Determining the best components for a home cinema system is by no means and easy task. But each year, the judging committee and Electronic House magazine selects from numerous submissions entered by many manufacturers the top products and systems for your home. The judges consider innovation, uniqueness, and practical benefits to end users when choosing the winners of categories including audio, video, home control and automation, home theater, smart lighting, and home security. In this, our second announcement of our Products of the Year, (see here for the best home home music systems and here for the best home automation products) we present the best home theater products of 2017. We will reveal the winners of the remaining categories in the weeks ahead, so be sure to visit electronichouse.com often.
A/V Racks & Rack Accessories
WINNER: Middle Atlantic Products Proximity Series In-Wall Box
Middle Atlantic Products’ Proximity Series In-Wall Box provides a convenient place to store A/V equipment behind a wall-mounted TV. The in-wall box neatly accommodates A/V components while keeping the TV snug and flat against the wall for a clean aesthetic.
The offering comes in two sizes to accommodate any size of system. Both size offerings ship with Middle Atlantic’s award-winning Lever Lock mounting plates, so device mounting is quick, tool-less, and amazingly flexible and provides homeowners with a versatile option even if the system grows.
Pre-cut knockouts keep cables organized and concealed and with the included trim ring, homeowners can enjoy a clean, professionally finished installation without extra costs associated with custom millwork.
Price: $115-$130 $130
Home Theater Accessories
WINNER: MantelMount MM700 Pro Series Pull-Down Mount with Recess Box
People often place their flat-screen televisions above their fireplace, for various reasons. There’s usually a large space that will accommodate it. It’s a central viewing point of the room. It looks nice. But there’s a drawback: placing a TV above a fireplace moves the image well above eye level. And cranking your neck into an unnatural position for an extended period of time is going to cause neck pain. Worse, doing so day after day can have lasting effects such as chronic headaches, backaches, eye strain, and more. Plus, it’s simply not the ideal viewing angle and thus detracts from the TV-watching experience.
The MM700 from MantelMount offers owners of flat-panel TVs the ability to easily position the screen for the best viewing experience. The most significant features of the mount include:
- A 35-degree swivel to both the left and right sides for viewing over a wider range. (A special attachment bracket also allows users to increase the swivel up to 60 degrees, either left or right.)
- A full 26 inches of vertical travel
- Elimination of the 9-degree downward tilt in the UP position, so the product is more flush to the wall
- A built-in soundbar bracket above the patented heat-sensing handles (the handles turn red if the temperature above the fireplace exceeds a safe 110° F.
The RB100 Recess Box, an optional accessory for the MM700, moves the product’s lifting mechanism 3.5 inches into the wall. This reduces the space behind the TV from 5 inches to only 1.5 inches.
MM700 can support TVs weighing between 30 and 115 pounds, and measuring 45 to 90 inches diagonally.
Home Theater Furniture
WINNER: Aegis AV Cabinets Athena Professional Series AV-A Tower
People often stow A/V equipment inside pantries, cabinets, and closets — none of which were designed to protect electronic equipment against overheating.
The Athena Professional Series AV-A Tower from Aegis AV Cabinets offers an option that ensures that equipment is optimally spaced, and air is actively directed through the cabinet, forcing heat out. Plus, Athena features network-grade surge suppression, along with key-less door locking, custom lighting, and other unique features all in a premium grade wood and glass cabinet.
Each cabinet is equipped with a velvet-lined charging nest for gaming remotes, phones, tablets, and other devices. Plus it features a separate cooled compartment for small to large size turntables.
Athena is available in four different stain, as well as two choices of high-gloss paint finishes. Each tower features tempered and polished IR friendly grey tinted glass.
Athena is made of high-quality domestic maple veneer, with an embedded steel skeleton. All the parts are computer designed and cut out by CNC machine within a thousandth of an inch. Each cabinet is then crafted and finished and then sent to an electronics clean room where all of its electronics parts and final pieces are installed. Each cabinet goes through a quality control check list and is packaged fully assembled and shipped to customers at no additional cost.
Home Theater Surround-Sound Systems
WINNER: Definitive Technology BP9080X
Definitive Technology’s BP9080X is a home theater tower speaker that stands at nearly 4.5 feet tall, featuring premium materials, a modern design, and ultra-precise reproduction. Supporting the latest Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatibility, the BP9080X is the first speaker to truly integrate advanced audio reproduction technologies in a single tower speaker, eliminating the need for separate home theater components and fulfilling the audiophile niche.
The BP9080X’s acoustically transparent 360-degree grille wraps a totally inert, resonance-free one-piece cabinet construction, featuring front and rear-facing drivers and tweeters, a side firing 12-inch powered subwoofer, and dual bass radiators. Alongside the interior cabinet are two aluminum dome tweeters. The BP9080X tower speakers also boast drivers firing from five sides, producing sound that’s bigger, more spacious, and provides a more verbose sonic fingerprint than the competition.
Atop the BP9080X is a fully-integrated two-way height module that houses Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding technology to fire sound upward and bounce it off ceilings for 3-dimensional home theater effect
With conveniently designed packaging and minimal wiring configuration, users simply open the box from the bottom up, accessing the accompanying accessories kit first to attach the aluminum base and preferred feet. Once installed, the speaker’s box can then be tipped over and slipped off while placed in its preferred setup in the home theater.
WINNER: Barco Residential Loki Cinemascope
The Barco Loki Cinemascope offers the same Ultra HD enhancements as the Barco Loki projector, coupled with a high-capacity 2.37:1 aspect DLP engine. Its exceptional design allows a 2.40:1 film to be shown without requiring an anamorphic lens.
Loki Cinemascope is based on a proven optical architecture, custom designed aspherical glass elements and enhanced low dispersion glass lenses. Contrast is not only increased, but the details within the darkest parts of the image are more visible.
The Loki Cinemascope has a unique automatic aspect ratio detection function. It will look for 2.40:1 content and automatically scale the image to fit the 5120×2160 resolution and change back to 16:9 (3840×2160) if you have content in that format. It will also change the aspect ratio when a 2.40:1 format movie has menus outside the active picture frame.
Outstanding image quality also requires an exceptional light source. This is why we have packed Loki Cinemascope with a brand new dual laser engine. Alongside significantly improved image uniformity, lasers last longer than traditional projector lamps, are not as fragile and offer nearly instant on/off. Light life is up to 40,000 hours.
A range of lenses, including an ultra-short throw lens, provides unmatched flexibility in installation. Full adjustment of focus and zoom is available via the remote rather than the manual adjustments needed on an anamorphic lens.
For a look at all of the Product of the Year entries, go here.
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