start mode
  • Quick and easy to assemble
  • Fast & Stable Wi-Fi when streaming in high-definition
  • Playback Capabilities  
  • Dolby Digital HD
  • Connect With DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance)
  • Stream PlayStation Now & Enjoy 300+ apps Instantly
  • Parental controls


  • Amazing video elements
  • Outstanding picture quality
  • Affordable
  • Interface is user-friendly
  • Easy to construct
  • Great value for its price
  • Streaming services & apps available


  • Entering text on apps is slow
  • Inability to insert or remove a disk when an app is active
  • No Bluetooth Connectivity
  • No 3D playback or high resolution audio playback

Sony BDPS3700 Streaming Blu-Ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi Review

The Sony BDPS3700 Streaming Blu-Ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi is an amazing Blu-ray player based on budget and performance. If you are looking for an affordable Blu-ray player that still provides excellent picture and sound quality, screen mirroring so you can cast your videos and music from your smartphone, alongside Dolby digital HD quality; then this is a great option.

Discover a more visible color spectrum with TRILUMINOS. The landscapes and pictures on your screen will look more vivid and picturesque. 

This Blu-ray player provides great features and fulfillment for the price. It streams from apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon Video + many more.

In terms of user-friendly, video elements, and picture quality; the Sony BDPS3700 Blu-Ray Player is one of the leading Blu-Ray players on the market. The quick start mode will allow you to boot up your Blu-ray player within 1 second. Jump into action quicker than ever before. 

Sony BDP-S3700 Player Front

This Blu-ray player is a great addition to any TV, with its Dolby digital HD quality and playback capabilities. The only downfall with this Blu-ray player is uploading text into the apps.

The process can lag and be very slow. Furthermore, when inserting or ejecting a disk, you cannot have an app active during this process.

Still, this Blu-ray player is a great value for its price. If you want quality video and sound, then this is a great item to look at.

This purchase comes with the respective remote control and batteries needed to operate successfully. Its quick-start mode will have you watching quality videos in less than 30 seconds.

Sharing has never been easier between devices when using the DLNA (digital living network alliance) sharing network. Now you can transfer pictures, videos, and music between supportive devices.

3. Best High End: Sony UBP-X800

Sony UBP-X800 Player


  • W x H x D → W 17 x H 2 x D ½ (in) 
  • Weight → 3.8 kg
  • Wi-Fi Built In
  • 4K Upscale (60p) 

Key Features

  • 3D Playback
  • Dolby Digital True HD
  • Screen Mirroring
  • Easy to set up
  • 3D, 4K, and live streaming
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Dolby Atmos
  • DMP (Digital Media Player)
  • DMR (Digital Media Renderer)


  • Remarkable picture quality
  • Outstanding Video Quality
  • Top audio system
  • Easy to assemble
  • Fast streaming services and apps
  • Worth its price
  • Great 4K HD quality
  • Sleek design
  • Auto power off


  • Pricey
  • Glitches at times
  • No Dolby Vision

Sony UBP-X800 Review

This Sony UBP-X800 Blu-Ray Player is one of the top blu-ray players you can buy based on performance. Although it is rather pricey, you get what you pay for.

It’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray features show everything in finer detail. This gives you the illusion that you are seeing the picture or video in real life.

The 4K high dynamic range brings out colors and textures you wouldn’t have noticed before. The sharp sound from Dolby Atmos & DTS:X is the chosen audio system by cinemas worldwide.

Experience your own cinema-like features on your TV screen. 

The playback feature allows you to stop, fast forward, and rewind, which is an added bonus that some other Blu-ray players don’t offer.

Screen mirroring allows you to mirror the video or image off your smartphone onto your TV.

Sony UBP-X800 Player Remote

With the built-in Wi-Fi, you can now stream music from your Blu-ray player and provide sound all around the house. In order to get high-quality sound, LDAC broadcasts 3x the input of proper sound to ensure the quality is high definition.

To ensure clear dialogue, you can deliver it through a speaker using Bluetooth or connect to the TV via HDMI cable. In order to maximize video quality, there are separate HDMI outputs to keep the Sony quality.

This Blu-ray player is easy to set up and offers fast streaming services and apps to ensure you are listening or watching your favorite shows in a timely manner. The rectangular shape and heavy feel gives you the premium quality that you paid for.

This Sony UBP-X800 Blu-ray player allows you to watch 4K HD movies and shows at four times the resolution of 1080p. You will be able to stream and play almost anything and have almost limitless audio satisfaction.

Despite it not having Dolby vision and being on the pricier side, there are many reasons why you should invest in this product. One of the selling features of this product is the picture and sound quality.

The contrast, texture, and color balance will have you feeling like you are watching the show live. This is one of the best Blu-ray players out there and is worth its high expense. 

Best Blu-Ray Player: Buying Guide

There’s a lot to cover when it comes to buying a Blu-Ray player. We cover everything here for you.

How to Choose a Blu-Ray Player?

When deciding on the right Blu-ray player for your TV, there are a few things you will want to take into consideration.

What do you want to get out of your Blu-ray player? You don’t just want to choose the most expensive one you can find because you think it will be the best?

You want to make sure it offers everything you want, especially high-quality picture and sound. If streaming from services like Amazon Video or Netflix is important to you, you want to make sure that your Blu-ray player is compatible.

Is it important to have built-in wi-fi or 3D capabilities? If you want the best of the best, anything with 4K Ultra high-definition will give you the sound and video quality that resembles watching it live. 

blu ray players on top of each other

Another thing to consider when choosing a Blu-ray player is the audio and video connections. All 4K and regular Blu-ray players simplify the connection process by having HDMI outputs in order to transfer the audio and video by cable to your TV or receiver.

If you want to buy a Blu-ray player that offers Dolby vision, you need to make sure your TV has Dolby vision in order for the two to be compatible.

Look out for a user-friendly player that is fast and intuitive. This will allow you to stream pictures, videos, and music in seconds without lagging.

Depending on the type of Blu-ray player you are interested in, you might need a LAN port in order to connect to your home network via ethernet cable. The whole purpose with buying a Blu-ray player is to enhance your picture, video, and sound quality by 100%.

To ensure you are choosing the right player, I would recommend going 4K as long as your TV permits that. 4K will ensure you can play and steam almost anything in high-definition to get the vivid picture quality that you warrant.

Make sure the Blu-ray player is exceptionally constructed to eliminate vibration and to maximize your audio performance. 

Whether parental controls and child lock is important or not, some Blu-ray players offer this function. If you are looking for surround sound, picture adjustability or multiple disc capacity, you will need to make sure your next Blu-ray player is equipped with such features.

This short video covers several things to know when it comes to buying a 4k Blu-ray player:

3D Streaming, 4K Upscaling, and Live Streaming

You can upscale your entertainment to 4K with 4k upscaling, which will give you the high-definition 4K picture and video quality. Upscaling your DVDs and Blu-ray discs for viewing in 3D will allow for 3D playback on a 3D TV.

Built-in wi-fi is designed for better live streaming, so you don’t have to run any wires to your home network. This is more user-friendly and provides better connections for live streaming.

3D blu ray player

What Blu-Ray Player Should You be Looking For?

This is the most important piece of the puzzle. Your Blu-ray player choice is determinant on what is compatible with your TV and what picture and video qualities you want..

Is it 1080p or 4K? Is there wi-fi built in? Is screen sharing an option? Is it formulated for optimal audio visual achievement?

There are a lot of things to consider so that you can match your Blu-ray player to your TV and make them both great for each other. You want things to match up and perform in the way they are meant too.

This list provides three great options for choosing either the best of the best, and affordable option, or best all around Blu-ray player. Figure out the functions and features that are important to have.

This will give you a better idea when you are trying to decide on the right machine. Weigh out the pros and cons and decide based on that. With the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players, you have a lot more options to consider. 

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many questions around Blu-ray players from picture quality to color to whether it connects through wi-fi. We answer several questions here.

What Are Some Of The Most Important Features Your Blu-Ray Player Should Have?

Someone who is looking for a new Blu-ray player should have somewhat of an idea of what they want. A few things I would suggest that your Blu-Ray player should have is built-in wi-fi, BD live so you can connect to different online services and features, picture adjustability so you can adjust your picture, surround sound, external memory, 3D capabilities if you enjoy watching 3D movies, and disc formats so you can watch old DVDs and play old CD’s.

How Long Do Blu-Ray Players Last?

Blu-Ray players are built to last the test of time, which also depends on how often you use it. Some have had them for a few years, some have lasted over 10 years.

It really depends on how you treat your Blu-ray player and how often you are using it. If you take good care of it, it should last you for many years.

How Do Blu-Ray Players Work With Wi-Fi?

The wireless system is built right into the Blu-ray player, which than only needs a constant wi-fi connection to operate. If it is not built-in then you will need an external adaptor to plug into the Blu-ray player.

How Do Blu-Ray Players Stream Netflix?

In order to stream your Blu-ray player to Netflix, you will have to have a 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player. Once you have the proper system, you can select Netflix on the Interface and sign into your account.

As long as you can connect your Blu-ray player to an internet connection, you should be able to stream Netflix and any other streaming service.

Do Blu-Ray Players Play CD’s Well? 

Yes, as long as you have the proper TV and Blu-ray player you should have no problems playing any CD, whether it is old or new.

This is another reason why Blu-ray players are necessary because it is hard to find a machine that can multitask as well as a Blu-ray player.

