It’s nearly Super Bowl Sunday, which means it’s a good time to consider upgrading your home theater setup. TVs and soundbars go on sale throughout the year, but Black Friday and the period right now are when you can expect to see some of the steepest discounts. So if you missed out a few months ago, this is your best chance to make up for it. Check out our Best TV and Best Soundbar guides for more of our recommendations.
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TV Deals Under $1,000
Somehow, 50-inch screens don’t seem that big anymore, but if you don’t need something huge, this model from Samsung is a solid deal. It uses the company’s quantum dot panel, which gives it brighter, more saturated colors. It also comes with Google Assistant, Alexa, and—if you’re into that sort of thing, Bixby—built in so you have a number of voice control options. The deal at B&H is pretty good, but you can drop the price down to $400 if you happen to live near a Micro Center that has one in stock.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this 55-inch Samsung TV is a computer monitor, given its surprisingly uncommon center pedestal stand. But that can come in handy if you have smaller furniture that can’t accommodate some of the wide, occasionally awkward stands that accompany most TVs these days.
Sony’s LED panel in this X85J model might not offer the best black levels or contrast compared to other panels from LG, or even some of Sony’s own TVs, but the company’s processing is still top-notch. This X85J model comes with a 120-Hz refresh rate and Sony’s 4K X-Reality Pro engine, which can upscale HD content to 4K better than some of the competitors we’ve tried.
This model manages to squeak under the $1,000 mark by the skin of its … bezels. Sony’s excellent video processing is on full display in this LED panel, plus it packs a 120-Hz refresh rate, making it great for fast-paced gaming and sports. It also includes Google TV, which bypasses the need for a dedicated Chromecast taking up an HDMI port. It has frequently dipped to this price for several weeks, but this is still the lowest price ever.
LG C1 OLED
The LG C1 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is one of the best-looking TVs we’ve used for playing video games. It features a 120-Hz refresh rate, perfect black levels, and a point-and-click Wiimote-style remote. WIRED associate editor Parker Hall says it’s the prettiest screen he’s seen for the price, and right now that price is even better.
Samsung’s Mini LED panels are finally starting to get close to the brighter colors and higher contrast of OLEDs. And while it hasn’t quite leapfrogged past OLEDs, Samsung’s QN90A (8/10, WIRED Recommends) impressed us. Depending on your home theater setup and what you’re watching (especially if you’re gaming), it might just be the best TV for you.
Put Sony’s top-tier processing together with an OLED panel, and you’ll get one of the best-looking TVs money can buy. This A9S model is fairly small for its price, but if you want a tiny but gorgeous TV, or a really big, attractive monitor, this is an excellent choice. It’s frequently at this price.
This TV from Samsung, called simply The Frame, is designed to be understated. When the TV isn’t in use, it can display art, and the white trim lets it blend into your home decor. At first glance, your guests might not even clock that they’re looking at a TV until you start watching football—or Encanto.
Polk Audio React
When we reviewed the Polk Audio React (8/10, WIRED Recommends), WIRED associate editor Parker Hall liked its modular soundbar system. You can start with just the soundbar at first. Later on, you can upgrade it with a subwoofer or surround speakers, making it a great starter option or good if you’re planning on moving at some point.
Sennheiser’s Ambeo is one of the most expensive soundbars we’ve tested, but it’s earned its place in our guide, thanks to impressive audio processing and sound projection. Even without surround-sound speakers, it can throw sound around your living room to create an immersive space that just might fool you into thinking you really are in a theater full of tiny speakers.
If you’re heavily invested in Amazon’s content ecosystem, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is one of our favorite streaming sticks. It supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard and has faster processing and more memory than its predecessors. The Alexa-powered remote works well too. The main downside is it serves up a lot of Amazon content first, but of course you can still access Netflix, HBO Max, and tons of other streaming services.
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