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Best gifts to upgrade a home theater

Best gifts to upgrade a home theater

No matter how big the TV, there’s always some way you can improve it, and you don’t need to spend very much money. If you’re buying for a music fan you might be looking for a turntable or a new pair of headphones. And what giftee couldn’t do with a better video streamer or a new sound system? From $25 and up there’s something here for every budget.

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Whether you’re buying for a cord-cutter or not, the dirt-cheap Channel Master Flatenna offers a wealth of entertainment with no ongoing fees. Stick it on a window and plug the cable into a tuner and they can be watching PBS in an instant.

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It’s possible to spend hundreds of dollars on a video streamer. Possible, but not necessary. The $40 Roku 4K Express offers something for everybody — a huge range of apps and compatibility with video standards such as Dolby Vision and 4K resolution. That it works so well for the money is the good kind of surprise.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Audio-Technica AT-LP60X is the best budget turntable, hands down. It offers simple automatic operation and its sound quality is a cut above anything else at the price. Perfect for both a child’s bedroom and a smoky, low-lit music sanctuary.

Read our Audio Technica AT-LP60X review.


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The Roku Streambar is an instant video and audio upgrade in a box. It offers the excellent Roku streamer on board and boasts enhanced speech quality via the integrated speaker.

Read our Roku Streambar review.


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If you’re looking for a pair of relatively affordable headphones to appease the budding audiophile in your family, the HD6XX offer an extraordinary value. They do need a good amp — you can’t really run them from a phone — but the sound quality can’t be beaten. I use them connected to a receiver for late-night viewing and they work a treat.

Read our Sennheiser HD6XX review.


With an improved look and clearer sound, the Debut 2.0 is even better for people looking to dive into the audiophile world. And at only $350 it’s cheaper than a receiver or a turntable. The Elac Debut 2.0 6.2 is an excellent value.

Read our Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 review.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

You can spend a lot of money on a Dolby Atmos setup, but here’s one for under $500. It looks great, it’s easy to use and it sounds good with music and movies.

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