Can I Add or Remove Any Apps From My Blu-Ray Player?

Yes, you can add or remove any apps whenever you want. You will be able to do so under ‘My Apps section.

Although, Blu-ray players do not allow their users to manually add apps. If you want to add apps you have to under the app section only.

How Do You Pair Your Blu-Ray Player To Your Phone Using Bluetooth? 

In order to pair your phone to your Blu-ray player using Bluetooth, you will need to ensure Bluetooth is turned on, on your phone. You will need to have both devices turned on and within a 3-foot range.

Press Bluetooth on the remote control that came with your Blu-ray player. Select the right Bluetooth device and put it into pairing mode. Pair the two devices together and you are all set to go.

Do Blu-Ray Players Need Cleaning?

Yes, Blu-ray players need to be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure proper working condition at all times. If any dust gets into your Blu-ray player, you might notice playback issues and you don’t want that to happen during an exciting scene in your movie.

This video will demonstrate how to clean a Blu-ray player laser lens:

How do you set up a Blu-ray player?

Most, if not all, Blu-ray players come with instructions on how to set them up. You’re going to have a remote, similar to one like your TV.

Depending on your Blu-ray player, it might or might not require batteries to turn on.

By following the instructions that come with the Blu-Ray player and maybe watching some videos like this one, you’ll be able to easily set up and connect your Blu-Ray player.

In Conclusion

Blu-Ray players are the best way to hear and see high definition images, sounds, and videos today. Whether you’re looking for an affordable one, the best of the best, or just a good one all around, you’re sure to find one on this list that speaks to you in some way.

And even if you don’t, using our extensive FAQ and Buyers’ Guide will push you in the right direction to your best choice. 

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Best Bookshelf Speakers

Steve Scott

You can settle for your computer speakers or a cheap Bluetooth speaker, but that might not be enough for some people. Those who appreciate good sound might want to take the sound of their music to the next level.

Those who do should absolutely invest in a good set of bookshelf speakers. Whether you are watching a movie or playing music for a party, a set of bookshelf speakers can bring your sound to life in a big way.

Bookshelf speakers allow you to hear each note in beautiful, detailed quality. A pair of bookshelf speakers might be all you need, or they could be just be a cog in an extensive music setup.

Most speakers will have inputs that allow you to connect other components to them, like subwoofers. Either way, a pair of bookshelf speakers are a great place to start and are the foundation to any setup.

There is a huge range of bookshelf speakers out there, almost an overwhelming amount. While many high-end bookshelf speakers can be easily higher than $500, there are many options out there for much less that still work very well, even for under $100. To help you narrow down your search a little, here is our list of the best bookshelf speakers out there today.

If you are unfamiliar with what to look for when shopping for bookshelf speakers, definitely make sure to check out the buying guide at the bottom of the article to see the top factors you should be paying attention to when scanning the different speakers.

See related - Best DACs

Best Bookshelf Speakers - Fill Your Room with Stereo Sound

  • Self-Powered/Active
  • Woven Aramid-Fiber woofer
  • 1” silk dome tweeter
  • 6-½” aramid-fiber woofer
  • Frequency Response: 44Hz - 35000Hz
  • Power Input - 120 Watts
  • Dimensions:10.6 x 7.7 x 14.8 in 
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf speakers


  • Great build quality
  • Nice aesthetics
  • Low price
  • Designed by Andrew Jones


  • Not the easiest to use
  • Big size

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Review

For those looking for a great mix of performance and price, the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 speakers offer a great option to look at. These speakers use their 1” silk dome tweeter for crisp high-notes, while making use of its 6½” aramid-fiber woofer for some nice mids and a deep bass.

WIth a frequency response rate of 44Hz - 35,000Hz, you can be sure that the ELAC B6.2 speakers will deliver the sound you need.

The Debut B6.2s are the follow up to the fan favorite Debut 2.0 B6 speakers. The biggest driving force behind why these speakers sound so good is because of the man behind the design, Andrew Jones, who is a long-time designer of famous speakers at companies like KEP, Infinity, Technical Audio Devices Laboratories, and Pioneer.

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers Side

Mr. Jones was certainly able to make the most in the design of this pair of $250 speakers. The Debut 6.2’s great sound quality could easily place them in a higher price range. 

As for the aesthetic, the Debut B6.2s have a nice, classic look to them. They have a classy black ash vinyl finish and a removable speaker cover. These speakers are definitely on the bigger size, with their dimensions being 10.6 x 7.7 x 14.8 in.

One good aspect of being so big is that they are able to put out a little bit more bass than other speakers at their price range. You might be able to skip adding a sub when buying these speakers.

Famous speaker designer, Andrew Jones, has certainly done a great job designing a solid pair of bookshelf speakers at a price far lower than he normally designs for. At $300, you can get a pair of classy looking speakers with sound that hits far above its price range.

Key Features

  • Self-powered
  • 1” titanium-loaded tweeters with tractrix horns
  • 6.5” woofers with a ported enclosure
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Connections: 3.5mm, digital optical, USB digital audio, RCA output for a sub
  • Weight: 33.7 lbs
  • Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 16.8 in
Klipsch The Sixes speakers


  • Wireless, self-powered speakers
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Remote included
  • Beautiful designed


  • Expensive

Klipsch The Sixes Review

If you are looking to add a little luxury to your living space, the Klipsch “The Sixes” speakers would be a great option for you. The Sixes speakers feature high-quality materials, including real wood cabinets and copper knobs and switches.

The whole design is typical Klipsch style. As for the audio quality, these speakers put out a very dynamic and punchy sound that is certainly worth its price.

​On a related matter, check out our floorstanding speakers buying guide.

While Klipsch is usually known for their exceptional passive speakers, their Sixes speakers are fully self-powered, meaning you don’t need an amplifier to power it. They have a 1-inch titanium tweeter that is used with a Klipsch Tractrix Horn to lower distortion and improve the efficiency of the speaker.

The result is very crisp, detailed high frequency notes. The Sixes also features 6.5-inch woofers, which is able to produce that dynamic, punchy sound I mentioned earlier. It might not be enough bass for everyone’s liking, so you might be inclined to add a subwoofer. 

Klipsch The Sixes Back

One of the features that sets the Klipsch “The Sixes” speakers apart from the rest is the amount of connection options they have.

Connection options for these speakers also include RCA inputs, 3.5mm, RCA subwoofer output jack, optical digital audio input, USB, and even Bluetooth. This suite of connection options makes for a very user-friendly experience. 

While the price of the Klipsch “The Sixes” speakers is higher than many on this list, the audio quality and usability of these speakers is as well. It’s a bit of a bummer that these speakers don’t have more bass at the price that they go for, but the fact that you have the option to add a subwoofer is great.

These beautifully-designed speakers would be a great pick alone or even as part of a larger set

Key Features

  • Self-Powered
  • 80 watt power handling
  • Nominal impedance: 6 ohms
  • 4” Structured Surface Woofer
  • 1” High Efficiency Soft Dome Tweeter
  • 6 Element Soft Dome Tweeter
  • Weight: 9.13 lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 7.1 x 12.6 in
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers


  • Affordable price
  • Crisp, high-frequency notes
  • Designed by Andrew Jones


  • Lower sensitivity
  • Not enough bass by themselves

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Review

The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers offer a very unique combination: being designed by Andrew Jones and being under $100. While the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers may not have the most exciting design or have the most powerful sound, the sound quality seems like it should be way above its price.

It’s certainly one of the best bookshelf speakers you can get for under $150. 

The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers features a 1-inch high efficiency soft dome tweeter and a 4-inch structured surface woofer. The highs and the mids on these Pioneer speakers sound very clear and lively. The quality of the mids, especially, sound like they should be on speakers far more expensive than these.

Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers front

Where the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers begin to suffer is in the power of their sound because of their small size. They have a hard time filling up large rooms, so it is best to keep these speakers in small offices and bedrooms. These speakers also don’t have a big enough woofer to produce much bass. Consider adding a sub.

As for the design, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers aren’t the most exciting. They feature a glossy black vinyl with black tweeters and woofers. It won’t excite the eyes, but it also will be a very subtle addition to any room.

While these speakers wouldn’t be the best option as your stand-alone home theater speakers, the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers would be perfect in small rooms or even as an addition to your current sound system. With beautiful high and mid notes, you certainly get a lot for your money.

Key Features

  • Self-Powered
  • Remote control
  • MDF wood build finished with wood effect vinyl
  • 2 AUX plug-ins
Edifier R1280T speakers


  • Attractive design
  • Strong sound
  • 2 AUX connections is convinient


  • No wireless connectivity
  • Fixed power cable

Edifier R1280T Review

Currently listed as the #1 best selling bookshelf speaker on, the Edifier R1280T speakers offer a simple, yet high-quality listening experience for a low price. These speakers are very small in stature and are pretty light for bookshelf speakers, weighing only 10.8 pounds, making them a great option for an upgrade to your desktop speakers.

These speakers offer a very straight-forward, no-frills experience. It offers a dedicated tweeter and a 4-inch woofer with about 42 watts of power. The sound quality is good, especially for the price, but those who like extremely detailed sound or heavy bass may be disappointed.

The Edifier RT1280T speakers offer a great option for bookshelf speakers under $100. They are number one on Amazon for a reason. For more options to upgrade your desktop speakers, check out this list of the .

