Skip to main content

Digital Trends Best of 2011 Awards: Home Theater

Digital-Trends-Best-of-2011-Awards-Home-TheaterWe enjoy reviewing iPhone docks and headphones just fine, but what really gets our blood pumping is home theater and home audio gear. This year saw some major improvements in LED TVs and some new audio components which completely obliterated preconceived notions about price versus performance. Putting together this best-of 2011 list of A/V gear was a piece of cake because each component, in its own way, stood way out front of the competition as the best of the best. Using this list as a guide, an absolutely first-rate home theater with top-notch music performance, can be assembled for under $10,000.

Make sure to check the rest of our Best of 2011 Awards to see all of this year’s winners.

Sony-XBR-HX929Sony XBR HX929 Series, $2,500 to $5,400

Best LED TV

Sony’s top-of-the-line XBR LED TVs may have lofty prices, but the XBR’s performance is absolutely first rate. The XBR’s full array of locally dimmed LED backlighting provides tremendous brightness and contrast with black levels that venture well into plasma TV territory. Available in 46-, 54.6- and 64.5-inch models. Be sure to check out our review of this outstanding Sony XBR HX929 LED TV series.

Samsung-D8000Samsung D8000 Series, $1,700 to $3,000

Best Plasma TV

Samsung’s D8000 Plasmas put out an image so film-like, you may never go to a commercial movie theater again. This TV series also puts out some of the best 3D images we’ve seen, and comes with two free pairs of 3D glasses — a big bonus for 3D fans. Our Samsung D8000 review covers all of the remaining reasons this TV series was a shoe-in for our best-of 2011 list.

Oppo-BDP-95Oppo BDP-95, $1,000

Best Blu-ray disc player

Oppo has made quite a name for itself in the past few years, and it’s no wonder with products like the BDP-95. Oppo’s flagship Blu-ray player handles just about everything. Its Blu-ray playback is nearly flawless, and its DVD upconversion is second to none. What really gets us excited over this player, though, is its audiophile features such as balanced XLR outputs, separate DACs for two-channel and 7.1 output, SACD playback and streaming FLAC and WAV support. It’s even got an eSATA port! Our review of the BDP-95 is forthcoming but, as you can likely gather, we’re rather smitten with this player.

Anthem-AV-MRX-700Anthem AV MRX 700, $2,000

Best A/V Receiver

The Anthem MRX 700 earned its spot on our best-of 2011 list based almost entirely on its sound quality. While other manufacturers are cramming every feature they can into a single box, Anthem sticks to the simple art of making a great-sounding piece of equipment, leaving the Internet streaming tricks for a component better suited to the task (i.e. Oppo’s BDP-95). While the MRX 700 faces pretty stiff competition from A/V receivers like Pioneer Elite’s SC-57 receiver, it holds its position due to its warm, powerful and revealing sound quality. Check out more in our Anthem AV MRX 700 review.

Aperion-Audio-Verus-Grand-Tower-XD-Speaker-SystemAperion Audio Verus Grand Tower XD, $4,000 to $4,600

Best Home Theater Speakers

Aperion Audio’s Verus Grand speakers are the Internet-direct speaker company’s flagship offering, and they truly sound the part. Blessed with a premium, furniture-grade finish, quality components and borne of experienced engineers, the Verus Grand are musically faithful and tremendously life-like. Aperion’s risk-free policy on shipping is also hard to beat: Shipping to your home is included with the purchase price and, if the speakers don’t work out for any reason, Aperion picks up the return shipping tab, too. Keep an eye out for our upcoming Verus Grand tower speaker review.

Caleb Denison
Digital Trends Editor at Large Caleb Denison is a sought-after writer, speaker, and television correspondent with unmatched…
Best Google Pixel Prime Day deals: Phones, watches, earbuds
Comparison of Google Pixel 8 and 8a.

Along with Samsung and Apple, Google has a pretty wide ecosystem in the form of Pixel gear, which ranges from phones to earbuds, so there's a lot of great stuff you can buy if you're already in the Google ecosystem. Luckily, there are a lot of great Google Pixel deals floating around right now for Prime Day, so you can save a ton on a new pair of earbuds or a tablet. We've collected some of our favorite deals below, but if you're not necessarily entirely tied to Google, it's worth checking out our roundup of all the best Prime Day deals available right now.
Google Pixel phone Prime Day deals

The main advantage of Google Pixel phones over other Android smartphones is that they're the first devices to receive any Android updates from Google, so you'll gain access to new features and receive security patches faster than others. You should be on the lookout for the Google Pixel 8, the Google Pixel 8 Pro, or the Google Pixel 8a -- the latest models of the smartphone -- if they would appear with discounts in this year's Google Pixel Prime Day smartphone deals.

Read more
Best Prime Day soundbar deals in 2024: Bose, Sony, Samsung
Best Prime Day Deals

We've been sifting through Prime Day deals all weekend, and today is the last day of the massive sale. If you're looking for something specific, like Prime Day TV deals, you might want to think about what else you'll need with whatever you shop. For example, you're also going to have to purchase one of the best soundbars if you want a home theater setup worth viewing (and listening) to. The following soundbars (and, admittedly, some of them are soundbars with subwoofers) represent some of the best Prime Day deals that you can get. With top soundbar brands like Samsung, Sony, and Sonos (why do they all start with an 'S'?), as well as decent budget soundbar brands like Insignia and Vizio being represented, anybody can get a good deal on a soundbar at this time.
The best Prime Day soundbar deal, picked by our experts
Sony HT-A5000 5.1.2ch Dolby Atmos Sound Bar -- $630, was $798

Sony is well known for it's PS5s and headphones, so it's probably no surprise that it makes some of the best soundbars, like this Sony HT-A5000. It has a 5.1.2ch surround sound, which is impressive given that it doesn't have any additional speakers or a standalone subwoofer, and it manages a lot of that with its upward-firing speakers to help envelop you. There's also an HDMI passthrough that can handle 4k at 120Hz, which is impressive, as well as VRR and Dolby Vision. You might also be impressed by the DTS:X and 360 Spatial Sound Mapping it can handle, which is great for creating that 3D soundscape environment, so you get some really high-end surround sound quality. Of course, all that does come at a steep price, although you can get an additional $100 if you use the on-screen coupon, bringing it down to just $550, which is an absolute steal for such an excellent soundbar.

Read more
How to see song lyrics on Spotify
The lyrics to Smells Like Teen Spirit on the Spotify app on an iPhone.

Song lyrics: confusing music lovers since the beginning of time. Whether you're among the hordes of lyrically challenged susceptible to such doozies as “I’m a lion, I’m a vinyl, I’m a skittle, I’m a beetle,” in the chorus of Smells Like Teen Spirit, and want to get it right (it's “A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido,” people), or you like to read while you listen or sing along, then you'll be happy to hear that Spotify's lyrics feature can help you do both.

Accessing the lyrics to your favorite songs on Spotify can be done on your mobile devices and on the Spotify desktop app, and it couldn't be easier to do. We're going to show you how.

Read more