The power is also not enough to fill up many big rooms, but they work well in offices. The Edifier R1280T speakers have bass, treble, and volume controls on the right speaker, which you can adjust with the remote as well.

The connection options for the Edifier RT1280Ts are also pretty spartan. They feature two RCA audio jacks (3.5mm), which is nice for plugging two devices in at once. One nice feature is that Edifier provides you the cables in the box, so you don’t have to buy extra ones.

The Edifier RT1280T speakers may lack fancy connection options like Bluetooth, but they are perfect for just hooking up your laptop or phone for some great music.

The Edifier RT1280T speakers offer a great option for bookshelf speakers under $100. They are number one on Amazon for a reason. For more options to upgrade your desktop speakers, check out this list of the best gaming computer speakers.

Edifier R1280T Volume

5. Best Bluetooth: Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers

Key Features

  • Self-Powered
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Wood finish
  • 2 AUX inputs
  • Bass driver: 4-inch
  • Treble driver: 19mm silk dome
  • Dimensions: 6 x 8 x 9.75 in
  • Weight: 14.55 lbs
Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers


  • Affordable
  • Nice design
  • Good balance in sound
  • Bluetooth speakers


  • Lacks optical, phono, and USB connections

Edifier R1700BT Review

For those looking for bookshelf speakers with Bluetooth connection at a low price, check out the Edifier R1700BT. These speakers offer a classy design that would fit in many different spaces while not standing out too much.

As for sound quality, the Edifier R1700BTs offers crisp highs, a good amount of depth, and very natural sounds. With two AUX connections and Bluetooth, it makes it very easy to plug in many different devices. 

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers Back

The Edifier R1700BT speakers offer a very fun, easy-listening sound. Both speakers feature a .75-inch tweeter and a 4-inch driver. Its trebles are warm and clear, while the mid notes have good definition. It doesn’t have a lot of bass, but you can add a subwoofer if you would like more depth.

You can control the bass, treble, and volume on the right speaker or with the remote control. The Edifier R1700BTs are pretty small and lightweight, so they are easy to bring around to any room you need. The combination of their size and Bluetooth connections makes them very versatile speakers. 

Those looking for good bookshelf speakers for their bedrooms, offices, or as an addition to their home theater setup can find a good option in the R1700BTs. If you are building a new home theater, check out our list of the best projectors to get you started.

Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers Volume

6. Best Design Budget Speakers: Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers

Key Features

  • Passive Speakers
  • Balanced Woven carbon fiber woofer
  • Silk dome tweeter
  • Frequency Response: 60Hz - 20kHz
  • Power handling: 75 watts
  • Weight: 9.3lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 5.8 x 9.5 in
Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers


  • Good performance for the price 
  • Nice compact design


  • Small size leads to lower sound quality
  • Amp needed for power

Micca MB42X Review

Micca is a name that is all over the budget speaker market. For a pair of budget speakers with great design, decent performance, and a very low price, check out Micca’s MB42X speakers.

These speakers have a compact size, making them easy to fit in many different rooms. They have a matte black finish with soft, rounded edges. It gives them a very classic and well-built look, which is rare for budget speakers.

Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers Front

SInce the Micca MB42X speakers are small, they have a hard time producing enough sound to fill up a big room. In smaller rooms they work great, though, especially for speakers that are under $100.

Please keep in mind that these speakers are passive, so you will need to have an amp and an audio source to power them (both of which are not included). 

Overall, the Micca MB42Xs are a good option for budget bookshelf speakers. If you are looking for some budget speakers that look great in your space and sound pretty decent, then the Micca MB42Xs will be the way to go.

Micca MB42X Bookshelf Speakers Back

7. Best Budget Vinyl Speakers: Klipsch R-15PM

Key Features

  • Self-powered/Active
  • Connections: 1 RCA phono level input, 1 USB, 1 digital optical, 3.5mm mini jack, sub out
  • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • Remote included
  • Frequency Response: 62Hz - 24kHz
  • Weight: 10.3 lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 7 x 12.5 in
Klipsch R-15PM Speakers


  • Great sound
  • Phono input for vinyl users
  • Easy to use
  • Includes a remote


  • Could use a sub for deeper bass

Klipsch R-15PM Review

Featuring the classic Klipsch black and copper design, the Klipsch R-15PMs are self-powered speakers that feature a stunning design with fantastic sound. Like many Klipsch speakers, they feature a wide variety of connection options, including even a phono input for turntables.

That’s a huge plus for vinyl owners, who oftentimes have a hard option finding bookshelf speakers they can plug directly into. It also has Bluetooth, 3.5mm (Aux), USB, and digital optical connections. These great speakers for desktops, game consoles, home theaters, or just for your phone. 

Klipsch R-15PM Speakers With A Remote

The Klipsch R-15PM has a 1-inch aluminum diaphragm compression driver, a 90 degree by 90 degree square Tractrix Horn, and a 5.25” copper spun magnetically shielded IMG woofer.

Its Frequency Response is 62Hz - 24kHz, so it’s able to handle a wide variety of sounds with clarity. These speakers offer decent bass on their own, but those who want more have the option of adding a sub to these.

The price of the Klipsch R-15PMs is middle-of-the-road for bookshelf speakers, but the experience is top-notch. With a wealth of connection options, a beautiful design, and clear sound, the R-15PMs offer a great choice for desktop speaker upgrades or for filling up your living room with beautiful music.

Klipsch R-15PM Speakers Back

Bookshelf Speakers: Buying Guide

Bookshelf speakers come in a very wide range of price and features. Just because one speaker is more expensive than another doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Depending on your needs, you could do just fine with a pair of bookshelf speakers under $100.

If you are a hardcore audiophile, though, and are looking for speakers that give you ultimate control over your sound, then you will have to spend more. But don’t worry, audiophiles, the higher-end speakers worth it. 

Whether you are getting your first pair of bookshelf speakers or adding another piece to your massive music setup, it’s important to keep the same major factors in mind when shopping. Here is a bookshelf speaker buying guide to help guide you on your buyer journey.

ELAC B62 NEW2-way bookshelf speakers

Active vs. Passive

While some speakers can operate by themselves, other speakers require an amplifier or an audio source to operate. These speakers are called Passive Speakers.

If you don’t want to spend extra money on an amp, then make sure to look for active, or self-powered, speakers. Active speakers are often all-in-one experiences, offering a lot of connection options for you to plug your devices directly into the speaker. They are often a little more expensive than passive speakers.

Listening Style

Not every speaker sounds the same, so the speakers you pick should match your listening style. Some speakers might be better at delivering lively, clear sounds, while others may be better at delivering a dynamic, punchy experience.

If you are an audiophile, you might want a very detailed sound, while more casual listeners will be ok with a more laid-back experience. Take a look at each speakers’ review to see what their sound profile is like. It might even be a good idea to take a trip to your nearest speaker store and listen to the same song on a few different types of speakers to see which is your favorite.

Q-Acoustics 3020i Speakers

Those who like a lot of bass should keep in mind that bookshelf speakers often times have a hard time producing a lot of bass by themselves. Be prepared to buy a subwoofer to get that wall-shaking bass you are looking for.

Connection Options

What will you be using these speakers for? Many speakers offer a wide variety of options for connecting devices, but not all of them do. Here is a list of connection options to keep in mind while shopping:

  • Bluetooth: connecting phones, tablets, laptops, game consoles 
  • Optical: TV, game consoles
  • Audio Sub Out: Connecting a subwoofer
  • Phono: Vinyl
  • 3.5mm: phones, tablets, laptops
  • USB: computers
Fremont Bookshelf Speakers

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions that people have when buying bookshelf speakers:

Are bookshelf speakers good for home theater?

Bookshelf speakers would be a great upgrade over your normal TV speakers. They often have fantastic sound and can deliver mid to high frequency notes with great clarity. If you are going to buy bookshelf speakers for your home theater setup, you might want to add a sub as well to get a little extra “oomph” in the deeper sounds. That will really help you feel those crazy explosions happening in the movie.

How do I connect my bookshelf speakers to my TV?

You can connect bookshelf speakers to your TV provided that they have an optical-in cable or Bluetooth connection.

Can bookshelf speakers be used as surround speakers?

Yes, they can be used for surround sound. Bookshelf speakers can make for great rear speakers in a surround sound setup, especially if you sit close to the back wall when you watch TV.

There are many bookshelf speakers with wireless connectivity too, so that would mean less cables for you to string around your room.

  1. Christensson, P., Speakers Definition, February 27th 2019
  2. WikiHow, How to Wire Speakers, March 29th 2019
  3. Barry Fox, A Hundred Years of Stereo: Fifty of Hi-Fi, December 31st 1981

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

The Best Pull-down Projector Screens in the Market (2019)

Steve Scott

We all remember pull down projectors from our days in science class. These are large white sheets of paper usually made of Tyvek or some other material.

On the flip side if you’re feeling fancy, I’d recommend spending the extra $40-50 for an automatic pulldown projector.

Below are some of my top picks in the pull-down category. I’ve installed all of these units and they are all a decent choice, but I’d go with the VIVO as the top pick.


VIVO 100 inch projector screen

The PS-M-100 pull down projector screen from VIVO is designed to home theatre projectors. It is aimed at the general users and those who want affordable but quality projectors screens.

Continue reading to know more about the PS-M-100, it’s also a great choice for office projectors.


  • Durable Metal Casing for better installation in the following methods
  • Dual Wall Installation
  • Ceiling Installation
  • 120 degrees worth of viewing angle is in place in the VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector
  • Screen (PS-M-100)
  • The screen itself is made up of MaxWhite 1.1 Gain material
  • The edges also have the standard black margins
  • The VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) is compatible with the following types of projectors:
  • DLP
  • LED
  • LCD
  • The screen size of the PS-M-100 is 100 inches
  • The ratio here is rated at 16 by 9
  • The PS-M-100 has a built-in L bracket for easier installation and mounting in ceilings or walls
  • 1.1 gain is used to prevent hot spotting
  • The screen itself is made up of different layers to prevent light penetration
  • The PS-M-100 weighs around 19.5 pounds or around 9 kilograms
  • A 125 inch variant is also available for those who want a bigger screen

The VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) is designed to give casual and professional users with the option of utilizing a relatively simple projector screen.

Simple means that this screen is easier to operate as it has lesser moving parts juxtaposed to electric projector screens that may have more complicated parts to maintain and operate. In fact, the screen can be set up in just a minute or two.

The VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) is marketed by VIVO as a bang-for-the buck product that performs way beyond its price. Experience and other reviews has affirmed this view being espoused by VIVO.

The VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) can even perform outside so do pair it with a projector that can also perform outside the safe confines of a building.

The guys at VIVO ensured that the screen material used will also ensure good absorption of light that emanates from the projector.

The screen in the VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) is layered so that light penetration is prevented. 

The contrary would make the image fuzzy because the light is not fully reflected on the screen. Not contented, VIVO placed a 1.1 gain and a wide viewing to prevent hot spotting.

The VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) is compatible with LCD, LED or DLP projectors.

With the screen’s outdoor capability in mind, the Epson VS240 is a good match with the IVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) because former is a LCD projector and capable of performing outside.


  • The VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) can be used outside
  • The multilayer matte white material used in the screen prevents light penetration
  • This device is easy to set up and is also easy to operate
  • The VIVO 100 inch Pull-down Projector Screen (PS-M-100) is compatible with LCD, LED or DLP projectors
  • A bang-for-the buck product


  • The metal casing can be dented
VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen

The VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen is a versatile product as it can handle almost any type of content that passes by.

As such, the guys at VonHaus saw fit to imbue this product with the necessary technologies and qualities to ensure that its zeal of versatility is achieved.


The VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen is adequate for the following content and circumstance:

  • Home Theatre
  • Movie
  • Live Videos
  • Cinema
  • Sports
  • Office Presentations
  • The device is compatible with HDTV
  • The VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen can be mounted on ceilings or walls
  • The screen of this device is rated 1.1 gain for low-light reflection
  • A matte-white screen is in use with the usual blackened margin
  • The VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen has a 16 by 9 ratio
  • This device is compatible with the following projectors:
  • LED
  • LCD
  • DLP
  • The VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen weighs at 14.3 pounds or 6 kilograms
  • A 100 incher variant is also available for those who want a bigger display

The VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen, as mentioned above, is designed to handle a variety of content. As such, his makes the VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen very versatile.

With that being said, this product is geared mostly for home theatre and office presentation use.

This means that the VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen will perform better if paired with the Optoma 4k projector (which is also geared towards home theatre use) or with the Epson PowerLite Pro G6900WU (which is geared towards office use).

The VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen offers two modes for installation.

Both modes are very easy to set-up, enabling novice users to utilize the screen immediately. This projector screen can be mounted either on the ceiling or on a wall.

Both offers unique advantages. For example, the wall might be too far for the projector hence the mounting via the ceiling.

Mounting this product would, however, grant more stability. It really depends on the situation.

The back of the VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen is colored in black. This ingenious function prevents the light that emanates from the projector. This in turn will prevent the reflection of fuzzy images.

About the only downside of this product is the texture. This would not be a problem in a good day but sometimes the texture of the screen interferes with the display by forming lines if visible lights.

The effect would be a slightly jarring and grainy picture.


  • The product can handle a variety of content, enhancing its versatility
  • The VonHaus 80 Inch Pull Down Projector Screen is easy to mount and setup
  • The material in the screen prevents light penetration


  • The texture of the screen may interfere with the display resulting into grainy images at times
Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen

The Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) is designed to be ultra-portable. As such, it is relatively easy to carry (as the term portable would imply) and very to set up everywhere.

Quick decisions to use projector screens is not a problem for the Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) because it is designed to handle the aforementioned situation.


  • Quality matte (white) material is used for the screen of this product
  • Said screen also has anti-stain and mildew properties
  • Flame -retardant fabric is utilized for the screen
  • The fabric is made up of engineered PVC
  • A quick-lock mechanism, coupled with a manual pull-up operation ensures that the Pyle 50
  • Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) is easy to extend and retract
  • The Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) is lightweight to enhance portability
  • A Protective Travel Case is provided to ensure the safety of the product while not in use
  • Said case is made up of lightweight aluminum
  • The Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) is designed to withstand the rigors of traveling
  • This product is designed to be used in homes, classrooms or offices
  • As the name would suggest, this product has a 50 inch display for projection
  • The Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) weighs around 4.95 pounds or 2 kilograms

The Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) is patently unique from almost all of the usual projector screens that are out in the market. That is because the screen size of this product is at 50 inches.

That may appear as a disadvantage but not for the guys at Pyle and that is because this product is designed for portability.

All the important features in the Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) enhances its main purpose and that is to be an all-purpose portable projector screen for those always on the move.

The casing that protect the product is not in use is made up of lightweight aluminum. The product itself, weighing at 2 kilograms, is also lightweight.

Finally, the screen size is such because a bigger projector screen area would make the whole package heavier than the desired weight.

That’s not to say that all the whistles and bangs for this product only pertains to its lightweight functions.

The Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53)’s materials are tough in order to fulfill the second main feature of this product; its portability. More portable projectors here.

To that end, the screen of this product is mighty tough. It is mildew resistant, meaning that it can withstand the attacks of the fungi if the product is carried outside.

The screen is also stain resistant, meaning that the dirt and stains that this product may encounter is of no moment.

Lastly, the screen is also has fire-retardant qualities. That last point needs no further explanation with regards with the toughness that this product has.

Another point that needs emphasis is that the Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) is also quite versatile. It is designed to be mounted in any flat surface that one can find. It an also be used in classrooms, offices and classrooms.

WIth this in mind, the Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) would be a perfect fit for the Epson PowerLite Pro G6900WU Business Projector because the latter is also versatile not unlike the former.


  • The Pyle 50 Inch Mobile Projector Screen (PRJTP53) is lightweight and portable
  • The product is also tough and can withstand the rigours of travelling
  • The screen can be used in classrooms, offices or classrooms; in short, it is versatile


  • The small screen size may discourage some buyers

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Epson Home Cinema 1040 Projector Review

Steve Scott

Being able to project colorful, sharp, and clear images in ambient light has always been a want of many projector users. With the Home Cinema 1040, Epson allows just that. 

The 1040 is a small, light, and portable 3LCD projector with a long lamp life and great features. If you’re a gamer or someone just in the market for a new projector, the 1040 is a great option for you.

We like the Epson 1040 for many reasons. It is very bright and colorful with a great picture quality, projecting beautiful Full HD images which are amazing for both games and movies.

This is made even better with its four color modes which perfect its images depending on how much light you’re projecting in.

Epson 1040


With 3,000 lumens, this projector was made for brightly-lit rooms. If you need a projector and don’t have a good dark room, this projector is a good option for you. Its images are movie-like and immersive, and its colors are beautiful and encaptivating.

One of the most loved aspects of the 1040 is that it gives you the ability to stream to the projector and/or use many versatile connections with its USB and HDMI ports.

This projector has a lot of possibilities, and that’s great for anyone looking for more than just a basic projector.

Though this projector isn’t perfect, it is really great for its overall value and is something to definitely consider.

Technical Specs

  • L x W x H → 9.6” x 11.7” x 3.3”
  • Weight → 5.7 lbs
  • Display Technology → 3LCD
  • Connectivity Technology → 2 HDMI, 1 USB type A, 1 USB type B, 1 RCA composite, 1 RCA stereo, 1 VGA
  • Image Brightness → 3,000 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → up to 15,000:1
  • Resolution → Full HD 1080p (1920x1200)
  • Lamp Life → 5,000 hours / 10,000 hours (Eco)
  • Throw Ratio → 1.38 (Zoom: Wide) - 1.68 (Zoom: Tele)
epson 1040


The Epson Home Cinema 1040 comes packed with features that projector enthusiasts will love. Starting with its build, the 1040 has a 2W speaker and versatile connections - one of its most loved being its 2 HDMI ports.

You can connect your Mac or PC to it, or even stream HD videos to it through MHL-enabled device support including ChromeCast, Amazon Fire, the Roku Streaming Stick, and more. The best part of this is that it’s very easy to set up and it comes with a 2-year warranty just in case anything happens.

Its images are where it really shines. The 1040 is a 3LCD projector, so there’s no need to fear that you’ll experience the rainbow effect - a DLP only trait.

The 1040 has a natural 16:10 Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array (WUXGA) aspect ratio - which is a 1920x1200 resolution, so you’ll experience great widescreen, movie-like images projected up to 300 inches in a great overall resolution.

WUXGA has more pixels than Full HD (1920x1080), so the 1040 projects beautiful, bright Full HD images whether you’re watching videos or gaming. The 1040 has a nice dynamic 15,000:1 contrast ratio as well which helps to depict the details in darker areas.

The most loved parts of its picture quality features are that it’s bright and colorful. With 3,000 white brightness and 3,000 color brightness lumens, the projected images are full of color and can be brought outside and in ambient light.

If you’re looking for something to use even in the day time or something with full color up to 1.07 billion colors, you’re going to want to consider this projector.

Both movies and games look great on this, especially with its optimized color modes (Dynamic, Bright, Cinema, and Game) which allow you to choose which mode to give you the best immersive experience.

Pros and Cons

So this is why you’ve come here, to weigh the pros versus the cons. No need to worry, the 1040 has more pros than cons.

Starting with its build, the 1040 is light, small, and portable projector. You can take it with you anywhere you go, whether that be outside, to the office, or inside your house. 

In fact, this projector is great business presentation projector with its high brightness and great color quality. Since it’s not heavy, there’s no need to worry about mounting it and fear that it will fall and break or anything like that.

You don’t even have to worry about mounting in only one place. Regardless of what you do, the 1040 is very easy to set up.

With two HDMI ports, MHL-enabled support, and streaming capabilities, you have a lot of possible connection options at your hands.

You can connect your console, Mac, PC, Blu-Ray devices, some phones, Chromecast, and more.

One of the problems with its build is that there is no lens shift, so while you can bring it wherever it’s on you to make sure that you find the right spot to make your picture perfect. Without any lens shift, you’re missing out on an essential property that many projector lovers look for. 


The 1040 also has a weak speaker. 2W isn’t a lot in the first place, and no one really ever expects anything from a projector speaker, so this is kind of a null point.

As we’d suggest with any projector speaker, buy a surround sound system or your own speaker. It’s a better option in almost all cases for more immersive experiences.

The last problem with its build is its loud fan. This is a big problem if you’re just trying to sit back and listen, but that’s hard with a fan in your ears. This can be solved by putting the 1040 onto Eco Mode, but it drops to 2,200 lumens when you do this.

This is the same amount of lumens as the Epson 2040 and 2045, which are also very bright, so it’s not bad, but you still lose a lot of brightness.

Even if you don’t have it on Eco Mode, the 1040 lasts quite a long time - 5,000 hours; double that on Eco Mode.

You won’t need a new bulb for a long while even if you watch a movie every day on this. This is one of the reasons why the 1040 is great for its value.

A 3LCD projector without any rainbow effect, the 1040 projects amazing images with its 3,000 lumens of white and color brightness. This projector projects its beautiful images with a lot of colors.

We will go more into its overall picture quality later, but, in short, it’s great. The 1040 is bright in ambient light and best at night in a dark room


Since it projects in native WUXGA with 16:10 and 1920x1200, you’ll get great, movie-like Full HD images whether you’re gaming or watching movies. This projector is really good for gaming, actually, with a Gaming mode, amazing color, and brightness.

But, even great color and high brightness isn’t everything. Few don’t find it bright enough for ambient light, but this a minority among everyone else.

A common complaint is that the images sometimes look a bit washed out - especially in their darker areas and in ambient light.

This is most likely to be blamed by the 1040’s iffy black levels making it harder to see what lies in these darker areas. We’ll go more into this later. 

One of the biggest cons happens to be that it doesn’t have 3D. 3D is one of the most sought after projector qualities nowadays, and this projector may not seem worth it without it.

Other options are the Epson Home Cinema 2040 or Epson Home Cinema 2045, but these have less brightness and worse black levels. Regardless of this, the 1040 is great for its value.

Gaming Capability 

The Home Cinema 1040 may not be the best gaming projector, but it is still great for gaming and is a projector some gamers love to use. 

The 1040 has 53ms of lag. This is very fast, but most gamers look for lag around 35ms. If you’re someone who wants a good lag time but doesn’t care for it to be really low, you’ll really enjoy this.

Gaming looks amazing on this projector. With its optimized color game mode, you’ll be able to get great gaming experiences in brightly-lit rooms.

With its high brightness and large number of colors, your games will pop up on the screen. And since games are mostly made in 1080p, your games will be projected in great Full HD on the widescreen.

You’ll really enjoy gaming on this projector. With its fast input lag and beautiful colors, you can play games in ambient light or in the dark and enjoy them both times.

Here’s a video on one gamer using the 1040 to show you how it would look on your screen: 

Picture Quality

Where the 1040 truly shines is its picture quality, especially its brightness. If you’re looking for a projector that is bright enough for ambient light, then you will like the 1040.

With its 3,000 white brightness lumens, you have a large amount of light which can comfortably project in many environments.

The 1040’s four different modes make its brightness more beneficial depending on what you’re using the 1040 for.

Dynamic mode is its brightest mode and is best for projecting in brightly lit rooms. Cinema mode is best for movies projected in dark rooms, while Bright Cinema is best for movies projected in a brightly-lit room.

Lastly, its Gaming mode is best for games projected in brightly-lit rooms.

With three of its four modes being centered on projecting in ambient light, this projector clearly understands its purpose and is great for those who don’t have dark rooms to project in.

With such high and effective brightness, and great white levels from its 15,000:1 contrast ratio, the 1040’s images are sharp and crisp and very appealing.

As mentioned, pictures sometimes looked washed out when in ambient light, and in the darker areas of images.

Though it’s very bright, it has horrible black levels. Black levels are controlled by brightness. The better your black levels, the better you can see fine details in darker areas.

The 1040’s weaker black levels make it harder to depict images, especially in ambient light. The 1040 works best in darker rooms, as with most projectors. You will find its best images if you use it in a room with no ambient light.

The 1040 also has 3,000 color brightness lumens and up to 1.07 billion colors of Full Color. Gaming, movies, and everything else will look bright and beautiful on this projector.

Colors pop out in the 1040’s projections and are really immersive. With all of this brightness, it’s no wonder why the 1040 is even amazing to project outside with.

The 1040 projects 30” to 300” images in Native WUXGA, which is a 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio and 1920x1200 resolution. In 16:10 WUXGA, you will see movie-like images that span your screen THX-style.

You can project 16:9, the most common aspect ratio, though it will have black bars on top and bottom. Also, you’ll most likely be using a 16:9 screen.

Neither of these is a big deal at all, especially if you have a 16:9 screen, you can just put the black bars above and below it. The images look great anyway. If you wanted, you can resize the aspect ratio to 4:3 - the older TV and computer monitor aspect ratio.

In 1920x1200, you receive more pixels than in Full HD, but the 1040 has Full HD 1080p support. Full HD images from both gaming and movies will look great on your screen - now with even more pixels and better sharpness and clarity.

Overall, the 1040 has amazing picture quality that is good in ambient light and amazing in dark rooms.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a Full HD projector that’s good for gaming and bright enough for ambient light, then this is it. The Epson 1040 has beautiful colors, great color modes, and is great for its overall value.

If you have any doubts, check out this video to see why the 1040 is a great choice for you:

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Epson Home Cinema 2040 Review

Steve Scott

Epson has made another great projector with the Epson Home Cinema 2040. If you’re looking for something small, portable, bright, and great whether you’re playing video games or just lounging back and watching movies, you’ll enjoy this projector.

There are many things we like about the Epson 2040 other than its small size. This is a 3LCD projector that is bright and very colorful, so there’s no need to worry about any DLP problems like the rainbow effect.

The overall picture quality is great, projecting beautiful THX-like movie images in 2D and 3D in Full HD. 

We also like that the Epson 2040 has a lot of connection options with its two HDMI ports and streaming possibilities. This comes really in handy if you’re a gamer and you plan to connect your console to the projector. Like us, gamers will love this projector with its low lag and great frame interpolation. 

epson 2040

If you’re looking for a home theater projector that you can game on, take outside with you, or just mount and enjoy, then you’ll appreciate the Epson 2040 for all of the capabilities and features that it has.


Technical Specs

  • L x W x H → 14.6 x 14.3 x 7.2 in
  • Weight → 6.4lbs
  • Display Technology → 3LCD
  • Connectivity Technology → 2 HDMI, MHL, VGA, USB, RCA
  • Image Brightness → 2,200 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → 35,000:1
  • Resolution → 1080p (Full HD)
  • Lamp Life → 4,000 hours / 7,500 (ECO mode)
  • Throw Ratio → 1.22 (Zoom: Wide) - 1.47 (Zoom: Tele)
home cinema 2040


The Epson 2040 comes with a large number of features that make it a strong projector not to just glance over.

Epson offers a lot to any home theater enthusiast, starting with a 2-year warranty to help you with any possible problems that may occur during that time. 

The 2040 has many great build features such as its portability. Being small and light, you can bring the 2040 with you anywhere and won’t have to worry about just mounting it in one place.

With portability like this, you can bring the Epson 2040 to a meeting, outside, or anywhere else you could possibly think. See related - best portable projectors

The 2040 also has a built-in 5W speaker and is pretty easy to set up and operate. It’s biggest features are in its highly advertised 2 HDMI ports and versatile connectivity.

You can connect your PC, Mac, cable/satellite box, gaming console, streaming device, Blu-Ray Disc player, and much more to the 2040.

You can even stream HD videos to the 2040 through MHL-enabled devices, including ChromeCast and the Roku Streaming Stick.

back of epson 2040

The 2040 has a long lamp life of 4,000 hours, or 7,500 on ECO mode if you give up some brightness quality. This means that you can use the Epson 2040 every day to watch a movie and it will last for multiple years - which is great!

The 2040’s picture quality also comes equipped with strong features. Projecting in Full HD, you can watch both 2D and 3D videos on the 2040. This is a big deal; 3D is one of the most sought after features today, and it’s great that this home theater projector has it.

The 2040 is bright and colorful with great color saturation and brightness that some find good enough to use in ambient light. Along with its high contrast, the 2040 has a sharp edge to its pictures that make them great overall. 

Its last features are its smooth, crisp images from its image enhancement and frame interpolation. Image enhancement does exactly what it says, enhancing images to be brighter, sharper, a higher resolution, and better overall.

Frame interpolation adds in frames where they’re missing to make your movies and games flow smoothly and fluidly. This is a great feature, especially for playing video games and making sure your scenes aren’t choppy.

Pros and Cons

The Epson 2040 has a lot of strengths, but also a couple of weaknesses. The first thing that must be mentioned is that the 2040 is discontinued. You can still buy it from sellers online, but Epson no longer sells it and it will be hard to find a new one.

That may be a dealbreaker for you, but, even if it isn’t, the 2040 is still a great projector and we’re about to tell you why. If you're looking for an alternative I strongly recommend the Epson Pro Cinema

When it comes to the 2040’s build, as mentioned before, the 2040 is portable and can be brought anywhere. If you’re looking for a projector that you don’t have to worry about mounting or isn’t heavy and hard to bring places, then the 2040 will be perfect for you.

Whether you mount it or not, the Epson 2040 is very easy to set up and use, so there’s not much to worry about when carrying it from place to place.

One big thing people dislike is the 2040’s very loud fan which makes it very hard to concentrate on movies or games with a loud fan buzzing in your ear.

Some avid projector users also may be worried about its lamp life, but with cheap less than $50 replacement bulbs, there’s not that much to fear. 

Putting it on Eco Mode both makes its fan almost silent and lengthens its life by almost double, but this costs brightness. It’s up to you whether not having high brightness is a good exchange for a longer life and quieter fan.

The 2040 is well suited as a home theater projector but it's not a great choice for outdoor movie watching. 

Another problem with the Epson 2040’s build is its remote which has no backlight, making it very hard to see in the dark. The 2040 also has no lens shift, something that every projector user looks for, so you can’t shift the picture to where you want.

But the 2040 does have amazing picture quality. We’ll go more into this later, but a short look into it will show you that the 2040 has amazing color, contrast, and brightness.

With beautiful 2D and 3D images in Full HD, the 2040 projects astounding pictures that many love. We also think the 2040 is a great choice if you're looking to save some space in your living room with a projector tv

The 2040’s 3D is amazing and well-loved. There is a con with this, though, the 3D glasses don’t come with it. They don’t cost much, but many wish that they would’ve been included.

There are problems with these images though, such as the 2040’s bad black levels and its problems adjusting from bright scenes to dark scenes. Most of this is fixed by being in a very dark room.

This brings us to our next biggest problem: ambient light. There are just as many projector lovers saying the 2040 is bright enough and great in ambient light as there are saying the opposite.

Generally, it is bright enough in normal mode, but this depends on the amount of ambient light and the viewer himself. 

The lasts of its pros are that it is amazing for gaming, as we will discuss later, and has a great overall value. This projector is worth it. If it being discontinued discourages you and you wanted a new or updated version, there is the Epson 2045.

The only difference between them is that the Epson 2045 has MiraCast and Intel WiDi which allows mirrored streaming from an Android phone, tablet, or Windows laptop with an Intel processor. Check out our Epson 2045 Review for more.

See related - best 4K projector buying guide. 

One of the Best Gaming Projectors

The Epson 2040 is great for gaming whether you’re inside or out. Its great brightness and an immense amount of colors help to project video games beautifully onto your screen.

In Full HD, which almost all games are created for nowadays, you’ll be sure to have immersive and alluring experiences with gaming.

Its almost unnoticeable 25ms lag is great for gaming and makes this one of the best gaming projectors out there.

The only other thing that adds to this is the 2040’s frame interpolation making sure to add frames when they’re missing to make your gaming experiences smooth and clean. If you’re a gamer, you will thoroughly enjoy this product.

Here’s a video of someone gaming on the 2040 to show you how great it is:

Picture Quality

The Epson 2040 has an amazing picture quality, though it isn’t perfect. The 2040 casts up to 332” of beautiful images that are sharp, bright, and vivid in Full HD for both 2D and 3D images.

With its bright 2,200 lumens, the 2040 projects amazingly in dark rooms and outside at night. It’s even good enough to project in ambient light for some.  

See related - best 3D projectors

One of the things that many people enjoy about the Epson 2040 is that it is 3LCD. This means that there won’t be any rainbow effects when using the 2040 as there would be if it was a DLP projector.

There are those concerned that this means the 2040 won’t be colorful enough, but this is untrue.

The Epson 2040 has 2,200 color lumens, which means it brings up to three times brighter colors than the leading competitive projectors out there. The Epson 2040 projects in full color up to 1.07 billion colors.

This is obviously a large amount, making your pictures very colorful and beautiful. It even has great color saturation which you’re sure to fall for.

With its image enhancement and frame interpolation, its images are enhanced to be the best that they can be and you get clear and fluid pictures in gaming, movies, and TV.  

image showing picture quality compared

The Epson 2040 has a native aspect ratio of 16:9, the most common widescreen ratio out there. You can resize this to 16:10, a wider widescreen, or 4:3, the ratio older TVs and computers use.

Switching to 16:10 makes the picture more movie-like and amazing. Many love watching movies in widescreen, becoming more immersed in the 2040’s THX-like images.

The 2040 falters with its weak black levels - which is a brightness problem. Black levels determine the darkness that a projector can reflect. Having weak black levels means that you are unable to make out details in the image’s darker areas.

Many people assume bad contrast is the cause of this, but contrast adjusts white level and brightness black. The 2040’s contrast is actually 35,000:1, which is large and great. Its white levels are amazing, but its black levels are weak.

This problem seems to be seen most when the image dims based on the white and blackness on the screen as it adjusts from bright to dark scenes. This is the most common problem with its picture quality but isn’t that bad when in a dark room.

Overall, its picture quality is amazing.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a home theater projector then the Epson Home Cinema 2040 is a great choice. Whether you plan to project movies, games, or just watch TV, the Epson 2040 will make your experiences more immersive and encaptivating with its many great features.

Portable and projecting in 2D and 3D images in Full HD with full color and great brightness, the 2040 brings an excellent picture quality wherever you go inside or out.

Though it isn’t perfect with weak black levels, a loud fan, and that it’s discontinued, this projector is still great for its value. If you want a new/newer projector, then the Epson 2045 is a great choice, as mentioned before. It has the same problems as the 2040, except it isn’t discontinued, is just as great, and has MiraCast and Intel WiDi.

If you're looking for other Epson units check out our reviews on:

Thanks guys!

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Best Epson Pro Cinema Projectors of 2019

Steve Scott

It’s not hard to fall for a certain projector brand whether that be Optoma, Sony, or Epson. If you’re here, you’ve most likely fallen for Epson.

Epson has two lines of home theater projectors: the Home Cinema and Pro Cinema. The Pro Cinema line gives you professionally installed high-end projectors which work to deliver the best home theater experience possible to you.

The Home Cinema, on the other hand, is for more than just home theater, but also gaming, sports, and regular TV. 

Here, we go over the best Pro Cinema projector out there followed by two alternative Home Cinema projectors, if you’re looking for a more versatile machine with similar features to the best choice.

We’ve broken them down with the best choice for Pro Cinema, and the best choice and runner-up for the alternative choices.

Best Pro Cinema Projector

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB Front


  • L x W x H →  15.5” x 18.34” x 6.2” 
  • Weight →  18.4 lb
  • Display Technology → 3LCD
  • Connectivity Technology → 2 HDMI, RS-232c, 1 RCA (composite), 3 RCA (component), 1 VGA D-sub 15 pin 
  • Image Brightness →  2,400 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → Up to 600,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Resolution → 1080p 
  • Lamp Life → 4,000/5,000 (Normal/Eco)

Key Features

  • Bright and Colorful
  • 3D and 2D Full HD
  • Up to 600,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Lens Shift
  • 3LCD
  • Color Modes 
  • Picture uniformity 
  • THX mode and ISF calibration
  • Anamorphic Widescreen Mode
  • Stress-free setup


  • Clear and Sharp images
  • Beautiful 3D
  • Exquisite true color
  • Worth its value
  • Bright
  • Anamorphic lens


  • No 4K
  • Pricey
  • Fan can be a little loud for some
  • Best in the dark
  • High lag 

PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB Review

The Powerlite Pro Cinema 6030UB is the best of the Pro Cinemas out there. This is a great option for a home theater projector, but its main complaint is that it doesn’t have 4K.

This doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out, though. 

Like most projectors made for home theater, it works best in the dark. With 2,400 lumens and up to a 600,000:1 contrast ratio, giving exquisite detail, the 3D and 2D Full HD images that the 6030UB projects are immersive and theater-like. 

It will be hard not to like them. Sharing the bright, colorful, and 3LCD features of all Epson projectors, its pictures are packed with balanced color and brightness lumens that make clear and sharp pictures with a true, realistic color experience. 

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB Back

The 6030UB has many color modes including a Black-and-White Cinema Mode for those who love old time movies, projecting them all up to 300” on your screen.

It even has a THX mode and ISF calibration to balance color, contrast, and brightness with the environment around you while delivering a great movie-like experience. This looks great with its already beautiful 3D.

The 6030UB uses a state-of-the-art Fujinon® lens to create picture uniformity so that you can see images how filmmakers intended you to.

It has a 2.1x zoom, a horizontal and vertical lens shift, and uses the widest horizontal lens available so that you can seemingly place the projector anywhere you want.

It even uses an auto iris to automatically adjust the projector to your video source. 

One of the things most loved is that it supports an anamorphic widescreen mode.

With this, you can buy an anamorphic lens to create a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, called CinemaScope, which eliminates black bars, and allows you to see more cinematic-like images.

Here’s a video giving a deeper and more visualized look into CinemaScope:

The 6030UB also boasts a stress-free setup with its built-in tools for you to perfectly align your image within seconds.

There are a couple of problems with the 6030UB, though. Its fan can be loud to some, though it’s usually pretty low or moderate and shouldn’t be bothersome.

A way to rid of its noise if it does bother you is to turn on Eco mode. Don’t worry, it’s still bright then!

Also, if you’re a gamer, this projector most likely isn’t for you. Its regular lag is 91ms and that jumps to 183ms when its frame interpolation is turned on.

This is to be expected since this build is primarily for home theater.

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB

The 6030UB’s worth its price with its great images, features, and a lot of additions.

It comes with a 3-year warranty, two 3D glasses, a cover for your back cables, an extra bulb, a ceiling mount, ISF calibration control, and the anamorphic stretch option.

If any of those interest you, you need to check this projector out.

Best Alternative Choices

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB Front


  • L x W x H →  17.7” x 20.5” x 7.6”
  • Weight →  24.3 lb
  • Display Technology → 3LCD
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI, USB, Mini USB, LAN, Computer/D-sub 15 pin, RS-232c 
  • Image Brightness →  2500 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio →  Up to 1,000,000:1
  • Resolution → 1080p with 4K enhancement
  • Lamp Life → 3,500/4,000/5,000 (High, Medium, Eco)

Key Features

  • Bright and Colorful
  • Lens Shift
  • Epson PRO-UHD with 4K Enhancement technology 
  • Full HD 
  • 100% Balanced Color Brightness
  • L*a*b Ultra Wide Color Gamut
  • HDR and UltraBlack Contrast 
  • Image Enhancement and Frame Interpolation
  • 3D 
  • 3-Axis Precision Motor


  • Amazing picture quality
  • Great for gaming with low input lag
  • Bright
  • Movie-like experience
  • Clear and sharp images
  • Beautiful realistic color
  • Amazing contrast and black levels
  • Outstanding 3D, 1080p, and 4K


  • Common power supply issue
  • Best in darkest of rooms
  • HDR problems
  • 4K isn’t real

Home Cinema 5040UB Review

Looking at all of its great features, it isn’t hard to see why the Home Cinema 5040UB is the best choice of the Epson Home Cinema line.

While its problems are very detrimental, it is still the best.

With 4K enhancement properties, 3D, and amazing picture quality, if you’re looking for a strong projector with beautiful images, this is it. 

The 5040UB is packed with features perfect for your home theater. When it comes to picture quality and resolution, it is natively 1080p (Full HD), but uses 4K enhancement technology that accepts 4KUHD images and upscales non-4K images to 4K quality

This is done through Epson PRO-UHD which shifts 1080p pixels in an alignment that creates more pixels and the look as if your images were actually 4K.

Though this is not real 4K, you can’t tell the difference unless you were very close to the screen. 

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB Projecting On A Screen

Many projectors that sport 4K also claim to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) to improve contrast, brightness, and colors with your pictures.

The 5040UB uses HDR and its UltraBlack Contrast to deliver an immersive array of vivid colors and contrast up to 1,000,000:1 in both bright and dark scenes. 

While its UltraBlack Contrast works greatly, and its black levels make images stand out even in dark areas on the screen, it’s common to experience problems with its HDR working and just looking ugly. That’s not to say it won’t work for you.

The 5040UB uses the  L*a*b Ultra Wide Color Gamut, the digital cinema standard for color, along with a 50% wider color gamut than others.

Combined with its 100% balanced color brightness of 2500 lumens of both white and color brightness to deliver rich, bright, and vivid colors in any environment, it is very bright and colorful.

The only problem is that its brightness is still not enough to stand out in ambient rooms. This works best in the darkest of rooms; you won’t want to use it around ambient light. 

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB Compatibility and Connectivity

To wrap up its picture quality, the 5040UB delivers movie-like experiences with its high contrast, nice brightness, and beautiful color palette.

Other than its very nice Full HD, it also has outstanding 3D quality with its Bright 3D Drive for great and bright 3D images that many people love.

It even uses image enhancement and frame interpolation to enhance your image quality and add in frames where they’re missing to make actions seem fluid and continuous.

If you’re a gamer, you’ll love this even more. Not only is the picture quality and resolution there, but the input lag is only ~29ms even with 4K.

This is the best choice of the three on this list for gaming, especially with its superior picture quality.

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB Projecting God Of War

The 5040UB’s worst problem stems from its build, but before getting into the ugly, we must first discuss the good. The 5040UB comes equipped with a horizontal and vertical lens shift to make adjusting your picture easier for you.

With its 3-Axis precision motor, it uses state-of-the-art glass elements optimized for 4K to create the best 4K images, as well as have a 2.1x zoom, powered focus, and horizontal lens shift.

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB Size

Now for its problems. Other than being large, the huge problem with the 5040UB is that people have found it very common to experience a power supply issue.

This issue makes the 5040UB die very early on users and just never turn back on. For some people this issue may appear after a year or two of use, some just a month, and some even only ten minutes after turning on for the first time.

It doesn’t help that even after getting new units, many still experience the same exact problem.

One way to get around this and hope for the best is to not buy from third parties. Projectors from them lack warranties and trust.

Buy from Amazon or Epson so that you can contact them directly if something happens.

This issue is not destined to happen to you and may not at all, but it is something to be wary of since there’s no fix for it as of yet.

Regardless of that, this is a great option for home theater and gaming with its strong 4K and amazing picture quality. 

Epson Home Cinema 4010


  • L x W x H →  17.7” x 20.5” x 6.7” 
  • Weight →  24.7 lb
  • Display Technology → 3LCD
  • Connectivity Technology → HDMI, USB, Mini USB, LAN, Computer/D-sub 15 pin, RS-232c 
  • Image Brightness →  2,400 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio → Up to 200,000:1
  • Resolution → 4K enhancement; 4096 x 2160 Max Res
  • Lamp Life → 3,500/4,000/5,000 (High, Medium, Eco)

Key Features

  • EPSON 4K Pro-UHD
  • 100% Balanced Color and White Brightness
  • HDR and Rich Black Contrast
  • 3-Axis Precision Motor
  • 3LCD
  • L*a*b Ultra Wide Color Gamut


  • Astounding picture quality and colors
  • Great value for its price
  • Very bright
  • Great build
  • Relatively quiet
  • Amazing 4K and HDR quality


  • The 5040UB has all of its features and more
  • Large
  • Have to buy separate 3D glasses
  • Not real 4K 

Home Cinema 4010 Review

One of our best 4K projector choices of 2019, the Home Cinema 4010 is our runner-up simply because, while it is a great projector, the 5040UB has everything it has and more.

If you’re looking for a cheaper 4K/3D projector for your home theater that comes at a great value without any of the power supply problems of the 5040UB, this is a great choice. 

Like the 5040UB, this projector’s picture quality is beautiful and powerful with strong, vibrant colors and high brightness. While still only great in dark rooms, this projector has better 4K quality than the 5040UB.

The 4010 uses EPSON 4K PRO-UHD like the 5040UB, but its natural resolution uses 4K enhancement (1920 x 1080 x 2), not Full HD, and it has a max resolution of 4096 x 2160 - which is true 4K.

This makes its image resolution better than the 5040UB’s, though it would be hard to tell unless you were extremely close to the screen.

Yet, this is still not real 4K. If you’re looking for more 4K projectors with the 4010’s caliber and better, check out our best 4K projectors list. 

Epson Home Cinema 4010 White Front

With its 100% balanced color and white brightness, the 4010 has 2,400 lumens of both white and color brightness. Yes, this is less than the 5040UB’s 2,500, but it’s too small to tell the difference.

The 4010’s very bright and dynamic, and its L*a*b Ultra Wide Color Gamut and 3LCD-technology only add to its color accuracy, amount of colors, color brightness, and color gamut.

The 4010 also produces beautiful and immersive 3D images, though you’ll have to separately buy the 3D glasses. 

The 4010 has HDR and Rich Black Contrast. Rich Black Contrast has a 200,000:1 contrast ratio, quite a difference from the 5040UB’s 1,000,000:1, yet it’s still great and you’ll most likely love it.

This build’s HDR is also pretty much better than the 5040UB’s and it definitely has the better image quality minus the contrast. Here’s a quick look at its images:

Its build is recognized as being pretty great. Though it’s large, it is sturdy, nicely built, and doesn’t have the problems that the 5040UB has. It also uses a 3-Axis precision motor for its 4K, and its fan is relatively quiet. 

Overall, this option comes at a great value for its price with better 4K and HDR than the 5040UB.

Though its contrast and brightness are not as high, this is a good choice if you’re not looking to spend as much, don’t want to risk any power supply problems, or are willing to settle for something with a little less. 

In Conclusion

Whichever of these you choose, you’ll most likely be happy with your choice. If you’re looking for 4K, go for one of the Home Cinemas - the 4010 if you want superior 4K but are fine with less contrast and features.

If you want a gaming projector, go for the 5040UB. An anamorphic lens option or specific home theater projector - the 6030UB.

Any of these are great options, delivering their promise of being amazing home theater projectors all in Epson’s product lines. 

The only unfortunate property about these three is that they all are large projectors. If you’re looking for smaller ones, check out the colorful and immersive Epson Home Cinema 1040 or 2040.

We review the Epson 1040 here and the Epson 2040 here. Otherwise, any of these choices are great.

  1. Epson, Home Cinema 4010 4K PRO-UHD Projector with Advanced 3-Chip Design and HDR, Epson, last updated 2019
  2. Epson, Home Cinema 5040UB 3LCD Projector with 4K Enhancement and HDR, Epson, last updated 2019
  3. Epson, PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB 2D/3D 1080p 3LCD Projector, Epson, last updated 2019

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Best Outdoor Carpets for Decks

Last year around May, my wife’s husband decided that he wanted to setup a mini-putt golf playing around on his deck. The guy has a massive deck and he has a lot of time and money on his hands.

Anyways, long story short. I helped him build the whole thing and it turns out there is a lot of variation in carpets for decks.

After trying three or four deck carpets we finally found two that work really well. We now regular install these. These are the best value carpet decks out there.


For more info on picking the best outdoor setup, please check our guides:

Brown & Beige Patio Mat from Reversible Mats

Best Brown & Beige Patio Mat from Reversible Mats

The Brown & Beige Patio Mat from Reversible Mats is a durable outdoor mat with an intricate design. It can be used for various indoor and outdoor spaces like your RV patio, backyard garden, living room, balcony, or pet areas.

Its large, durable design and beautiful decorations make it ideal for sprucing up the backyard patio deck and dining area.


  • 100% polypropylene materials creates long-lasting durability that will not wear and tear.
  • UV protection and breathability ensures the mat can withstand sun exposure.
  • Smooth and durable material provides perfect padding for rough or sandy outdoor areas.


  • Cleaning is as simple as sweeping or spraying with water.
  • The mat dries very quickly after getting wet.
  • Very light weight and easily foldable for storage.


  • Comfortable on the feet and pleasantly soft to walk on.
  • Livens up the outdoor patio area with its large 6 ft. x 9ft. dimension and ornate design.
  • Reversible for light and dark tones.

Additionally, the mat has screw holes in the corners so it can be fastened to the patio deck.

It looks just like a beautiful outdoor rug, whether placed underneath a dining table or along a walkway, except that it stays much cleaner!

These features create a charming mat that is convenient, versatile, and long-lasting. Reversible Mats is a perfect addition to complete an outdoor patio set. 

Mad Mats Oriental Turkish Indoor & Outdoor Floor Mats

best Mad Mats Oriental Turkish Indoor & Outdoor Floor Mats

Mad Mats Oriental Turkish Indoor & Outdoor Floor Mats are unique for their high quality and sophisticated design.

High Quality Design and Durability

The beauty of this mat is that it’s rugged and durable enough to be left outdoors for a long time yet stylish and decorative enough to be placed indoors as well. The mats are made with 100% polypropylene with polyester/nylon ribbon.

Just like real wool rugs, the multi-colored threads are intricately woven to create an authentic and warm feel.

These threads are made from the highest grade, recycled polypropylene material that are combined with conditioners and U.V. inhibitors for strength, smoothness, and color protection. Read why polypropylene is versatile, beautiful, and functional.

Mad Mats floor mats are excellent for the outdoor patio because water flows right through them and evaporates.

Most mats retain moisture and dirt, but the breathability of Mad Mats prevents mildew growth and its tubular thread design allows for very easy cleaning of food, dirt, and debris.

What Makes Mad Mats the Best Outdoor Carpet

The standout features of Mad Mats Turkish mats include:

  • Great overall quality; the mat is durable, waterproof, and handmade from high-quality recycled materials.
  • Bright and decorative patterns. Rich and vibrant colors.
  • Tubular thread design allows dirt and water to sift through to the floor.
  • One-year color guarantee.

The Mad Mats Turkish floor mat is bold, beautiful, and highly durable. The traditional Turkish look, with its bright color and design, combined with the practicality of plastic makes for an attractive addition to any bland porch, patio, or kitchen floor.

At Outdoor Movie HQ we live and breathe outdoor living and that includes deck living too. Drop us a comment and let us know which carpets you like best and why.

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Best Material for Outdoor Movie Screens

Steve Scott

If you plan to watch an outdoor movie in your backyard, there is a variety of options when it comes to the material the screen is made from.

Depending on whether the projector you use is a front projector or a rear projector, you have to choose the best projector screen accordingly.

Generally, permanent setups work better for rear projection while a temporary setup is widely used for front project.

A simple way to create an outdoor projection screen is to paint your backyard wall with projector screen paint. This is similar to house paint but it allows for a high contrast display for projection.

As weather can worsen the paint, it makes reapplication a regular job. This is why you should make your outdoor movie screen from materials suitable to your needs.

Here’s an overview of the best materials that are used for outdoor movie screens:

For more info on picking the best outdoor setup, please check our guides:


Outdoor Fabrics and Tyvek


Outdoor fabric is an inexpensive option and yet is quite durable. Its durability makes it perfect for an outdoor screen, though the material itself isn’t projector-specific.

The off-white outdoor fabric is easily available on the market. A variant of this fabric, Tyvek, is also an alternative, which is tougher than blackout cloth as well as other types of fabrics.

It is lightweight, water-resistant and flexible, no wonder it is a popular material for outdoor movie screens.

Blackout Cloth


Blackout cloth should be your material of choice if you want a flat screen that remains stable. This material is more commonly used in home theaters as it resembles movie theater cloth. It can easily be cut to desirable lengths.

Tarpaulins and Billboard Tarps

Tarpaulins and Billboard Tarps

Billboard tarps offer a large white vinyl area on which the movie will be projected. However, the shiny texture of the material may not work outdoors.

On the other hand, it works well for large projection setups while smaller tarps can also be used as an economical alternative.

Apart from that, you can use white or off-white tarpaulin even though the thickness of the fibers and the uneven surface do not guarantee a fine picture quality.

Tarpaulins and billboard tarps are not the perfect options for an outdoor movie screen if you are using a high-end projector that delivers HD picture quality.

But if you are on a tight budget, you should consider these materials.



Trapeze is a high quality and relatively expensive material that is particularly designed for outdoor setups which feature rear projection.

It is guaranteed to offer excellent picture quality for a highly entertaining movie night in your backyard.


image of Spandex wide projector screen in a movie theater

Spandex is one of the most interesting materials used in rear project outdoor screens. It can make up a great portable setup.

As the spandex needs to be stretched out extensively, the frames used for holding this material should be strong.

Although these materials are great for building an outdoor movie screen, the most popular outdoor movie screens are inflatable. Let’s see how these are the most convenient setups for your outdoor movie:

Best Inflatable Movie Setups

They can cater to both front and rear projection and are available in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Big setups are ideal for large groups of people and can guarantee a memorable movie night if you have a spacious backyard. The setup is convenient and only takes you a few minutes.

All you need is a pump to inflate it and a hammer to fix the stakes into the ground. Being portable, they can be packed again and can be taken anywhere you go, without much effort.

Some inflatable screens are small enough for a backyard movie and offer easy installation and transportation.

The manageability of the screens allows them to be popular choices for thousands of people and this is why an extensive product range of inflatable screens is available on Amazon and eBay.

Advantages of Inflatable Setups

A great advantage of the inflatable screen is undeniably its set-up and tear-down time. It takes less than an hour to set up small screens, whereas, larger screens may take up not more than a few hours.

You can easily set up a small screen in less than 60 minutes, and even if you get a large screen, it won’t take you more than a couple of hours to set it up.

The inflatable technology has been delivering great performance with a low equipment failure rate. Outdoor movie screens made from PVC pipes can take some time and skills to assemble and are not the easiest to carry.

Moreover, a screen made out of a large fabric can be like a sail in extreme weather conditions and get easily damaged.

The last thing you would want on your movie night is mal-functioning equipment.

It will obviously ruin the mood and might deter you from ever trying to set up an outdoor movie experience again.

One great advantage of modern inflatable setups is that the blower noise is reduced and does not distract you from the movie experience.

In fact, you can easily find a blower-less inflatable movie screen on the market. It all depends on the screen size you are looking for.

Even blower-less screens remain inflated for a considerably longer period. With high quality equipment, you can also place damper boxes to reduce blower noise.

In Conclusion

So, as you can see, there are a number of materials you can use for creating a top quality outdoor movie screen. While screens made from certain materials are easy to set up, other materials are more durable and last longer.

Therefore, you have to pay careful consideration to the choice of material.

You don’t want a movie screen that keeps swaying in the wind or a fabric that is attached to a loose or broken frame.

Invest in a good movie screen or rent it to enjoy a great outdoor movie night in your backyard with your friends and family.

My name is Steve Scott. Father of 2 and owner of Outdoor Movie HQ. I’ve been involved in the A/V industry for most of my life and built this blog to help people better understand projector technology. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.